DHEC emphasizes stance on SRS clean-up efforts

Staff photo by Derrek Asberry
SCDHEC representatives Van Kiesler and Kim Brinkley discuss issues during the CAB meeting
Staff photo by Derrek Asberry SCDHEC representatives Van Kiesler and Kim Brinkley discuss issues during the CAB meeting

Cleanup efforts at the Savannah River Site were the main focus during the second day of the Savannah River Site's Citizens Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday.

Van Kiesler, from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control – or SCDHEC – re-emphasized DHEC's stance on cleanup at the Savannah River Site.

The department wrote a letter in August that threatened to fine the Department of Energy $150 million if certain cleanup milestones were missed at SRS.

“DHEC still expects DOE to fight for the funding necessary to finish projects on Site, including the salt waste facility,” said Kiesler. “It is imperative that they continue fighting for funding to complete these missions.”

DHEC representatives will be speaking at the Facilities Disposition & Site Remediation committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 3 at the DOE Meeting Center.

In addition to cleanup, the CAB passed four recommendations which will be submitted to DOE for consideration. Three came from a recent national advisory board meeting where individual boards were advised to discuss and vote on the recommendations.

The CAB unanimously approved the following: a recommendation to consider cleanup projects as a top priority when DOE goes into budget meetings; a recommendation to post nuclear waste disposition plans online for public consumption; and a recommendation to take firmer actions on contaminated nuclear material.

A final recommendation was proposed by the Strategic & Legacy Management Committee. That recommendation was for the Savannah River National Lab to publicize the lab more through education and community outreach projects.

“The national lab's influence stretches beyond nuclear activities,” said committee chair Clint Nangle. “For example, Ford Motor Company gets help from the lab with natural gas issues. Our lab has a great influence, and it seems that no one outside of a small group knows about it. We should be very proud of that and get the word out.”

Other issues discussed at the meeting include an update on the Vault 4 leakage at SRS, which was reported in September. SRS stated that the Site is continuing treatment of the leak by preventing rainwater intrusion and shutting off usage of the vault.

In the latter part of the meeting, the CAB voted one of its members, Marolyn Parson, as its new chairperson. Her term will begin after the next CAB meeting scheduled for Jan. 19-20 in Augusta.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard.

He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.

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