MOX, High Flyer, Aerial

An aerial view of the now-canceled Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, which is located at the Savannah River Site.

The Aiken Standard covered news and information in and around Aiken for 83 years before President Harry S. Truman asked DuPont for expertise in starting an atomic energy project in our neighborhood. For the last 70 years, the Savannah River Site has been a consistent and important topic for our readers, locally and beyond.

Right now, the site is in a bit of a flux. Political plays and shifting plutonium are creating uncertainty with the general public about who’s on first. There's no better time than now to take a deeper dive on this topic that is vital to national security and whose success has run in tandem with the CSRA for almost three generations.

Over the last several months, reporters have been looking at documents and talking to experts about how we got here and the future of the site. This edition is the start of a series looking extensively at not only MOX and plutonium but also the entire Savannah River Site and its many facets.

This has been a collaborative journalism effort. This project brought together investigative reporters Colin Demarest of the Aiken Standard and fellow Evening Post Industries’ daily newspaper, Charleston’s Post & Courier’s Thad Moore and Glenn Smith.

The focus of today's story looks at the plutonium located at the site, its challenges with aging infrastructure and more. We hope both lifelong residents and newcomers will learn something new about the Savannah River Site from reading this issue.

The story talks about the fall of the mixed oxide facility, MOX, which closed in October of last year – a story, by the way, that was first broken to CSRA readers and many in Washington by Demarest. And the Standard expressed its disappointment in the MOX closure but applauded the efforts by our government officials. 

The news from SRS doesn't stop with the closure of MOX; the Aiken Standard will continue to cover the proceedings of whether pit production will come to SRS and the long-term storage solution of plutonium that’s being held at Savannah River.

SRS is important to our region, and Aiken Standard readers, for many reasons: workforce, economic power and influence, environmental impact, contribution to the community and charitable institutions, and of course, its role in our national security. We take all of it seriously.

So do those we speak to at the NNSA, DOE and SRS. Savannah River Site has raised the bar for nuclear safety and security, making it one of the very best facilities of its type and setting the standard around the world.