AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. — There have been reports of drones flying over the Savannah River Site.
Department of Energy officials say drones have been spotted over the complex several times during the last month.
Federal law prohibits drone pilots from flying above nuclear facilities, military sites and other restricted airspace.
SRS officials confirm a drone was also spotted over the nuclear reservation July 5th.
The compound is taking the sightings very seriously and is working with the federal, state and local authorities to find out who is responsible.
As drones are becoming more popular, federal lawmakers are having to come up with new rules for them.
Just this year, the Federal Aviation Administration created a new category for unmanned aircraft.
Clay Holley hasn’t piloted one, but he’s seen them flying around Jackson.
“Just a few around town that some neighbors have played with, but nothing high tech. It’s the low-cost ones and people just having fun, I think, getting an overhead view over their neighborhood,” Holley said.
Just down the road, drones have recently been spotted over the Savannah River Site, which is a big no-no for pilots.
“I’m not surprised, it seems to be a fad that has caught on and a lot of people are doing it. I believe they’ll probably get in trouble if they find out who did it, but I’m sure there’s no ill-intent, they’re just having a little fun and seeing what they can do,” Holley said.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with several SRS employees who did not want to speak on-camera, but they did say there have been at least six drone sightings.
Whenever a drone is spotted an announcement is made over the SRS PA system.
Because the facility has nuclear materials, employees say they’re concerned.
They say they’re being asked to call security if they see a drone.
Once reported, helicopters have been taking off trying to find the unmanned air vehicles.
With so much terrorism these days, people just want to know who’s flying them.
“That always has to be in the back of your mind, the people with the ill-intent. It surely could be something like that, but I really don’t think it is,” Holley said.
The FBI and SLED are investigating the reports.
Tom Clements, an activist and critic of SRS, says he has been interviewed about the drones sightings, but says he’s not involved.