COLUMBIA, SC (WCBD) – Nevada has filed a lawsuit to stop plutonium shipments from South Carolina.
A federal judge ordered the radioactive material to be moved from the Savannah River Site by January 2020.
Under the plan, the plutonium would be shipped to the nation’s former nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas. Nevada, though, has sued the federal government to stop the shipments.
According to the Associated Press, outgoing Gov. Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Adam Laxalt on Tuesday repeated a vow that the state will fight “at every level” the U.S. Department of Energy plans to store radioactive bomb-making material at the Nevada Nuclear Security Site.
They claim the highly toxic and cancer-causing material could pose a risk to public health and safety.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Reno, accuses the Energy Department of failing to properly study environmental threats posed by moving about 2,200 pounds (1 metric ton) of weapons-grade plutonium from the federal Savannah River nuclear weapons refining complex in South Carolina to Nevada by New Year’s Day 2020, the AP reported.
National Nuclear Security Administration and Energy Department spokesman Gregory Wolf said in a statement the plutonium has been designated for national security use and is not waste, and noted the government is responding to a deadline set by a federal judge in South Carolina.
Eventually, the government hopes to get the plutonium to New Mexico.
Members of Congress want to restart the Yucca Mountain project to accept and entomb radioactive material which is currently stored at power plants in 39 states.
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