AIKEN - The Savannah River Site is moving toward the possibility of shipping radioactive nuclear waste from Germany to South Carolina, according to paperwork signed by federal officials this week.
The U.S. Energy Department is considering shipping used nuclear fuel containing 900 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from Germany to the site, where it would be processed and disposed. On Thursday, agency officials said they had signed a notice of intent to study the environmental impact of the proposal, which would be part of a plan to return the potentially dangerous materials to the U.S. in order to protect national security.
"By removing U.S.-origin (highly-enriched uranium) from Germany and returning it to the United States for safe disposition, DOE could render it unusable in a nuclear weapon or an improvised nuclear material dispersal device," Energy officials said in an email Thursday.
In April, Energy officials signed a separate agreement with German research facilities offering to evaluate accepting, processing and disposing of the waste at Savannah River.
A public meeting on the issue is scheduled June 24. Some critics oppose the plan because it would bring more nuclear waste to South Carolina.
"I think public and government entities will be lined up against this, mainly the state of South Carolina and the SRS Citizens Advisory Board," said Tom Clements of SRS Watch. "SRS doesn't need any more additional waste. The site is already under great strain to manage the existing waste."