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Festival features photos of communities relocated for SRS

November 24, 2018

The poignant and historical story of relocating communities from the 300 square miles of what is known today as the Savannah River Site was recently re-told through photos at the Augusta Photography Festival.

The exhibit, along with others on a wide variety of topics, have been on display at the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library. The SRS photos will continue to be available for viewing through Nov. 30.

“We have hundreds of thousands of photos at the SRS Curation Facility,” said Derek Berry, associate curator. “Rebecca Rogers, director of the festival, encouraged us to pick a topic and participate in this annual event.”

Berry explained the relocation of residents to create the nuclear weapons production site quickly stood out as the best topic out of all the possible subject areas considered.

“Each photo provides a piece or part of a very special and unique story that touched so many lives,” said Berry. “The patriotism exhibited by so many of these people during a time of sacrifice for their country is inspiring.”

According to Andy Albenesius, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Manager, Cold War History Program, the site’s construction and operations were highly secretive from the time it was built in the early 1950s until the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, but now the stories of this important time in our nation’s history can be told.

During the Cold War, what was then known as the Savannah River Plant, produced plutonium and tritium for nuclear weapons, all part of an arms race with the Soviet Union. SRS no longer produces plutonium; the nuclear reactors used to create this material are no longer mechanically able to operate.

“Public outreach is a growing focus area of the Department of Energy’s Cold War History Program at SRS. As part of our public outreach, DOE’s Cold War History program is supporting the start-up of the SRS Museum in Aiken and connecting with other entities in the CSRA to share the site’s abundant Cold War stories. This photography exhibit is just one of many opportunities we are pursuing to that end, and we are thrilled that the Augusta Photography Festival and Augusta Library have invited us to share this part of the story,” according to promotional materials.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a Fluor-led company with Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell, is responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, including the Savannah River National Laboratory, located near Aiken.

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