Federal government announces it has removed one ton of plutonium from South Carolina

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) –  Aug. 7, 2019 – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy provided notice that it has removed not less than one metric ton of plutonium from South Carolina in accordance with the injunction obtained by the State from Federal District Judge Michelle Childs.

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, and the State of South Carolina sued the Department of Energy in 2016.

The District Court sided with the State and ordered that one metric ton of plutonium be removed by January 1, 2020. The Department of Energy appealed to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the District Court’s order.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, who brought the lawsuit against the federal government and the Department of Energy, said, “Today’s news that one ton of weapons-grade plutonium has been removed from the state is a victory for South Carolinians and the rule of law. The Department of Energy disregarded many of its obligations to the State, and this outcome confirms the State will not sit idly by while the Department does so. We will continue enforce the law and hold the federal government to its commitments to South Carolina and its citizens.”

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