The Citizens’ Advisory Board waste committee hopes to take a position soon on the storage and potential dumping of spent fuel at SRS.


To that end, the Board will hold a special meeting on Monday, July 15, at 6 p.m. to debate two recommended forms of action and plans to walk away with one final, group decision.


Spent fuel is defined as nuclear fuel that has been irradiated, or exposed to radiation, and removed from the core of a nuclear power reactor. Nationally, there is no long-term storage plan for the nation’s spent fuel, which is why Congress is considering interim storage until a new geologic storage facility is secured. Talks have started that SRS could potentially become one of the interim storage sites, which has sparked a debate among members of SRS’s Citizens’ Advisory Board, primarily among members of the waste committee. The committee fears that the Site will be chosen as an interim storage facility and that, over time, SRS will become a permanent home for the spent fuel.


“SRS could potentially become a resting place for the spent fuel,” said Tom Clements, Southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth. “Our concern is two prong: that SRS will be used for interim storage which could become permanent and that the fuel will eventually become reprocessed.”


These concerns have led the committee to call the meeting, during which they will debate taking one of two recommended positions concerning the potential storage. The first plan of action has been on the table for months, which is to express full disapproval of SRS being used as an interim storage location. The second option would be to express approval of SRS becoming a spent fuel storage facility, provided that the Citizens’ Advisory Board become a part of the consent process and if it were given the proper incentives.


These incentives include significant economic benefits, the identification and implementation of high tech programs, secure programs that offer other benefits to the area and programs that are presented as being in the national interest.


A third option for the committee would be to reach a stalemate, and settle the issue at a later date. Regardless of which option the committee chooses, the result will be transferred to the Citizens’ Advisory Board during its scheduled meeting later this month. At this time, the Citizens’ Advisory Board can opt to make a final decision. If so, the Board will then make a formal proposal to the Department of Energy.


“This is not just an Aiken issue,“ Clements stated. “It is a state issue as well, which is why the meeting on July 15 is a public meeting. So we encourage everyone to attend.”


The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the DOE Meeting Center, 230 Village Green Blvd., Suite 220.


Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga. and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.