South Carolina has huge quantities of toxic, radioactive waste. At the Savannah River Site, 45 huge tanks hold 37 million gallons of unstable, highly radioactive liquid waste waiting to be vitrified or solidified to a safer state; completing this task could take at least 20 years if the federal government fully funded it.


So excuse us if we are incredulous at the suggestion that Aiken should welcome 70,000 more tons of highly radioactive, spent fuel rods for interim storage. Did I mention that interim would be for 60 to 100 years and that accepting stockpiles of spent rods would open the door to a continual stream of toxic waste from reactors all over the country?


Years ago, then-Gov. Dick Riley stated the rule about nuclear waste: It stays where it is put. We have been patient patriots. Our community has supported the country's weapons' efforts during the Cold War, and we are still living with the resulting waste.


It's time to demand accountability and funding to finish the clean-up at SRS. It's time for our national government to honor its agreement with South Carolina and remove and store all high-level radioactive waste in an appropriate long-term – 1,000 years or more – geologically stable storage location. Until then, we cannot reasonably support any further waste storage here. Let the 70 thousand tons of commercial spent nuclear fuel stay in hardened, dry-cask storage at the existing reactor sites. That way all the states will be invested in long term storage.


We understand that if South Carolina agrees to solve every other state's nuclear problem, every other state's congressional delegation is relieved of dealing with this onerous waste. Please visit facebook.com/DontWasteAiken, Let our representatives know that there is no deal sweet enough to merit letting a wasted Aiken become a de facto Yucca Mountain.


Connie Young-Darden


Aiken