Aiken County is watching closely as President Donald Trump’s budget calls for restarting the Yucca Mountain atomic waste site in Nevada. The county hopes the site could eventually house some of the radioactive waste currently stored at the Savannah River Site (SRS).
However, environmental advocacy group Savannah River Site Watch director Tom Clements told South Carolina Radio Network he does not think the radioactive waste stored in South Carolina will be leaving any time soon. “I don’t see anything happening in the short term concerning all the spent nuclear fuel in South Carolina,” said Clements.
Clements said the logistics of reopening Yucca Mountain are complicated. “I think it’s going to be difficult to revive the Yucca Mountain project because it’s essentially been dead for five years. The test tunnel has been allowed to sit there without any maintenance. All the documentation is pretty much been put on the shelf. All the people who worked on the project are gone. And the state of Nevada is going is still going to oppose the project,’” Clements said.
“People here are going to have to live with not only spent nuclear fuel the vitrified high level waste, but also a large amount of plutonium being stranded here at least for now,” said Clements said.
He said there are an estimated 4,500 tons of spent nuclear fuel in temporary storage at the site in Aiken County.