DOE says the Germans will pay for research and disposal.

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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The U.S. Department of Energy answered questions Thursday about highly enriched uranium currently in Germany being disposed of at the Savannah River Site.

"They don't have the capability and expertise we have here at the Savannah River Site," said Gary DeLeon, Director of Nuclear Materials Disposition for DOE.

During testimony with the Governor's Nuclear Advisory Council, he said the high level nuclear waste is in the very middle of a pool ball sized piece of graphite.

Germany wants to send a million of them to SRS.

"They've expressed to us that their urgency, that they would like to de-inventory that fuel by June of 2016 because they have a storage license that is expiring," DeLeon said. "They're looking at available options including the possibility of sending that to the US."

An agreement is a long way off and still there's concern about funding and bringing more waste to SRS.

"Here we are talking about bringing in more stuff," said Sen. Tom Young (R-Aiken) who attended the council meeting.

DOE officials said SRS has accepted waste for decades and admit some is still unprocessed today.

"I am very concerned about bringing it here and having it languish because we didn't get around to it or the money is gone," said Karen Patterson who chairs the advisory council.

DOE says the Germans will pay for research and disposal.

Right now, scientists have three working ideas on how to dispose of the waste in a high volume setting.

"About a year from now we hope to have better information," DeLeon said. "Wether that information is something that is sufficient for us to make a decision or not is to be determined."

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