Atomic Money in South Carolina
We are learning more about the attempt to change our laws to allow more out-of-state nuclear waste in South Carolina. The State looked into the Utah Company, Energy Solutions, that is putting up ads on local TV.
Energy Solutions is trying to reopen the dump to the nation so that it can compete nationally with its chief rival, Waste Control Specialists. That company now runs the nation’s only low-level nuclear waste landfill that can take all classes of low-level garbage. Its disposal site, lined by concrete, is in an arid area of west Texas.
Here we go again. After 30 Years of winning, then losing, then winning legislative battles to stop burying the nation’s low-level nuclear waste in Barnwell, another battle looms. As with so many issues with huge economic stakes, this just won’t die. Legislators and governors move on, but the industry and its high-powered lobbyists never go away.
With renewed efforts to reopen the Barnwell nuclear waste site, we are getting some questions about the site and how we got to where are now. I’ll try to boil it down to a few key points.
The Barnwell Site is a landfill for radioactive waste. The State of South Carolina owns the site, and leases it to Chem-Nuclear to operate.
The General Assembly passed the Atlantic Compact Law in 2000 to close Barnwell to waste from states that were not part of the compact in 2008, leaving the site open only to South Carolina, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Chem-Nuclear, waste generators, conservationists and elected officials from Barnwell County all agreed on this reasonable compromise to deal with nuclear waste. The site closed to the nation’s use on July 1, 2008.