It boasts a “proven record of safe, efficient waste removal,” but Chem-Nuclear’s low level radioactive waste facility in Barnwell County, S.C. is the source of a lingering “radioactive plume,” according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).
The agency referenced the plume at a meeting of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s Nuclear Advisory Council.
According to WLTX TV 19 (CBS – Columbia, S.C.), the plume of radioactive Tritium “is moving off the Barnwell Nuclear site southwest toward the Savannah River Site.”
According to SCDHEC this isn’t breaking news, though, as “the plume that was discussed during last week’s annual meeting is the same plume that has been closely monitored for years.”
The agency notes that “Tritium was first detected in on-site groundwater monitoring wells in 1978,” and that since then “numerous sampling wells have been put in place to monitor its movement and dilution.”
“Ten monitoring locations show no evidence of a trend either up or down, six locations show an upward trend, and eleven locations show a downward trend over the most recent five-year period (third quarter 2008 to second quarter 2013),” the agency concludes.
Environmental advocates aren’t impressed – and want Chem-Nuclear to do a better job containing the leak.
Specifically they point to Mary’s Branch Creek, which has been off limits to drinking, fishing, swimming, hunting and irrigation for years.
South Carolina’s “Republican-controlled” General Assembly – including then-Rep. Nikki Haley – were aggressively lobbied seven years ago by the firm of Warren Tompkins to keep the Barnwell facility open despite questions about its safety.
Thanks in no small part to Tompkins’ efforts, Chem-Nuclear will remain open through 2038 …