Experimental Saxton atomic reactor site released for unrestricted re-use by NRC in 2005
December 16, 2013
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Saxton Nuclear Experiment StationAs reported in this 1998 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, the former site of the Saxton Nuclear Experimental Corporation's 7 Megawatt-electric, experimental atomic reactor has been declared re-usable, for un-restricted re-use by the NRC. 7 MW-e is only enough electricity for 100 homes.

The reactor pressure vessel was shipped by heavy haul truck, then rail, to South Carolina for burial in a ditch at the Barnwell "low-level" radioactive waste dump. Numerous other reactor pressure vessels -- including from Big Rock Point, MI; Yankee-Rowe, MA; and CT Yankee -- were buried at Barnwell before the dump's closure to 36 of 39 states which previously had dumped there. In recent years, only SC, NJ, and CT are allowed to dump radioactive wastes at Barnwell.

(In 2003, protestors -- including Kevin Kamps, now with Beyond Nuclear, along with Mike Ferner of Veterans for Peace -- were arrested for committing a non-violent civil resistance action against the Big Rock Point RPV shipment bound for Barnwell.

Years earlier, Citizens Awareness Network of the Northeast conducted a "Caravan of Conscience" tour from Yankee-Rowe, MA to Barnwell, SC, to educate transport corridor communities about the risks, as well as to apologize to the dump's "hosts" -- surrounding residents, disproportionately African American, an environmental injustice. Yankee Atomic "public relations" officials shadowed the "Caravan of Conscience," conducting satellite phone interviews with the media to rebut and counter CAN's work.)

Local residents, whose own children died due to leukemia, found a very high leukemia rate in the area's small population. The nuclear utilities, and even state government officials, scoffed at the findings.

Wikipedia has some additional information about the Saxton atomic reactor, including that NRC released the former SNEC site for unrestricted reuse, although questions remain about radioactive contamination, as from radioactive releases and leaks that went unreported for many years.

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/).
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