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Aerial Photos of Bungled Nuclear Projects Released: Plutonium Fuel (MOX), VC Summer and Vogtle Reactor Construction

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SRS Watch is a non-profit organization working on sound policies and projects by the U.S. Department of Energy

Terminated plutonium fuel (MOX) plant at DOE's Savannah River Site

Terminated Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) at DOE's Savannah River Site in South Carolina

Savannah River Site Watch Releases Aerial Photos of the Three Large, Failed Nuclear Construction Projects in South Carolina and Georgia

Release of photos of America's largest, failed nuclear construction projects is a public service documenting where hard-earned financial resources of taxpayers and ratepayers was needlessly wasted.”
— Tom Clements, Director, Savannah River Site Watch

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA, September 27, 2019 / -- Savannah River Site Watch has obtained new aerial photos of the three bungled nuclear construction projects in South Carolina and Georgia and is publicly releasing them. The three projects comprise the trifecta of large, failed U.S. nuclear construction project in the United States, according to SRS Watch.

The photos were legally taken in September 2019 by an anonymous South Carolina pilot who goes by the name “High Flyer.” The release of the photos by SRS Watch is authorized by High Flyer, who must be given credit on publication of the copyrighted photos. (See below for terms of their use.)

The photos reveal the status of the terminated plutonium fuel (MOX) project at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS), the canceled V.C. Summer nuclear reactor construction project of South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G, now owned by Dominion Energy) – of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors - and the far-behind-schedule and far-over-budget Vogtle nuclear reactor construction project by Georgia Power (and just across the river from SRS).

Photos on High Flyer’s Google drive of DOE’s abandoned Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication (MOX) building, at SRS , near Aiken, South Carolina:

Photos of Dominion/SCE&G’s terminated VC Summer reactor project, in Fairfield County, SC:

Photos of on-going reactor construction at Georgia Power’s Vogtle site near Waynesboro, Georgia:

“We are pleased to facilitate distribution of the photos of the three failed nuclear projects in South Carolina and Georgia as close observation of them will reveal the status of the sites and where so much money has been needlessly wasted,” said Tom Clements, Director of Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch). “It is stunning to realize that perhaps $40 billion has been spent so far on the three sites, with the cost at all of them going up daily, money that should have been spent on projects of positive benefit to the public,” added Clements. “The photos commemorate the three largest, failed nuclear construction projects in the United States and will be of use when the proper investigations into the failed projects are conducted,” added Clements.

The photos of the MOX site reveal a fence around the construction site and closure of Temporary Construction Openings (TCOs) in the building, as required by DOE’s termination instructions, removal of the large construction crane and few cars parked sat the site (likely indicating little or no craft work on termination is going on).

The VC Summer site appears much as it has for the past two years since the project was halted, with the costly steam generators still on the ground, many components in the laydown yards, the large crane (heavy lift derrick) still in place and the reactor building and turbine buildings exposed to the weather.

In the SRS photos, various other facilities can also be seen, including the shuttered F-Canyon, the still-operating H-Canyon reprocessing plant, the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), now undergoing start-up testing), large salt disposal units (SDUs) for by-products of high-level nuclear waste, the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) and tritium facilities (tritium processing and repackaging for nuclear weapons). In several of the photos, SRS facilities can be seen in the foreground with Plant Vogtle and its cooling towers, in Georgia, in the background.

DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) aims to convert the partially constructed MOX building into a Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP) to make unneeded plutonium pits for nuclear weapons, but NNSA has presented no evidence that the building can be converted to pit production, a project not authorized or funded by Congress. The Armed Services Committees are now in discussion about finalization of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which holds the fate of the PBP and NNSA’s efforts to expand pit production.

SRS Watch is calling on Congress to conduct investigations into fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement at the MOX boondoggle and joined with Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Tri-Valley CAREs in demanding of NNSA the required Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on pit production.

At the top of each section of photos in HF’s Google drive, a document entitled “Red Me First Copyright 2019 Notice” is posted. SRS Watch requests that anyone who uses the photos for any form of publication or use follow these terms:

Notice of Copyright! Please Please Respect

Aerial photos © 2019 Anyone wishing to use these photos for any purpose should get permission from the author ( In addition, photos must include proper acknowledgement to the author (e.g. Photo Courtesy of High Flyer © 2018) in a prominent position near the photo insertion. Thanks!
FYI: High Flyer is the “nom du plume” of a SC resident who wishes to remain anonymous to avoid the fallout that occasionally follows the subjects of his photos.

According to Clements, SRS Watch is proud to have led the fight for termination of the MOX project, with help from such groups as Friends of the Earth, Nuclear Watch South and the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA, of which SRS Watch is a member). SRS Watch continues to call for congressional and agency investigations into fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement by DOE and NNSA managers and contractors at the MOX project, including CB&I Areva MOX Services (Areva has changed its name to Orano). In fighting the failed V.C. Summer project, SRS Watch teamed up with Friends of the Earth and the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club to fight for clean energy and to protect ratepayer interests before the South Carolina Public Service Commission, beginning in 2008.

Thomas Clements
Savannah River Site Watch
+1 803-834-3084
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