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Savannah River Site

  • The U.S. agency that oversees the nation's nuclear arsenal is moving ahead with plans to modernize production of key components that trigger the weapons. But some watchdog groups and members of Congress are warning of more delays and cost overruns. The National Nuclear Security Administration delivered its annual plan to Congress this week. It outlines the multibillion-dollar effort to manufacture plutonium pits at national laboratories in New Mexico and South Carolina.
  • The U.S. agency in charge of jumpstarting the production of key components for the nation's nuclear arsenal is falling short when it comes to having a comprehensive schedule for the multibillion-dollar project. The Government Accountability Office says the National Nuclear Security Administration's plans for reestablishing plutonium pit production don't follow best practices and run the risk of delays and ballooning budgets. The GAO outlined the findings in a report made public Thursday. Nuclear watchdog groups have been voicing concerns since the federal government first announced plans to make as many as 80 of the plutonium cores annually — splitting the work between Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
  • The operator of a sprawling federal nuclear reservation in South Carolina says the vast majority of its 5,500 workers are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after the company mandated the shots. But nearly 80 Savannah River Site employees who have refused to get inoculated sued Savannah River Nuclear Solutions over the requirement in South Carolina state court Thursday. Employees who don't get inoculated against the highly contagious virus face firing. The federal contractor says 95% of its workers have gotten the shots ahead of a fall deadline so far. Gov. Henry McMaster says he won't issue an executive order to stop South Carolina businesses from requiring vaccines.
  • Along with billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief money, South Carolina lawmakers have another large bonus pot of money to spend soon. The state is getting $525 million from the federal government over plutonium still being store at the Savannah River Site. The highly radioactive material was supposed to leave by 2017, although that deadline is now 2037.