Attorney General applauds Fourth Circuit ruling requiring plutonium removal from South Carolina

(COLUMBIA, S.C) – Oct. 26, 2018 – The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a ruling upholding Federal District Judge Michelle Childs’ order requiring the U.S. Department of Energy to remove one metric ton of plutonium from South Carolina by January 1, 2020.

Congress passed a law requiring that the plutonium be removed from the Savannah River Site by January 1, 2016 if the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Facility’s production objective was not met by January 1, 2014. That objective was not met, so the State of South Carolina sued the Department of Energy in 2016.

Judge Childs sided with the State and ordered that one metric ton of plutonium be removed by January 1, 2020. The DOE appealed to the Fourth Circuit, which upheld Judge Childs’ order, writing that her order was “carefully crafted.”

Attorney General Alan Wilson, who brought the lawsuit against the federal government and the DOE, said, “This is a victory for the rule of law. It doesn’t get much clearer than this. Congress passed a law requiring that the plutonium be removed and the Department of Energy has not followed that law.”

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