AIKEN, S.C. – On Nov. 28, 1950 newspapers and radio stations announced that the then-Savannah River Plant, currently the Savannah River Site (SRS), would be constructed in Aiken and Barnwell Counties at the direction of President Harry S. Truman. The announcement brought forth tens-of-thousands of skilled workers from across the area and the nation; seven decades later, SRS has been honored by the S.C. legislative body with a Senate Resolution commemorating Nov. 28 as SRS Day in S.C.
Elected officials gathered with Site leaders on the steps of the Aiken Municipal Building on Nov. 16 to bestow the framed resolution to the SRS.
“The Savannah River Site and its 11,000 employees have an enormous, positive economic impact in our region,” says State Sen. Tom Young, who sponsored the resolution, which was co-sponsored by the Aiken legislative delegation along with other representatives from counties south of the Savannah River Site. “Because of the importance of the Site to our region and our state, it was important to recognize Nov. 28 in our state as ‘SRS Day,’ to honor all current and former SRS employees for their important contributions to our national defense over these past 70 years.”
Since the announcement in 1950, the key production reactors and support facilities needed to execute the Site’s mission were constructed in only five years with a peak workforce greater than 38,000. This monumental industrial and engineering feat is often compared to the construction of the Panama Canal.
Since then, SRS has played a vital role in delivering materials and technologies of national significance, including fuel for NASA’s deep space program, building and operating the nation’s first and world’s largest radioactive waste vitrification facility, and serving as the Nation’s primary source of tritium to support the nuclear stockpile, just to name a few.
“In its 70-year existence, the Savannah River Site has served as a major cornerstone of America’s national defense infrastructure,” said Jeff Allison, Acting Manager, National Nuclear Security Administration-Savannah River Field Office. “The efforts of our predecessors directly contribute to the achievements we have enjoyed for decades. The SRS of today is continuing the traditions of the past—dedicated, patriotic, safe, secure, hard work—to ensure a continued legacy of success for decades to come.”
“Our history aligns with key events in America’s history over the past 70 years. The Site was constructed in response to the Cold War to serve a vital role in America’s nuclear deterrent and nuclear nonproliferation and, along the way, we have developed countless innovative technologies that have strengthened national security, environmental stewardship and even propelled America into the stars,” said Mike Budney, DOE-SR Manager. “SRS is a one-of-a-kind asset and I have no doubt our future will be as impressive as our past.”
During 2020, SRS’ platinum anniversary has been celebrated throughout Aiken County, recognizing the contributions of the workforce and support from the community while also offering citizens an opportunity to learn about the Site’s significance in its 70-year history. For more information on the history and missions of the Savannah River Site, the public is encouraged to visit the SRS website at www.srs.gov and the SRS Museum in Aiken, SC.
U.S. Department of Energy
(803) 646-1066, firstname.lastname@example.org
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions
(803) 646-2983, email@example.com