U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it was a fight to get the federal government to give the Savannah River Site's lab its title as a national lab.

“Ten years ago, we worked really hard to put it on the map; and over the last 10 years, the innovation here has saved about $5 billion for the Department of Energy,” Graham said.

The Savannah River National Laboratory, or SRNL, celebrated its 10th anniversary as a national lab on Wednesday in a ceremony that included local and national speakers and nearly 900 people in attendance.

Among those speakers was Site Manager David Moody, who said SRNL is forward thinking in generating new missions to add to its legacy.

“We have discussions going on with Georgia Regents University and with the Economic Development Partnership, so that's just a very recent example of what the governor was talking about on Monday,” Moody said. “New missions will bring new jobs and grow the commercial sector here locally.”

SRNL Director Terry Michalske said the lab used to operate under a single function. Moving forward, he said, SRNL needs to continue expanding its horizons.

“We need to move our infrastructure into ways that are more friendly for our partners and better able to access the new tools and capabilities that the younger generation of researchers are going to use,” Michalske said.

From a community standpoint, local and state officials also spoke on a panel on Wednesday about how SRNL impacts other areas.

S.C. Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, said the Aiken delegation has a stake in the national lab's vision for the community.

“Our goal is to harness the Savannah River National Lab for private entrepreneurship and economic investments,” Young said. “We achieve that by engaging people on the national lab's potential.”

Other speakers included USC Aiken Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan, who spoke about SRNL's partnerships with the university, and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who spoke about the national lab's international appeal.

“This is our opportunity to celebrate the success of the lab, the success of America and how we are impacting the world using the resources we have here at home,” Scott said.

The Savannah River National Lab has accomplished several feats, including securing agreements with more than 100 commercial partners, offering more than 300 student internships and aiding in international efforts such as cleanup work at the Fukushima plant in Japan.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard.