Target: U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz
Goal: Clean up radioactive bomb waste at the highly contaminated Savannah River Site.
The Savannah Rive Site in South Carolina is home to most of the radioactive waste resulting from the Cold War nuclear weapons build-up. The U.S. Department of Energy owns the site and is responsible for cleaning up the environmental catastrophe that remains. Recently, cleanup work has slowed to the point where radioactive leaks into groundwater are a very real possibility. Please voice your concern for this looming environmental disaster, and urge the U.S. Department of Energy to clean up the mess they made.
When the cleanup process of radioactive bomb waste began in 1996, the U.S. Department of Energy promised the waste would be contained by 2023. At current rates, the process is estimated to be finished no sooner than late into the 2040’s. The tanks, which currently hold the liquid nuclear waste, are already leaking and it is not known if they will last beyond 2023.
The U.S. Department of Energy claims that the reason for the slowdown in cleanup is due to technical issues and budgetary constraints, particularly the sequestration cuts. Unfortunately, officials responsible for the cleanup acknowledge that for every year the liquid waste remains in the tanks, millions of dollars will need to spent on maintenance and security. This estimate doesn’t even take into consideration the possible financial and human costs if groundwater is contaminated by leaking nuclear waste, a disaster akin to the recent leaks at the Fukushima plant in Japan.
By signing the petition below, you are urging the U.S. Department of Energy to fulfill its promise to clean up this radioactive mess and prevent this waste from contaminating our water.
Dear Secretary Moniz,
As you are no doubt aware, South Carolina is threatening a $154 million fine for the mismanagement of the nuclear cleanup of your Savannah River Site. We, the undersigned, urge you to fulfill your responsibility to the people of South Carolina, and clean up the radioactive waste in accordance with the initial timetable.
While it must be acknowledged that budgetary constraints are a real obstacle, the safety of our drinking water obliges you to look beyond well-trodden and ineffectual political paths to an innovative and possibly radical solution. Radioactive waste created and left in faulty containment tanks by the U.S Department of Energy is not a situation that should ever be negotiable or left to the vagaries of political brinksmanship.
We urge you to act decisively to ensure your responsibilities are met.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Federal Government of the United States via Wikimedia Commons