South Carolina and Georgia community leaders that encompass the Central Savannah River Area are heading to Washington for a meeting with their respective congressional delegations. Their message: the federal government decision to halt work on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository represents a betrayal of trust by the department of energy with communities where high-level nuclear waste is stored.
Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian says Wednesday’s meeting is part of the yearly meeting of the Chambers of Commerce of Aiken, North Augusta, Augusta and Columbia County, Georgia which make up the CSRA Leadership Conference.
The goal is to raise awareness amongst our delegation and and their congressional delegations concerning the issue. The whole delegation has a bunch of resolutions that have been adopted by various governing bodies around the area ,which number around 15, that they will present requesting that Yucca be left open to receive waste as we believe is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
Killian says the South Carolina Congressional delegation has been very open in listening to the concerns of residents who live in the CSRA about the ultimate decision on Yucca Mountain affects what happens to the nuclear storage at the Savannah River Site. “I think they understand that Yucca is important to us as a state , not just Aiken county, but as a state because of the Savannah River Site. Of course, we also have several nuclear power plants around the state and some of their waste were designated to go to Yucca.
Aiken County filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Circuit Court Appeals seeking judicial relief to keep the Yucca Mountain licensing process active. Killian says the suit was filed several weeks ago even before South Carolina Attorney General filed a lawsuit to keep Yucca Mountain open on behalf of the state.
We filed first, then three folks that worked at the Hanford site in the state of Washington filed, the state of South Carolina, then the state of Washington filed. They are a little bit different actions.Ours is strictly tied to the legality of it, while some of the other cases talk about the Science behind Yucca Mountain and why it’s a good place for this (nuclear waste storage) to occur.
Killian says the delegation will also meet with Department of Energy officials as they do each year because of the CSRA’s proximity to the Savannah River Site. He says the Aiken County suit argues that the D.O.E. does not have the power to halt the Yucca Mountain licensing process.
Ours is strictly tied to what we consider to be violations of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and the national Environmental Policy Act. We also think there is separation of powers issue because Congress has said this is where the nuclear waste should be and they have not changed the law. However, D.O.E. has submitted a request to withdrawal its license and we don’t believe that have the ability to do that. They, of course believe they do, but I guess that’s for the courts to settle.