Health Care

SC sues federal Energy Department over plutonium site

SC sues federal Energy Department over plutonium site”

In a complaint filed by Attorney General Alan Wilson he said quote " the Federal Government cannot renege on it's obligation... and leave SC as the permanent dumping ground for weapons grade plutonium".

The federal government can not "renege on its obligations" and "leave SC as the permanent dumping ground for weapons-grade plutonium", Attorney General Alan Wilson said in the complaint.

The Energy Department didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Congress mandated the U.S. Department of Energy would pay SC $1 million per day, beginning January 1, 2016, for every day the department failed to remove one metric ton of weapons-grade defense plutonium, the Attorney General's Office said in a news release Tuesday announcing the suit. SC has never filed a case this large against the federal government.

DOE has failed to process or remove the plutonium, or pay the state the $100 million owed for 2016 or 2017, according to the release. U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs told both sides to come up with a removal schedule for the materials on their own.

Built in the 1950s, the US -owned Savannah River Site processes and stores nuclear materials in support of national defense and USA nuclear nonproliferation efforts. The agreement would eliminate enough weapons-grade plutonium to create 17,000 nuclear weapons.

Lawmakers mandated that the DOE pay SC $1 million per day for every day the agency failed to remove one metric ton of weapons-grade defense plutonium from Savannah River Site.

The unfinished mixed-oxide fuel facility is billions over budget, a situation Energy Department officials blame on design and construction mistakes and escalating supply costs.

Since the United States lacks a designated long-term storage site for high-level radioactive waste, tons of unwanted plutonium has accumulated at the former nuclear weapons complex.

The Trump administration proposed in the fiscal year 2018 budget to scrap the project and pursue diluting the plutonium and disposing it underground, an alternative called for by the Obama administration.



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