Skip to comments.Construction begins on SC plant that will turn weapons grade plutonium into fuel
Posted on 08/03/2007 3:01:06 PM PDT by Between the Lines
Construction has started on a South Carolina plant that will convert weapons plutonium to commercial reactor fuel and eventually employee hundreds of workers.
Construction of the facility at the Savannah River nuclear complex near Aiken had been delayed because of complications with a corresponding Russian facility.
The Bush administration for years has had plans to convert 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium into a mixed oxide fuel, or MOX, as part of a program with Russia in which both countries agree to dispose of an equal amount of the material from their weapons stockpiles.
Last month, the Bush administration announced plans to convert more weapons-grade plutonium than previously planned. A senior Energy Department official said additional tons of plutonium can be taken from dismantled warheads and disposed of, beyond the 34 tons already planned to be converted to commercial fuel.
The U.S. plutonium is to be converted into a mixed oxide fuel that would then be burned in a commercial nuclear power reactor.
On Wednesday, about 400 construction workers began hauling equipment to the construction site. It is expected to take 1,600 construction workers seven years to build the facility, said Energy Department spokesman Jim Giusti.
The facility is being built by Energy Department contractor Shaw Areva Mox Services.
The plant will have tests for two years before opening in 2016, employing 800 people. Pay will be similar to the other 10,000 workers at the site, who average about $60,000 per year, Giusti said.
Duke Energy has agreed to pay $100 million a year for fuel rods that will be used in reactors at its Catawba Nuclear Station in South Carolina and McGuire Nuclear Station in North Carolina.
The jobs could help the area economy. The site announced some 2,000 layoffs in the last two years and 1,600 textile jobs were gone in nearby Graniteville when Avondale Mills went out of business, said Fred Humes, director of the Economic Development Partnership, an agency serving Aiken and Edgefield counties.
"These will be high-paying jobs," Humes said. "We've been waiting on this for several years."
The 310-square-mile nuclear weapons complex near Aiken opened in the early 1950s and once produced plutonium and tritium for atomic bombs. The site's reactors have been shut down for more than 15 years.
Goodie. Not only are we going to dismantle our nuclear weapons (if we haven’t already), but we’re going to destroy whatever future capability me may need. I’m impressed...
I’m sure China and Russia must be quaking in their boots at this prospect.
Its not quite time to beat our swords to plows.
Makes as much sense as burning food to use for fuel.
The plutonium comes from a deal brokered by Clinton under the U.S.-Russia nonproliferation treaty. Under the agreement we are to dispose of 68 tons of plutonium, half of it coming from Russia (and we get if for free). No US weapons will be dismantled. The US has approximately 50 tons of surplus plutonium in the our inventory and the 34 tons will come from this surplus.
Thank you for that information. I will consider it carefully.
So what you are saying is that we will destroy two-thirds of our weapons grade plutonium stockpile. And while our government isn’t planning to dismantle our weapons stores to achieve this, you forgot to mention that we have destroyed about 90% of our nuclear warheads prior to this, and the meterials from those weapons would most certainly be a part of the 50 tons you mentioned.
Is that about right?
Bush goes overboard again in the name of buddy Putin. This is garbage. This country is doing everything it can to make us a third world country that has no strenght.
We could always mine Yucca Mountain if necessary. We throw away enormous amounts of plutonium every time a US nuclear power plant is refueled.
There’s probably truth in that. I wouldn’t be too happy if my relative was the person having to expose themselves in order to mine more though.
One thing that is left out in what I read, is what the total stockpile of Russian weapons grade plutonium actually is, if we truly know (that is).
Kinda hard to dig for Plutonium as it doesn't occur naturally.
LOL, I suppose I should know that. Don’t tell... ;)
Bush is ruining this country in an attempt to establish some, any, legacy. First he pinned his hopes on “solving” illegal immigration (giving away our country). No go. Then it’s on to selling Israel down the drain in favor of the Pali’s and the Arab states, via Condi Rice. In progress, but probably, knowing the Pali’s, eventually no go. So, now onto nuclear disarmament by destroying plutonium stockpiles. Perhaps a short-term legacy that will go bad at some point after Bush leaves office, leaving us holding the bag.
From my point of view, Bush can’t leave office soon enough. The damage he is doing now is stacking up everyday. He gives our taxpayer dollars to Africa for his Aids projects, which is mostly money down a rathole. He’s doing a Saudi and other Arab countries arms deal which is basically arming the eventual enemy who will use those weapons someday against our interests, and in particular against Israel. This guy is making one major blooper after another, and we all will suffer for it, or should I say from it. Ugh. Go away, Bush. You make your father as Prez look good, and that ain’t easy. Two too many Arabist/Globalists. The acorn didn’t fall far from the tree.
It’s with a lot of frustration that I view your comments and realize that I pretty much agree. Not only is he arming the Arab states, but he doesn’t seem to give one darn moments thought to what we’re giving away to China either.
I could give a lengthy list as well. Let’s just suffice it to say that this guy has been a disaster.
In California this is coumpouned since we have such an unqualified governor and two of the most idiotic if not traitor-like Senators in the nation’s history.
If you think this is bad, just wait until the US, Canadian & Mexican “security” agreement is passed. When it does, Bush will have turned over control of this nation almost completely.
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