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DOE and the Savannah River Site The View from South Carolina. Ernest Chaput May 23, 2007. Topics to be Covered. The Current Situation Community Priorities Highlights Issues and Concerns Thoughts on pending DOE initiatives. Disclaimer. I talk to a lot of people

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Doe and the savannah river site the view from south carolina

DOE and the Savannah River SiteThe View from South Carolina

Ernest Chaput

May 23, 2007


Topics to be covered
Topics to be Covered

  • The Current Situation

    • Community Priorities

    • Highlights

    • Issues and Concerns

  • Thoughts on pending DOE initiatives


Disclaimer
Disclaimer

  • I talk to a lot of people

  • This presentation is the synthesis of many viewpoints

  • I am solely responsible for this presentation


General public s attitude
General Public’s Attitude

  • Savannah River Site is an important local employer providing quality jobs.

  • Most are “comfortable” with SRS as a neighbor

    • Recognized for strong safety and environmental protection programs. This ‘trust’ goes back over 40 years

  • Most detractors are remote from SRS, and are more often concerned with DOE programs conducted at SRS, not SRS performance


Elements of a community vision
Elements of a Community Vision

  • SRS is a long-term part of our regional economic base

    • Its importance/impact is reduced because of (1) downsizing and (2) significant diversification of local economy

    • We support the assignment of new compatible core missions to SRS

  • SRS physical assets and intellectual talent are used to leverage new private sector jobs and investment

  • We are not a closure site


Consensus guiding principle
Consensus Guiding Principle

No waste or excess nuclear materials shall be brought into South Carolina unless an approved and funded pathway exists for its processing and shipment to either a ‘customer’ or an out-of-state waste disposal facility

  • DOE obligations to South Carolina shall be legally enforceable


We are a involved community
We are a Involved Community

  • SRS public support is legendary – large numbers, broad based and two states

  • This is only half the story. Community participation and support at many levels:

    • Actively support adequate budgets

    • Comment on matters affecting site efficiency and long-term viability

    • Sec 3116 Waste Determination: Actively supported regulatory approval of Saltstone Permit Modification

    • Participated in M&O contractor selection draft RPF comment process

    • Home to Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness

    • Aiken County funding of Center for Hydrogen Research – modern laboratory facility for SRNL, technical transfer for the community

    • Nurturing of SRS spin-off businesses


Community priorities programmatic
Community Priorities - Programmatic

  • Expedited removal of high level waste from underground tanks and preparation for disposal in national repository

  • Expedited stabilization for safe storage of plutonium from SRS and other locations

  • Expedited preparation of plutonium received from out-of-state locations into forms suitable for shipment to users or out-of-state waste disposal facilities

  • Regulatory milestones are met

  • National laboratory and infrastructure programs are sufficient to attract new DOE missions and have beneficial impact on private sector

  • Sufficient funding for timely support of program needs

  • Early availability of Yucca Mountain


Community priorities institutional
Community Priorities - Institutional

  • Some common elements in the DOE and Community long-term visions

  • Open, continuing and timely communication

    • Locally and with Washington

  • Timely follow-through on commitments

  • An effective Community Relations Program

  • Working with the Communities to leverage SRS activities for off-site jobs and investment


Recent positive highlights
Recent Positive Highlights

  • DOE support for Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) construction

  • DOE’s aggressive program to deal with WIR lawsuit

    • Community appreciates DOE efforts to protect high level waste and DWPF programs

  • Focus on risk reduction

    • D&D programs placed in lower priority

  • A recognition of SRS’s ability to assist in addressing DOE-wide needs


Current areas of concern
Current Areas of Concern

  • Delayed Construction of MOX Facility

    • resulted in Aiken County lawsuit

    • Congress is the current holdup

  • Delay in Salt Waste Processing Facility

    • facility redesign not in overall best interest

  • Lack of Disposition Pathway for excess plutonium not suitable for MOX – plan de jour

  • Research Reactor SNF remains without an approved disposition pathway

  • Regional capabilities not always considered in contracting programs

    • Eliminates opportunity for local economic development

  • No DOE vision for long-term SRS viability (recapture of DOE investment)

    • Individual near-term program interests appear to transcend DOE long-term corporate requirements

    • Savannah River Ecology Laboratory is one example

      Improved communications could have minimized some of these concerns


Thoughts on doe initiatives
Thoughts on DOE Initiatives

Initiatives involving SRS

  • Complex 2030

  • Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

  • Plutonium Vitrification Facility

  • Plutonium and HEU consolidation initiative

  • Energy Initiatives


Complex 2030
Complex 2030

Community supports DOE plans

  • Modernize, right-size and cost effective

  • We believe SRS is well suited for plutonium mission and will actively support that assignment

  • Receipt of plutonium from other locations will not be an issue if (1) part of production mission and (2) non-suitable plutonium prepared for disposition.


  • Global nuclear energy partnership
    Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

    An Energy Park on SRS is a location being considered in draft PEIS.

    • We propose that all three facilities can be located on SRS

    • GNEP fits community vision for DOE and commercial nuclear energy missions

    • High level of local support but many questions

  • Several Regulatory Challenges

    • Licensing a new reactor type – NRC

    • “Decay storage” and ultimate disposal of Sr and Cs – considerable state input may be required

  • Community concerns include:

    • SNF shipped to SRS, facilities are cancelled (defacto regional storage)

    • Lack of Congressional understanding and support


  • Plutonium vitrification facility
    Plutonium Vitrification Facility

    This facility is five years overdue. Has a strongly defined role in Surplus Plutonium Disposition

    • Pathway for safe disposition of excess plutonium not suitable for MOX Facility

  • Not a substitute for MOX

    • Does not meet programmatic objective

    • Does not have adequate capacity


  • Plutonium and heu consolidation initiative
    Plutonium and HEU Consolidation Initiative

    DOE correctly identified SRS facilities as best able to dispose of surplus/waste plutonium and HEU currently at multiple DOE locations. Billions of Dollars can be saved.

    We want to help but we will protect against repeat of Rocky Flats debacle.

    • Legally binding commitments

    • Must be viewed as beneficial for total state (not just area surrounding SRS)


    Energy initiatives
    Energy Initiatives

    Nuclear Energy (in addition to GNEP)

    • We want to be a greater player (partner with Idaho) in Gen IV and Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative.

    • We are an active player in Nuclear Power 2010. We were a NuStart finalist. Also reviewed as alternate site in North Anna EIS

      Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

    • SRS has largest staff of hydrogen scientists and engineers (Capability based on 50 years of tritium work)

    • South Carolina’s many assets have been organized

      • Good reception from industry – many cooperative programs

    • Have been unable to become part of DOE core program.

    • Nation will benefit from increased SRNL participation in DOE programs


    In summary
    In Summary

    • South Carolina and SRS served the nation well during the cold war

      • Events over the last ten years have tested the relationship between DOE and the community

    • SRS is not a closure site

    • There are many important challenges facing DOE and the nation which can benefit greatly from SRS participation.

      • SRNL and basic SRS infrastructure should be supported based on potential future contributions

    • DOE and the community need to redouble efforts to align our visions for the future of SRS. We will both be stronger.


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