Hundreds of high-paying jobs may disappear at SRS after DOE cut

People form Aiken, Augusta, even Washington, D.C. piled into the Bell Auditorium Thursday night for a meeting about Savannah River Site. Meanwhile, nuclear waste continues to pile up at SRS.

“We’ve got about 10 metric tons thus far,” said David Moody. He’s the Department of Energy Manager at Savannah River Site. He says the public hearing tonight was to discuss what to do with all that waste.

One of the old answers is off the table now.

“H Canyon is not only important to this area, but it’s important to the United States. It’s a national resource,” said Representative Tom Young, Jr. (R – Aiken).

H Canyon is a massive facility at SRS with a special goal.

“It’s the only facility in the United States that has the ability to reprocess certain types of used nuclear fuel,” said Young.

In its 2012 budget, the U.S. Department of Energy removed $100 million of funding from H Canyon. Young fears the impact it’ll have on this area.

“There are approximately 655 people, I believe, that work at H Canyon, and all of these are very good high-paying jobs. Many of these people live in Aiken County and in Richmond and Columbia Counties in the CSRA,” said Young.

Young says the lay-offs will come at a bad time. SRS is already facing lay-offs after the stimulus money dried up this year. Moody, however, is optimistic.

“We are going to enable a nuclear future for this country,” he said.

As for the future, Moody says we’ll have to find other ways of getting rid of the nuclear waste piling up at SRS. H Canyon would have taken care of some of it, but with it off the table, what’s the alternative?

“There isn’t one,” says Moody “Unless someone has in the neighborhood of $10 billion to build a new one. It really is a national resource.”

He says the H Canyon facility won’t be torn down. It’ll instead be used for Research and Development purposes.

Representative Young says there’s already a place laid-off workers can go in Aiken to find related work. The to that information is below.

From Representative Tom Young, Jr.:

“Help for Displaced SRS Workers: If you or someone you know lost a job at SRS, there is a One-Stop Transition Center open in downtown Aiken at Park Avenue and Laurens Street to assist workers displaced at SRS with finding new work. The Center is open from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. For more information, visit”

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