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Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 4:57am

Energy Department Puts Park Near Augusta on Hold

Updated: 5 years ago.
A cooling tower at the Savannah River Site (photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)

The U.S. Department of Energy is halting plans for a proposed energy park near Augusta, at least for now.

The agency is scrapping an environmental assessment for the park, which would be located at the Savannah River Site, a federal entity that process nuclear materials. The proposal would feature land leases to private energy contractors, who would possibly develop nuclear reactors and other energy resources, as well as conduct research.

The environmental assessment is a major step in the consideration of the park. A spokesman with the energy department says his agency does not have enough information yet to move forward with the assessment.

Environmental groups are applauding the decision. They have say both the federal agency and the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, a community organization in nearby Aiken, South Carolina, that would lease the land, has not gathered adequate public input on the project.

A spokesman for the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization said Monday that the energy department had not informed him about the cancellation of the environmental assessment, but that he expected to hear more in a public meeting on the park on Tuesday.

That meeting begins at 1 p.m. at the North Augusta Municipal Center in North Augusta, South Carolina.

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