A security lockdown is over at Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC, after a potential threat Monday.
For about three hours, no one was able to get through the gates of the SRS except for local law enforcement, including the Richmond county bomb squad.
“We had a vendor come up to one of our entry control areas,” said Savannah River Site spokesman Jim Guisti. “It was inspected. We got both electronic and canine positives for explosive residue, so we then implemented our emergency response procedures and that started the events from the day.”
From there, Guisti said it took them three hours to find out if what appeared to be a regular Coca-Cola truck was a real threat.
We brought in outside law enforcement to decide if there was actual explosive residue, or if there was actual device in the vehicle and, for our sake, it was a false alarm,” Guisti said.
Guisti said in the event of an incident, they make sure their neighbors know what to do.
“We publish a guide every year for the houses that are close to the facility it tells them what to do in case of an emergency,” Guisti said.
A statement from SRS said: “An off site law enforcement investigation has found no explosive residue or device on the truck that was inspected this afternoon at the Savannah River Site. An all clear was given and the site returned to normal activities at 5:52 p.m.’’
Law enforcement agencies from South Carolina and Georgia also helped Centerra, the site security contractor.
SRS is a 310-square-mile nuclear weapons complex mostly in Aiken and Barnwell counties near the Georgia border. It was a key part of the federal government’s effort to make nuclear weapons during the Cold War. The site still contains material that could end up used to make atomic weapons. The facility has its own police force.