Letters to the Editor

SC, Savannah River Site needs to stay out of the nuclear weapons business

The mixed oxide fuel facility has been under construction at the Savannah River Site for years.
The mixed oxide fuel facility has been under construction at the Savannah River Site for years. Courtesy High Flyer

Gov. McMaster should refuse any government requests to create plutonium pits in South Carolina. Our beautiful state has become a nuclear waste ground. The Department of Energy continues to spend billions on nuclear cleanup of waste that has no repository. South Carolinians don’t want more plutonium in our state. We certainly don’t want the highly dangerous materials that result from pit production. Plutonium may be the worst of the fission byproducts. Plutonium, Pu-239, has a half-life of 24,100 years so it stays in the environment the longest. Rocky Flats, a former U.S. nuclear weapons production facility, is a superfund site because of contamination from producing plutonium pits. We don’t want a Rocky Flats legacy.

Allowing plutonium pits to be produced at the Savannah River Site magnifies the nuclear weapons role for South Carolinians. The waste that was produced 50 years ago from our involvement with nuclear weapons is still an environmental nightmare. We need to transition to clean technology and stay out of the weapons business.

Please don’t allow more nuclear weapons materials to be brought into South Carolina for production of plutonium pits.

Cassandra Fralix

Lexington

SRS doesn’t need to be generating more nuclear waste

Right on the heels of the billions wasted on the now terminated nuclear reactor project and billions wasted on a now terminated MOX facility (a plutonium processing scheme), South Carolinians are now being presented with another opportunity to spend billions on a new nuclear boondoggle: repurposing the unfinished MOX facility at SRS to make triggers (pits) for nuclear weapons.

Sens. Graham and Scott and Rep. Wilson, please don’t fall for this. Our country is oversupplied with nuclear weapons whose only purpose is deterrence. Recognizing their catastrophic potential, exorbitant cost and unsolved waste disposal issues, world leaders in nuclear states have been lowering the number of nuclear warheads for decades. It would be a huge waste of money to turn to this simply to give SRS a new mission. Not only are more weapons not needed, but the last thing an aging facility (leaking roofs and all) needs is to generate more waste.

For 70 years, the mission has been cleaning up radioactive waste. Keep your eyes on this unfinished job.

Joanne Williams

Columbia

Doctors know enough to safely prescribe cannabis

As a graduate of MUSC with 40 years experience, I wish to respond to Dr. Ropp’s letter of Jan. 13. The SCMA (South Carolina Medical Association) does not speak for me regarding medical cannabis.

Cannabis has been extensively studied, as demonstrated by the 2017 report by the National Academy of Science that reviewed over 10,000 scientific articles on cannabis, finding conclusive evidence of effectiveness for three indications, with moderate or inconclusive evidence for many more.

Regarding safety, there has never been a reported death from the toxic effects of cannabis. The concern that cannabis is a gateway to harder drugs has been debunked. With the current epidemic of opioid deaths, cannabis can be a far better option for pain and can be a gateway out of opioid use. Because of study technique, it will be difficult to get traditional FDA approval for cannabis. The congressional classification of cannabis as a schedule 1 controlled substance, a political, not a scientific decision, severely impairs rigorous scientific study.

The practice of medicine balances benefit against risk. An educated physician can help a patient navigate cannabis use better than anyone else. While there is much more to learn, we know enough now to safely use this valuable new tool.

Bill Griffith

Anderson

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

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