Security Breach at the Savannah River Site Turns out to be a False Alarm

Photo of a gate at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken County, where an emergency was reported Monday, August 17, 2015. (Credit: Margaret-Ann Carter)
Photo of a gate at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken County, where an emergency was reported Monday, August 17, 2015. (Credit: Margaret-Ann Carter)

The Savannah River Site is running normal again after a scary situation happened Monday afternoon.

For hours the Department of Energy’s facility was on lockdown, not letting anyone in or out of the gates.

A spokesperson with the facility said K-9 units alerted to possible explosive residue on a delivery truck.

Officials called the incident a false alarm after law enforcement cleared the scene.

A spokesperson with the site says they employee thousands of people and they’re all trained for situations like this.

For hours trucks lined up outside of the Savannah River Site’s main gates. Inside law enforcement from South Carolina and Georgia worked to clear what the facility called “a potential security event”.

“We relocated workers and went through the process of verifying if there was any material on the truck or not, and it turned out to be there wasn’t,” Jim Guisti, Director of External Affairs said.

Jim Guisti is the Director of External Affairs for the site. He says the process is lengthy but they take extra precautionary action when any kind of threat is made.

“You have human life involved, and we want to protect our workers and you always have to side on the error of being cautious,” he explained.

A vendor delivery truck was thought to have some sort of explosive material on it after it was alerted on by k-9 and electronic units.

“A delivery truck like this has probably gone through that gate a hundred times in a month and never been alerted on this time it was,” Guisti said.

Guisti says in the 23 years of working at the site this is only the second time they’ve activated an emergency response.

“We very rarely have events but we train for it we’re prepared every year we do great exercises every month we have exercises to train our workers tell them what to do,” he said.

Guisti says on any given day there can be 5,000 workers inside, and that’s never a time to take a risk.

He says it was a big relief to find out it was a false alarm, but he’s glad to know that the staff is prepared if anything like this were to ever happen again.

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