Nov 22 2004

Savannah River Site Fares Well Under Congressional Spending Plan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Third Congressional District Representative Gresham Barrett (R-Westminster) say they are pleased Congress appropriated funds to push the MOX (Mixed Oxide Fuel) program forward as soon as liability issues with the Russian Federation are resolved and keep the cleanup efforts at Savannah River Site (SRS) moving full-speed ahead. The funding was approved by the Congress this weekend and President Bush is expected to sign it into law in the coming days. Funding for the Site includes: MOX: The only location in the United States where surplus weapons-grade plutonium will be converted in nuclear fuel, SRS will receive $300.3 million for MOX. The figure includes $268 million for construction of the MOX Fuel Fabrication facility and $32.3 million for the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility. The spending bill also included a language expressing Congress’ commitment to ensuring the liability issues with the Russians be resolved as soon as possible. CLEANUP and WASTE STORAGE: Under a plan approved earlier this year, the Site will receive an additional $162.2 million in accelerated cleanup funding to continue the cleanup, removal, and storage of approximately 37 million gallons of waste contained in 49 underground storage tanks at the Site. The figure includes $23.658 million for design and procurement of the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) and $26 million for construction costs. The SWPF is the lynchpin in separating the wastes in tanks for ultimate disposition. Earlier this year Graham and Barrett worked together, along with Governor Mark Sanford and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), to adopt language allowing cleanup efforts to continue at the Site after being blocked by an Idaho court ruling. The legislative fix was signed into law by President Bush on October 28. SRS will receive $43.827 million for a second Glass Waste Storage building. The Site will receive about $1.15 billion for all cleanup and operation efforts. MODERN PIT FACILITY: The Site will receive $7 million for design work on a Modern Pit Facility (MPF). TRITIUM EXTRACTION: The Site will receive $21 million for the tritium extraction facility. “Overall, it’s been a good year for the Site in terms of funding and policy,” said Graham. “We’ve put the funding in place for construction of the MOX facility and now we just need the liability issues resolved. The Bush Administration understands how important it is we get this project moving so we can take this material off the market and terrorists cannot get their hands on it. The quicker we can get our MOX facilities up and running the better.” “In a time of tight budgets and war, I'm pleased with the funding we were able to secure for the Savannah River Site,” said Barrett. “We accomplished a lot this year for the site and the funding provided will allow the site to move forward with important missions such as MOX, MPF and clean up.” “We’re making progress in cleaning up the Cold War legacy of the Site,” said Graham. “The WIR fix, which has already been signed into law, gave us the legal green light to move full-speed ahead on cleanup. The funding in this budget gives us the financial resources to ensure we can go at that pace. I’m very pleased with what we’ve been able to do for the Site this year and the entire South Carolina delegation should be commended.” #####