DOE seeks input on possibility of SRS getting German fuel

  • Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 8:27 a.m.

The public can provide its input next week on the possibility of German nuclear spent fuel landing at the Savannah River Site.

The public meeting, hosted by the Department of Energy, is based on the federal government's proposal to accept, process and dispose of used nuclear fuel from Germany containing approximately 900 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium, or HEU.

The meeting will be held June 24 at the North Augusta Community Center located at 495 Brookside Drive. It will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

If the deal goes through, DOE would install, in H-Canyon at SRS, a system capable of chemically removing the graphite from the fuel kernels using a technology being developed by the Savannah River National Laboratory.

In December 2012, the lab signed a $1.5 million Work for Others Agreement with the German entity currently managing the fuel, initiating the early development of the graphite digestion technology.

In addition to the upcoming public meeting, DOE began a seven-week public comment period on June 4, during which people can submit comments via mail or email.

The public has until July 21 to submit comments.

Comments can be sent to: Andrew Grainger, NEPA Compliance Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box B, Aiken, South Carolina 29802.

Residents can also email comments to Grainger at drew.grainger@srs.gov.

“DOE will give equal weight to written comments and oral comments received at the public scoping meeting,” officials wrote in a federal register notice.

Local leaders and interests groups have previously spoken out about more nuclear materials coming to the Savannah River Site.

Members of the SRS Citizens Advisory Board, including Bill Calhoun, have expressed their disinterest in seeing more materials from other sites and countries.

“My point is that the CAB, based on public input, strongly voted that we did not want to receive additional receipts of foreign nuclear materials, and that we should be cleaning up legacy waste that's already on-site instead of bringing in new materials,” Calhoun said during a meeting earlier this year.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June 2013. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.

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