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Spartan

The Nuclear Option

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South Carolina is currently the nations nuclear dumping ground. We are about 15 years past due for the site to be moved to Nevada. Many of you may remember former Democratic Governor Jim Hodges' fight against the nuclear waste, staying that he would lay down on the road to stop the trucks from coming to SC. Now, as amusing as that was- it accomplished nothing as nuclear waste is still pouring into our state from around the nation.

But did it really accomplish nothing?

There have been some article in The State recently that highlight the recent activity at the Savannah River Site/National Laboratory. The SRS and some other low level nuclear waste facilities in Barnwell County provide a great deal of money to a very poor part of the state, and the potential for high paying, high tech jobs.

The most recent article highlights a Utah-based company that is bidding to invest millions of dollars in the site. This company, or others provide a lot of money to the aurroinding communities, and could provide many benefits to Barnwell County.

Another article highlights the new nuclear reactors that are likely headed to our state. Duke Energy, SCANA (SCE&G), and one other company are investing in at least 5 new reactors that will serve South Carolina. Duke is lookingspend hundreds of millions of dolalrs to build two reactors at its formerly abandoned site in Cherokee County, southeast of Gaffney near the Cherokee Falls community. This is generally percieved as a good thing. The economy in Oconee County is very much centered around the Oconee Nuclear Station (ONS).... but do we really want to generate power that creates the very waste that we don't want in our state?

I think nuclear power is a great option, and a great way to reduce dependance on fossil fuels, even inspite of its evironmental concerns.

My original opinion on this matter is that South Carolina should not be the nation's nuclear dumping ground. However, the recent articles have made me a bit more indecisive. I want South Carolina as a whole to succeed. Nuclear technology provides high tech, high skilled, and high paying jobs. Do we really want to expel these jobs to Nevada?

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I think over the long run, this will be worth it. I actually think that nuclear is the probably the best route for us to go in terms of an environmentally-friendly source of power, and it's good to see this type of investment in our state. If we want to be leaders in the "next energy" economy, we can't just hang our hopes on hydrogen alone.

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The support for receiving nuclear waste as SRS comes from the joint agreement with Russia to build the MOX plant to process the waste. The intentions are quite good as MOX will create more than 1000 construction jobs for several years and around 1000 permanent, skilled jobs in Aiken Co. when it's done.

However, the nature of the agreement with Russia has turned the situation into a bit of a soap opera. It seems both countries haven't been on board at the same time to construct their facilities, so zero progress has been made, and as was predicted by many people, the waste is just piling up. The current US thought is to research a cheaper way to process the waste. Of course, by the time the decision is made, I'm sure that the money spent will greatly eclipse the ~2 billion that would have been used to construct the MOX facility right away...

I just read the article posted, and the Barnwell recycling facility is new to me... 12,000 potential jobs? Holy crap... That's a quick doubling of Barnwell's workforce...

As far as nuclear power is concerned, I'm in full support. I'd love to see some new power reactors at SRS, since the area already has skilled nuclear workforce and the infrastructure to support it, but it seems that private companies aren't jumping at the idea of running their operations on DOE land... However, new reactors plans are underway in the area in Burke Co, just south of Augusta at Plant Vogtle.

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I think over the long run, this will be worth it. I actually think that nuclear is the probably the best route for us to go in terms of an environmentally-friendly source of power, and it's good to see this type of investment in our state. If we want to be leaders in the "next energy" economy, we can't just hang our hopes on hydrogen alone.

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