Clean up and stop importing waste

15 Feb Clean up and stop importing waste

As a Member of the SC House of Representatives, I served on the Environmental Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee whose jurisdiction included nuclear waste. The chair of the subcommittee was from Aiken – home to the former nuclear bomb plant known as The Savannah River Site. Because the site was in his district, Charlie Sharpe refused to hold subcommittee meetings to consider my resolution calling for safer storage of spent nuclear fuels.

In 1996, after deciding to not seek re-election to the House, I took my case to the Federal Court as an individual. I sued the US Department of Energy about the unsafe storage to spent nuclear fuels. The case went to mediation. There was no way for my team of lay people to “win” a fight against a huge team of nuclear physicists. Nevertheless, by many accounts we made our point and raised public awareness.

“Billy Keyserling, a former South Carolina state legislator who sued the Energy Department over its fuel storage policy at SRS, has monitored the progress of the fuel plans. He said Tuesday he’s concerned that the language guiding the fuel handling at SRS is so vague that the plant will take several years longer than initially planned to develop an alternative treatment and storage technology.” Quoted from Less foreign waste likely to go to SRS

Twenty years later, the fight continues. SC leaders laid their on a program to recycle nuclear fuels at SRS and it appears the Obama Administration is in the way. Read more here: MOX program is important to S.C., nation

SRS is important to our state. It provides many well paying jobs for many tailgating scientists who are in SC. At the same time, I continue to believe the best use for SRS is to become a demonstration site for developing clean up technologies so that we can export technology rather than continue to import waste.

There is no such thing as “temporary” when it comes to the storage of nuclear waste.