Contact: Ms. Priscilla Preston, Vice Chair, South Carolina Sierra Club
S.C. Sierra Club Chapter
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Department of Energy (DOE) budget released yesterday in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Volume I includes a request for $603 million — a 37 percent increase from last year toward producing 50 plutonium pits per year for nuclear warheads at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. The cost of plutonium pit production at SRS for construction of the facility alone is estimated to be $11.1 billion. Plutonium pit production, for new and existing nuclear weapons, would result in a large amount of plutonium being brought into the site for processing and would yield various types of nuclear waste, threatening groundwater and the Savannah River. Environmental Justice impacts have not been analyzed. The South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club opposes plutonium pit production at SRS and calls for a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to thoroughly address all of these environmental and health concerns. The South Carolina Sierra Club opposes spending billions of dollars for a program that has only negative consequences for national security and the health of the environment and human health.
The initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) includes an analysis of producing 125 pits per year at SRS. The first pits produced would be for two new nuclear warheads, then more pits would be produced to replace those in all 4000 active nuclear weapons, with the goal to keep the United States in a position to fight a full-scale nuclear war.
Due to plutonium pit production and other programs – more than 70 metric tons of plutonium could come to SRS. If the plans to produce plutonium pits fails or succeeds, South Carolina would be burdened with a significant radioactive waste problem. No schedule to date has been presented for the removal of this material in the form of pits or associated waste streams.
We urge all South Carolinians to contact your representatives to protect our health, the environment and all life on earth by voting against approving funding for plutonium pit production at SRS.
Refer to SRS Watch for more information www.srswatch.org.