The radiation leak from Japanese nuclear reactors after a recent earthquake and tsunami has renewed nuclear meltdown fears among people in the U.S., including South Carolina.
The state currently has seven nuclear reactors, and utilities are pressing for four more in order to meet an increased demand for energy that is expected in the near future. In a recent interview on Columbia affiliate WVOC, Governor Nikki Haley said she is confident about the safety of nuclear power plants in the state.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported on March 31 that the Robinson nuclear plant in Hartsville was one of three plants in the nation that needed increased oversight from federal regulators because of safety problems or unplanned shutdowns. Haley said she is confident the problems have been rectified and the overall safety of South Carolina plants is excellent.
At the end of March, the NRC also reported that three reactors at the Oconee Nuclear Station had been on the watch list, but were removed in mid-month after improved performance reviews.
Haley says she is satisfied with the temporary storage of high level nuclear waste at the Savannah River Site, but added she will continue the fight ensure the Yucca Mountain facility is not scrapped as a permanent site for the storage of the nation’s high level nuclear waste.
The states of South Carolina and Washington joined Aiken County to sue the Obama administration in April 2010, claiming the Department of Energy had no right to junk the Yucca Mountain plan. The case is now in the hands of a federal district court in Washington, D.C.