Savannah River Site the newest historic chemical landmark


The American Chemical Society is designating the Savannah River Site as its newest national historic chemical landmark. 

The laboratory is being recognized for its research and production of Plutonium-238. 

“This is something we are proud of,” said Vahid Majidi. “This came as a consequence of being able to work with Plutonium-238, which was one of the product lines we had for many decades.” 

More than four decades later the ACS recognizes the SRS’ role in the production, separation, and supply of Plutonium-238.

It is a material that is used to power NASA’S spaceships. 

“The work that some folks spent their entire career working here on Plutonium-238 made missions happen people thought impossible,” explained Michael Budney. “For years they did that work and couldn’t tell anybody what they are doing. Now we get this recognition so they can say we did that.”

Majidi says Plutonium-238 acts like the nuclear batteries that have sent some satellites into outer space.

“When you have a space vehicle that travels far from the sun, and the amount of light is too little to energize those panels; Plutonium-238 is what generates the energy that you need for electricity and communication,” said Majidi.

The laboratory director tells NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson Plutonium-238 is only produce here in the river region. The only other place you can find the material is in Russia.

Majidi says the lab being awarded as a historic landmark comes from years of hard work.

“This is a combination of all that work,” explained Majidi. “We are standing on the shoulder of giants. All of this work was done in the past; we are taking the benefits of it.”

The designation of the Savannah River Site as the newest national historic chemical landmark is the first American Chemical Society landmark recognized in South Carolina.

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