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Photo-iss012e16633
International Space Station Imagery
Savannah River Site, South Carolina photographed by an Expedition 12 crew member on the ISS.  The southern half of the Site (building clusters with reflective white rooftops) is shown.
high res (2.0 M) low res (100 K)
ISS012-E-16633 (28 Jan. 2006) --- Savannah River Site, South Carolina is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 12 crew member on the International Space Station. Situated between the South Carolina piedmont and the Atlantic Ocean, the Savannah River Site is an important part of the US Department of Energy’s nuclear program. Construction of the site – originally called the Savannah River Plant – began in 1951 for the purpose of generating radioactive materials, primarily the hydrogen isotope tritium and plutonium-239, necessary for nuclear weapons production during the Cold War. A total of five nuclear reactors occupy the central portion of the site and operated throughout 1953-1992. Following the end of the Cold War in 1991 activities at the Savannah River Site are now focused on disposal of nuclear wastes, environmental cleanup of the site itself, and development of advanced remediation technologies. The Savannah River Site is located in the Sand Hills region of South Carolina and includes an area of 800 square kilometers (300 square miles). The southern half of the Site (building clusters with reflective white rooftops) is shown. The nearby Savannah River and its tributary creeks provided a ready source of water for the nuclear reactors; to this end, two artificial lakes (“L” Lake and Par Pond) were constructed. The meandering channel of the River and its floodplain, characterized by grey-brown sediments, extends from northwest to southeast across the left portion of the image. The proximity of the River, and the permeable nature of the geological materials under laying the site (sand, clay, gravel, and carbonate rocks), necessitate extensive and ongoing environmental monitoring and cleanup efforts to reduce potential contamination of local water sources. According to NASA scientists, final remediation of wastes posing threats to surface and groundwater is scheduled to occur by 2025.

Curator: JSC PAO Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 10/30/2012
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