More weapons grade plutonium is being shipped to the state of South Carolina according to Tom Clements of “Friends of the Earth”. Clements says that the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) confirmed to him in an email that several metric tons of plutonium will be stored on the site with no clear disposition plan or exit strategy from the state. Clements says this is cause for concern.
“Plutonium is a very deadly artificial material that’s an extreme carcinogen,” said Clements. “But we still have no exit plan from South Carolina .
“So the Sanford administration and the DOE have basically come up with a plan to bring all of this material into South Carolina with absolutely no final plan on how it is going to be managed. We think the material should not of come in here without a final plan.”
Clements says the DOE has had 15 years to develop a plutonium management plan but has not done so to date. He says that Governor Mark Sanford should not have allowed this material into the state without a plan. “Governor (Jim) Hodges had said he was going to block the highway. He actually conducted an exercise with the state patrol and a large tractor trailer truck to block the entrance into the Savannah River Site saying he would not allow material to come in here without a disposition plan.
“Well, unfortunately, Governor Sanford has not said a word about this and has allowed this material to come into our state and there still in so disposition plan.”
He says the future of the plutonium is unknown. According to Clements, “We just don’t know what’s going to happen with this stuff. It could end up being stored at the Savannah River Site for the long term.”
Clements says the “Friends of the Earth” feel that the plutonium should be handled as waste. “We feel that the plutonium should be handled as nucleur waste. It should not be processed and handled as much as DOE wants to. We think it should be mixed in with the high-level waste that is now at the Savannah River Site where there are 30 million gallons of high-level waste. It should be stored as nucleur waste and not introduced into commerce as a nucleur fuel so we are going to keep calling for that,” he said.