Leaders Lure Nuclear Reactor

By: Kristen Cosby
By: Kristen Cosby

Aiken County could be a world leader in nuclear energy. State leaders were busy trying to make that happen Tuesday. News 12 is on your side to explain the chances of landing a nuclear reactor and what it will bring to all of us.

The Savannah River Site is on the short list for locations to build the nation’s first nuclear reactor in more than 30 years. Tuesday the company that will build it, Nustart, toured the Savannah River Site as state leaders, both republicans and democrats, tried to sell them on our assets.

It’s a day to wine and dine Nustart. Local and state leaders try to sell them on why the Savannah River is the best of six places to build the country’s first nuclear reactor since 1973.

“This is a site and this is a community that understands what the big picture is about, what the mission is about, what they have been doing since pre-WWII,” said Rep. Gresham Barrett.

The reactor will open in 2010. It will cost more than a billion dollars and bring up to 400 highly skilled, high-paying jobs. An energy plant will most likely follow the reactor, which would double the number of jobs.

“The nuclear history of this area is obviously very, very positive,” said Gary Miller, Nustart.

That community acceptance and our workforce, security, waste disposal services and state tax incentives are all reasons it looks good that SRS may get the reactor.

One strike against SRS, it does not have lines to carry power to businesses. This could be a costly addition. But if we do land the reactor, it will make Aiken County a national model for nuclear energy.

“It will be a place that others will come to because the whole goal here is to standardize the designs and then deploy these standard designs across the US,” Miller said.

Nustart says they will pick a location by the end of September. SRS is the third of their six finalist sites they’ve toured. The other five sites are all commercial sites and Nustart will pick two places to build a reactor.

Nuclear experts in our area believe we’ll get a reactor since we’re the only federal site.

The reactor would supply power to Georgia, South Carolina and parts of Florida. This is the nation’s fastest growing energy area and by the time this reactor is built, we will need it.

Click here to visit Nustart’s website.

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