SRS Sign (copy) (copy)

An entrance to the Savannah River Site, which is located south of Aiken.

Savannah River Site management and Savannah River Remediation officials on Monday broke ground for Saltstone Disposal units 8 and 9, colossal tanks designed to permanently house processed, decontaminated waste at the site.

About 100 people attended the ceremony, according to the latest newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management.

SRR, led by AECOM, is responsible for the design, construction and operation of the disposal units, as they are an integral part of the site's liquid-waste mission.

SDUs 8 and 9, years away from completion, will be constructed in tandem, according to the DOE. The two tanks – each able to hold about 32 million gallons of saltstone – will be adjacent to one another.

SRS manager Michael Budney said the disposal units "underscore the Department of Energy's continued commitment to furthering progress on closing the high level waste tanks at SRS."

SRR President Tom Foster said it was great to break ground on the multimillion-dollar ventures.

SDU 7 is under construction and is on track for completion by spring 2022, according to DOE information. SDU 6 was completed in July 2017 and received a radioactive transfer of 8,500 gallons late last year.

President Donald Trump's fiscal year 2020 budget blueprint – not actual appropriations – invested in continued SDU 7 work; final design and initial construction of SDUs 8 and 9; and the very beginnings of SDUs 10, 11 and 12.

Colin Demarest is the government and Savannah River Site reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin