The U.S. Department of Energy is mulling over a plan that would ship about 1,100 pounds of plutonium from old nuclear weapons currently stored at the Savannah River Site to a federal site in the state of New Mexico. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, which began operation in 1999, is located about 25 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico.
That is not enough to quiet the demands of 3rd District Congressman Jeff Duncan, who wants Nevada’s Yucca Mountain to be the place to store spent nuclear reactor fuel and other high level radioactive waste.
Duncan told Greenwood affiliate WLMA’s Anne Eller that the abandoned project in Nevada should be reactivated for service. Duncan said the site was found to be a long-term geologically stable site. He says South Carolina citizens and citizens in other states have paid for the establishment of the Nevada facility through years of rate payments.
South Carolina, Aiken County, and other groups are currently taking legal action against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over Yucca Mountain.
AUDIO: Duncan says rate payers helped fund the Yucca Mountain site
Republicans have railed against the Obama Administration over Yucca Mountain, saying the administration was doing a political favor for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada whose constituents wanted the project cancelled. When asked why GOP presidential candidates didn’t speak on the Yucca Mountain issue during the recent debate in Las Vegas, Duncan says frankly the candidate were pandering to the local audience that consisted mostly of Nevadans.
In a recent interview with Columbia affiliate WVOC, 6th District Congressman Jim Clyburn stated that the New Mexico site may turn out to be more functional than Yucca Mountain and New Mexico officials are amiable to the proposition of storing the nuclear waste.
AUDIO: Duncan says GOP candidates pandered to Nevadans while in Las Vegas
Anne Eller of affiliate WLMA in Greenwood contributed to this story.