“The Savannah River Site (near the South Carolina/Georgia boarder) SRS has a legacy from poor management of the nuclear waste and other types of industrial waste that has been improperly dumped at that site,” Karen Grainey, Chair of the Georgia Coastal Sierra Groups told APN. The government is letting Japan dump 730 pound of plutonium on the very site that is known as dead man’s land for its highly radioactive material dumping and third most polluted site in the world. “There are leaks of tritium and it all goes down stream.
No man’s land. The site 300 square miles of death from ducks, turtles to collard greens over a period of 39 years, produced radioactive materials for the U.S. nuclear weapons program from 1953 to 1988, five reactors at the site made 36 metric tons of plutonium-239. IT is 310 miles of land that supports 12,000 employees and 37 million gallons of radioactive waste in 49 holding tanks. The plants are extremely expensive to build, prone to accidents and create environments of radioactive toxic communities down stream. The facilities are nothing but radioactive nuclear messes for generations to come.
Britains ships, Pacific Egret and Pacific Heron, have already left Tokyo, the Japan Atomic and Energy Agency in a pledge made in 2014, and are headed for the Savannah River site. The ships will have on board enough to make 6,000 atomic bombs along with naval guns and other protection.Once there was an incident so bad it caused the water to Savannah to be shut off.”
With the reductions in U.S nuclear arsenal after the cold war the site today operates as a place to dispose of nuclear waste and a Stockpile Stewardship program since the cleanup. The SRS stores plutonium from Department of Energy DOE sited that have closed down. Most of the plutonium was to be stored only temporarily while the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility MFFF was being built. Delays in the MFFF being build has caused the plutonium to still be stored there and worries are it will be stored there indefinitely. This would be USA’s only MOX manufacturing plant overseen by the Nuclear Security Administration. When it is operating the site will convert legacy weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial power reactors. The multi-billion dollar project is half-built over budget is putting it mildly. The Obama administration has wanted to kill the program but with full steam ahead it will be erected in 2040.
Japan began building their own reprocessing plant with a French company Areva in the early 1990’s and the project has had its share of troubles and delays and postponed until 2018. The future does not look so bright for getting it done. Since the Fukushima crisis only two of Japan’s 43 reactors are online. The people of Japan don’t want anything to do with nuclear energy any more.
The site is overloaded with contamination of heavy metals it is in drainage seepage and it is radioactive. The Savannah RiverKeeper has examined several species of animals and found them contaminated with heavy metals. The problems is being worked on but it is considered the third largest most radioactive toxic site in the world. The site is 15 miles southeast of August, Georgia and ten miles south of Aiken, South Carolina. During the time of active use phase liquid wastes in the form of organic solvents or aquoeous solutions were piped directly into the river via sewer line to the seepage basin and respective areas. The sewer line carried it under the road to the other side. Significant quantities were washed and discarded and allowed to fall on the ground and seep into the soil and into the groundwater.
For some unknown reason the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery RCRA requires the generators of toxic substances and the disposal of the substances to be monitored by the SRS the people wo dumped it to begin with. There are so many toxic chemicals and contaminated areas on the site that the application for the RCRA permit required over 30,000 pages. There are numerous wells, seepage binds, landfills and burial grounds to track the contamination emanating from all of these areas toward the ground water. Toxic animals, hair, blood, feces, dead carcasses will spread the radioactive wastes.
The deer that populate the areas are controlled by specifically ruled hunts that allow the hunter to shoot and then the SRS takes the deer away. The deer were tested along with catfish, bass, raccoon’s, and others and all found to contain the most lethal toxic metals and arsenic. The opossums had six times more arsenic level up stream.
The Bomb Plant, the multi-media investigation tells how a secretive and little known government agency, raked in billions of dollars in the name of nonproliferation. The DOE wasted billions of dollars on environmental cleanup and took control to hide the problems. The NNSA convinced the nonproliferation community it had an effective way of disposing nuclear weapons grade material. IT even told some environmentalists that it was safe and clean and carbon-free power.
Forty years ago, the old Atomic Energy Commission had to convince a nation skeptical about the dangers and costs and waste from nuclear processing would be good for the country. President Jimmy Carter warned of the troubles to come. The AEC’s public relations machine came along and made it sound viable with very little if any exposure. Haven’t we learned from the past and the promises of prettier and better that people end up dead and the land is contaminated and not usable?
The SRS poisoned and killed its workers and raped and pillaged the land and its animals, fish, drinking water, and plants. Workers were repeatedly electrocuted and exposed to radiation. Reactors are buried in cement at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars that the water table absorbed for generations. A poorly executed cleanup effort by SRS that was doomed to fail. In 65 years the nuclear weapons waste establishment has not figured out how to stop producing radioactive waste or how to destroy it. The radioactive legacy cannot be fixed.
SRS covers an area bigger than Washington D.C., including the Capital Beltway. The high levels or radiation were kept a national secret while workers were told to dump radioactive plutonium straight into the soil. The radioactive orchards on the plant property were picked and eaten and shared with friends, so were the fish spreading radiation.
Savannah, Georgia and Aiken, South Carolina its residents have good reason to worry about more radioactive waste coming to the site. The workers from the plants are 800 in number of who have cancers are to get $800 million for their exposure to radiations and cancers Labor Department data shows. The Energy Employees Occupational Compensation Program was created in 2000 to identify workers who got cancers and other diseases from the radiation exposure although only 800 have come forward it is known that many refuse to be identified or take the money. The work and who got sick with cancers, beryllium disease, silicosis, asbestos’s and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are eligible for compensation. Many workers are still out there and some workers have received up to $400,000 financial assistance and to cover medical bills, while their families sift through deep laws to prove if it was indeed related to working at SRS.
With employers like this who needs enemies. Some workers wives were not allowed to know what they were doing during the cold war, making determining exact job responsibilities, exposures difficult. It is more difficult than you would know and hard to prove which is probably what is keeping many more to come forward. On the average more than half of Savannah River site workers with radioactive disease have been denied claims.