Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) and Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)
- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced the U.S. Senate passed the 2004 Energy and Water Appropriations legislation which contains funding for operations at the Savannah River Site. Graham voted for the bill which passed the Senate 92-0.
“SRS is an important piece in our nation’s defense infrastructure,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “South Carolina has been a strong supporter of the SRS mission for decades, and we will continue to support their activities in the years to come.”
“Providing full support for SRS in the Senate is one of my top priorities,” said Graham. “I am proud of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing this bill in a bipartisan manner.”
The bill also congratulates the state for creating one of the first new graduate programs in nuclear engineering in the last 20 years and strongly encourages the U.S. Department of Energy to support the new program at the University of South Carolina.
The bill must now pass a conference meeting of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before it can be finalized and signed into law by President Bush.
Savannah River Site Projects Contained in the Senate Energy and Water Appropriation Bill
- $402 million for the mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility
- $75 million the Tritium Extraction Facility
- $20.259 million for the construction of glass waste storage building #2
- $13.6 million for the pit disassembly and conversion facility
- $1.134 million for container surveillance capability
- $2.75 million for cleaning and loading modifications
In addition to these specific projects, the bill funds the operation and management of the entire Department of Energy Weapons Complex, including the Savannah River Site. The annual operating budget of SRS is approximately $1.3 billion.
Graham noted that the Senate also included $22.8 million dollars to support the development of a Modern Pit Facility. If a facility is constructed and SRS is selected, the Site would manufacture the hollow spheres of metallic plutonium that trigger hydrogen fusion in atomic bombs. SRS is one of five candidates for the facility, an estimated $4 billion project that would employ roughly 800 workers during construction and roughly 1,500 workers once the facility becomes operational.
“The Savannah River Site is the most secure, competent, and cost effective location for building a Modern Pit Facility in support of our future defense needs,” said Graham. “South Carolina and Georgia have presented a united front to secure the modern pit facility, stressing the ability of SRS to go to work immediately on the project if necessary.”