Savannah River Site is one of three nuclear-weapons sites being considered as a possible location for a new nuclear-power plant.
U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced Friday that the site was being evaluated in Nuclear Power 2010, a federal initiative to build a new plant by that year.
"We have set an ambitious target for this important work but one that is achievable," Mr. Abraham said in a statement.
President Bush's budget proposal for fiscal year 2003 includes $38.5 million for the effort, the secretary said.
Besides SRS, the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory and the Portsmouth site in Ohio are in the running, Mr. Abraham said. Privately held sites also will be evaluated, he said.
Local SRS supporters lauded the announcement.
"It fits right in with the nuclear infrastructure in the area and takes full advantage of it," said Ernest S. Chaput, special-projects coordinator for the Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership.
"It's something we think is well suited for the area as well as something that's long overdue."