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Deputy secretary of energy visits SRS, USC Aiken, Plant Vogtle this week

April 18, 2019

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette is on a two-state trip through the Southeast this week.

Brouillette on Wednesday visited the Savannah River Site and later met with USC Aiken representatives on campus, a U.S. Department of Energy spokesperson told the Aiken Standard. The information confirms details of a story that appeared in the Aiken Standard on Tuesday.

At SRS, Brouillette saw “first-hand the progress being made” on the proposed plutonium pit production mission, the spokesperson said.

A source previously told the Aiken Standard that Brouillette was scheduled to tour the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility – the DOE’s new name for the prospective future of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility.

The National Nuclear Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense last year recommended recapitalizing MOX for a plutonium pit production mission.

Plutonium pits are nuclear weapon cores; 80 per year are needed by 2030, according to the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

Brouillette made the trip to USCA to discuss education, careers and workforce development, the DOE spokesperson said. USCA Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan met Brouillette around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

A banner hanging at USCA on Tuesday and Wednesday thanked Brouillette and the DOE for work on the president’s fiscal year 2020 budget request.

On Thursday, Brouillette will head to Plant Vogtle in Georgia, the spokesperson said. Plant Vogtle is southeast of Augusta. It’s an hour from Aiken.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visited Plant Vogtle at the end of last month. Perry spoke to a crowd of workers, standing alongside Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other energy dignitaries.

Plant Vogtle, undergoing an expansion, is critical to “rebuilding a highly skilled U.S. nuclear workforce and revitalizing the U.S. nuclear industry,” the DOE spokesperson said.