We are truly at a nuclear crossroads.  The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC) has completed its final report which endorses centralized storage of highly radioactive waste away from the reactors that made it & does not prohibit reprocessing (separation of plutonium from the waste).  So the volunteers at the Savannah River Site are still in the running (see below) which means WNC could be run over with shipments of high level nuclear waste from the nations’s nuclear reactors to South Carolina and back again going to a centralized storage area.  According to Section 4.3 of the BRC report “at present, deep geological disposal remains clearly the most promising and technically accepted method currently available for safely isolating high-level radioactive wastes from the environment for very long periods of time”. Sandy Mush, NC is the closest proposed granite site listed in the 80’s to the Savanna River site.  We sincerely hope the public will raise its voice to stop a nuclear future.  We can choose instead to invest our money & resources in safe, sustainable energy & employment.

This is the situation:

Nuclear reprocessing plants extract plutonium from high level nuclear waste.  The only use for plutonium other than for nuclear weapons is as an unstable & extremely expensive fuel.  An accident with this fuel is 2 times as deadly as the current fuel & therefore too risky.  The fuel has been a resounding failure on the commercial level in France where billions of dollars were spent on it.  The French government can no longer justify more reactors and have come to work with the US.  In the last 34 years not 1 new reactor proposal had been made.  Since the French have discussed working in the US there have been 26 new reactor proposals.

The Savannah River Site (SRS) nuclear plant near Aiken, SC wants the lucrative government contract to build a reprocessing plant.  This would require the transportation of all of the high level nuclear waste in the United States via our highways, railroads & waterways.  Such an action would create the very real potential for deadly radioactive spills all across the United States.  In addition, transporting high level nuclear waste endangers national security in regards to terrorist action.

The Savannah River Site (SRS) near Aiken could “recycle” our nuclear waste which sounds very “green”.  However the 64, 000 metric tons to be reprocessed will create massive additional nuclear waste.....far more than the original 64,000 metric tons.  A disposal site will then have to be chosen.

All of this radioactive waste will then be transported again & buried at a disposal site.  If the Sandy Mush dump site is considered the waste would travel on I-26 & I-40.

In 1986 a NC geological survey, Bulletin 90, was undertaken to determine the suitability of the Sandy Mush, NC area as a deep level disposal site for high level nuclear waste.  The results were published in 1988 stating that the site was unsuitable.  Quoting the NC Geological Survey: Supplement to Bulletin 90 they concluded “Thus, failure of the areas rocks to meet acceptability criteria, along with numerous other geologically negative factors, makes the area unsuitable for consideration as an underground, high-level nuclear waste repository”.

It is true that granite is the preferable material when burying high level nuclear waste.  However it is only effective at sea level.  At 3,000 feet above sea level gravity is a huge factor and the Sandy Mush dump site has the potential to pollute the head waters of the coastal plain. 

Our government spent 24 years (1986 - 2010) doing studies attempting to prove the viability of the Yucca Mountain dump site in Nevada.  It has proved to be a very bad site and the study has been shut down. 

Over 170 organizations in all 50 states in the US already support keeping the nuclear waste on site (where it is now) for the foreseeable future.  The storage areas would be enlarged in addition to making them safer & more secure.  This option is very cost effective, safer and a conservative alternative for nuclear waste containment.

We in WNC have the right to determine our unique local economy which is now filled with jobs from tourism, entrepreneurs, vacation home sales & rentals, real estate, etc.  Don’t let this disappear and leave us with a nuclear waste economy.

What we do now will affect everyone in the United States including  our future generations.  Tell your family, friends, co-workers & anyone you can about this issue.  Ask them to e-mail or write President Obama & the local representatives of their state.  Our health, livelihoods, children, natural resources, environment, ability to grow food & property values are all at risk.

We have posted a list of people to contact regarding future investment in nuclear energy in the United States.

Thank you interested citizens.  We want to let you know this situation can change daily so please check back for updates.