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Your Views: Private efforts to ‘clean up’ spent nukes rejected

POSTED: August 9, 2014 1:00 a.m.

To add some background to the letter published Wednesday from Bobby R. Stone in Alto: About 1969, three of the biggest energy companies in the world, Allied Chemical Co., Gulf Oil Co., Royal Dutch (Oil Co.) and Shell Oil Co. formed a partnership called Allied Gulf Royal Dutch Shell. The purpose of this company was to build a nuclear recycling plant on private land near the Savannah River Site in Barnwell County, as mentioned by Mr. Stone.

The total monetary contribution to initially go into business was nearly a billion dollars, which in the 1960s was a lot of money. They started constructing the plant, hiring scientists and engineers and making plans to extract the nuclear material from government waste and spent nuclear fuel and sell it for a nice profit to electric utilities around the globe to generate clean electric power.

Groups that, at the time, were called environmentalists, came to the capitol in Columbia, S.C., and filled the re-election coffers of the conservative Democrats who ran South Carolina at the time. These Democrats were getting competition and opposition, for the first time since Reconstruction, from Republicans like General William C. Westmoreland, who were attempting to pass civil rights laws and clean up the Democrat corruption, among other things.

The recycling plant was never able to secure a license to operate. The environmentalists and Democrats won. In the late ’70s, the United States Department of Energy hired 30,000-plus people and spent no telling how many billions of taxpayer dollars to start the “cleanup” and disposal of the same product that Allied Gulf Royal Dutch Shell was going to sell for a profit.

Today, the U.S. government is still spending billions of borrowed dollars to “clean up” the spent fuel. The spending will, I guess, go on for thousands of years, or until we elect a government that will allow the private sector to turn nuclear waste and wasted dollars into a profit.

Rick Frommer


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