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September 14, 2013

DHEC wins battle for reusing waste tanks

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Friday it has won a battle with federal officials over reusing high-level waste tanks that are being cleaned out at the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Friday it has won a battle with federal officials over reusing high-level waste tanks that are being cleaned out at the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex.

According to DHEC, the U.S. Department of Energy wanted to reuse two tanks that already had been cleansed of the deadly waste, but backed away from the plan recently.

DHEC director Catherine Templeton said she’s glad the tanks won’t be reused. The agency did not say how the energy department wanted to use the tanks.

“We can’t afford to reverse course and reuse tanks that SRS employees worked hard to responsibly empty,” Templeton said.

DHEC is threatening to fine the energy department if it falls behind in cleaning up high-level nuclear waste at the 300-square- mile complex near Aiken. The DOE is facing a money shortage and, this week, a cleanup contractor laid off more than 400 workers.

A DOE spokesperson was not available Friday for comment.

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