A potential shipment of spent nuclear fuel to the Savannah River Site has created rippling reactions in both the U.S. and the current host of the nuclear waste, Germany. A draft environmental assessment was published by the U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 25 in the Federal Register, opening the proposed shipment to public comment.

The draft announced intentions to examine potential environmental impacts from a proposed action to receive, store, process and disposition spent nuclear fuel from the Federal Republic of Germany at the Savannah River Site.

At its meeting April 12, the nuclear materials committee of the SRS Citizens Advisory Board, or CAB, voted to approve a letter to the Department of Energy opposing the potential shipment. The letter said the Energy Department had itself stated the German material was not a proliferation concern and was already in a state that didn’t require processing before long-term disposal.

However, in a controversial turn of events, the letter did not make it onto the official agenda at the CAB full committee meeting earlier this week.

During Monday’s meeting, CAB member David Hoel said, “I’d like to know why it wasn’t included in this agenda.”

CAB Chair Harold Simon said the comment period on the environmental assessment had ended and the letter was removed from the agenda following recommendations of a Department of Energy employee.

The department spokesman, Patrick McGuire, said the initial vote was not in keeping with CAB policies and said he himself had interfered with the process when he shouldn’t have.

Photo Courtesy of Chris Weise, Aktionbundis activist group in Julich, Germany German activists display imitation yellow nuclear transport casks in a demonstration against nuclear material transportation.


Thomas Gardiner , May 25 2016 10:36 pm ,Thomas Gardiner is the SRS beat reporter for the Aiken Standard. Gardiner is originally from Amarillo, Texas, and studied at USC Aiken. As posted at http://www.aikenstandard.com/article/20160525/AIK0101/160529627