A recent report credited the Savannah River Site as the birthplace of the nuclear industry in the Carolinas. The report also states that SRS has a $2.7 billion impact on the Aiken area.

Titled “Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster CELDi Project Report,” the report is based on a study conducted by Clemson University and concludes that the nuclear industry in the Carolinas has a $20 billion impact.

SRS is credited with pioneering the industry in the two states.

“From the day in 1950 when President Truman contacted DuPont asking for assistance in designing what would later be called the Savannah River Plant,” the report highlights, “the nuclear industry has had a significant economic impact on both North and South Carolina.”

According to the report, there are 12 nuclear reactors among the two states that are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Each reactor is estimated to support a payroll of $40 million by employing 400 to 700 people, giving each reactor an estimated $470 million impact to local economies.

As the report suggests, the Site's impact on Aiken has been monumental.

“The Aiken area is an example of how a diverse mix of nuclear-related companies is attracted to an area because of the anchor provided by the Savannah River Site and other similar industries,” the report added. “Clearly, many if not most of these companies moved to Aiken because of SRS operations.”

That fact was recently validated during a nuclear forum held in Aiken in honor of National Nuclear Science Week.

Speakers at the forum explained that every one job at the SRS equals 2.5 jobs in Aiken County. In addition, the facts also show that SRS has an impact on one in every five jobs in the county, one in every four homes, and relates to about 25 percent of the county revenue.

Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce President and CEO J. David Jameson internalized the information and reflected on the importance of the SRS's community impact.

“Of particular interest is the many dimensions the nuclear industry touches – not only in this community but the entire country,” Jameson said. “So many people related to what's happening around the country, and, really around the world, are related to what's happening right here at Savannah River Site. So it's a moment of pride that reinforces why we live in this community.”

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June.