Savannah River Site Discussion Paper

The following white paper was presented to U.S. senators and congressmen who represent the CSRA and to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during the CSRA Leadership trip to Washington, DC.

Savannah River Site (SRS)
White Paper
CSRA Leadership Trip
Washington, DC
May 8 – 10, 2012


SRS Total Funding and Staffing 
FY 2012 (Current year appropriations)  $2,154 Million
FY 2013 (President’s Budget)   $2,221 Million
Staffing (February, 2012)    12,641 employees

Major Accomplishments - past 12 months

1. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing innovative plans to provide additional sources of feed for the MOX facility.  By using existing capabilities in H Canyon, K Area and Los Alamos the previously proposed Pit Disassemble and Conversion Facility can be avoided with significant savings in time and funding.

2. Grouting of two additional underground waste tanks has been initiated – A major DOE and regulatory milestone

3. The new Biomass co-generation (steam and electricity) facility is now operational.

4. Over 300 Tons of low enriched uranium have been recovered from high enriched materials using the H Canyon facility, has been shipped to the Tennessee Valley Authority – Swords into Plowshares on a very large scale.

5. Over 300 canisters of vitrified high level waste were poured in the last twelve months – a new record.  Since DWPF operations started in 1996, more than 3,300 canisters of a planned 7,550 canisters have been poured.

6. Savannah River National Laboratory was honored with a national R&D 100 Award for hollow glass microspheres.

7. 2,000 cubic meters of transuranic waste have been shipped to an out-of-state disposal facility and another 3,000 cubic meters have been prepared for shipment.

8. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) activities have been successfully completed.

9. H Canyon continues to provide unique and valuable services – alternate preparation of feed for the MOX facility and preparation of plutonium wastes for shipment to WIPP.

10. The SRS Strategic Plan – Enterprise SRS was issued.  The plan provides bold look at the future for the Savannah River Site and the community.

11. Signing of three Memoranda of Understanding with commercial nuclear reactor vendors for location of Small Modular Reactor demonstration facilities on SRS

Community SRS Issues and Concerns

Disposition of High Level Waste – Yucca Mountain

• The Yucca Mountain project to be immediately restarted. 
• High level vitrified nuclear waste at Savannah River Site to be immediately shipped to an out-of-state location.
• The unexpended balance in the Nuclear Waste Fund to be returned to ratepayers, and additional collections be suspended. 
• If DOE continues with plans for additional ‘glass log’ storage at SRS, the expanded storage should be financed from the Department of Justice Judgment Fund

Disposition of Research Reactor Fuels stored in L Basin

• Congress to provide funds and direct DOE to use H Canyon to process Research Reactor Used Nuclear Fuels.   If the revenue from sale of recovered uranium is directed to SRS, the need for additional SRS funding is mitigated or eliminated. 

DOE Contracting Activities and Potential Adverse Impact on the SRS Tritium Program

Our Recommendation:
The Congressional Delegation should do the following.

• Ask DOE for a briefing on and programmatic justification for this initiative
• Require DOE to establish firm qualitative and quantitative criteria for evaluating the impact of any possible contract transfer, including the impact on all current and future Federal activities at SRS
• Require DOE to coordinate with and justify to Congress before any action is taken to evaluate and/or implement a transfer action.

Salt Waste Processing Facility Construction Project

Our Recommendation:
• A total of $102 Million should be appropriated for the SWPF project in 2013 and that SRS ‘reprogram’ an additional $100 Million into the SWPF project.

Support to New Missions – Recapitalization of SRNL and SRS Infrastructure

Our Recommendation:
• The Congressional Delegation (1) to continue their strong encouragement to DOE and others for the many positive SRS developments, and (2) have DOE include Community and SRS unique capabilities, expertise and leadership in their program planning and execution of new and continuing missions.

Sequestration Provisions of Budget Control Act of 2011 - Impact on SRS Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations

Our Recommendations:
• Congress to amend the Budget Control Act of 2011 to eliminate the automatic sequestration provisions and allow for a ‘merit-based’ evaluation of FY 2013 appropriations.  Entitlement programs must be part of the evaluation process and subject to reduction.
• Congress establish a fair and predictable long-term deficit reduction plan which balances the competing needs of all legitimate federal expenditures – defense, social and other.

Community Position on Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations

Our Recommendations:
• Congress direct that Yucca Mountain be completed as the site of the first national repository.  If consent-based selection is thought useful, we recommend it be used for additional repositories after Yucca Mountain.
• We do not support an ‘interim storage only’ mission.  We will provide a specific recommendation for participation in the ‘back end’ of the nuclear fuel cycle by February 28, 2013
• Congress advocate for establishment and funding of advanced nuclear technology programs designed to minimize generation of nuclear waste.
• The Congressional Delegation recognize the national significance of the local Nuclear Workforce Initiative program with respect to the growing demand for a trained workforce to meet current SRS missions and SC/GA nuclear industry needs

DOE Request to re-set Surplus Plutonium Disposition Financial Penalty Provisions

Our Recommendations:
• Congress not reset the trigger dates for payment of economic and impact assistance.
• Congress direct that $30,000,000 of economic and impact payments be made available to SRS for the sole purpose of processing Research Reactor Used Nuclear Fuel in H Canyon.
• Congress direct that $20,000,000 of economic and impact payments be made available to SRS for the sole purpose of supporting SRS new missions (including required infrastructure upgrades) and other SRS/Community development effort.
• If Congress deems appropriate, up to $50,000,000 of the annual payment be forgiven in recognition of progress made toward the goal of MOX and feed material facilities being operational on December 31, 2018.
• Congress modify legislation to allow the continued receipt and retention of defense plutonium based on the new MOX production objective of December 31, 2018

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