South Carolina AG Says Feds Using State as Nuke Waste Dumping Ground

(CN) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson sued the federal government on Monday, claiming it is using the state as a dumping ground for nuclear waste despite promises to eventually take it somewhere else.

In a complaint filed the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Wilson claims the federal government owes the state $100 million for failing to craft a long-promised strategic plan for removing plutonium now being held at the Savannah River Site near the Georgia border.

Wilson says South Carolina accepted the surplus weapons-grade nuclear waste on the condition that its removal began by Jan. 1, 2016.

“Policy obligated the United State to remove the plutonium though processing and otherwise prevent South Carolina from becoming a permanent repository for nuclear waste,” the complaint states.

Wilson says Congress mandated that the U.S. Department of Energy would pay South Carolina $1 million per day, beginning Jan. 1, 2016, for every day the department failed to remove from the state one metric ton of weapons-grade defense plutonium.

The requirement is in place during the first 100 days of each year from 2016 through 2021.

In December, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Energy Department to remove 1 ton of defense plutonium from the state within two years.

The Energy Department has previously suggested a 2025 removal date.

The judge also ordered the federal government to provide the court with semi-annual progress reports.

The dispute over the nuclear waste goes back to 2002, when state officials began to question whether the Savannah River Site should store weapons-grade plutonium permanently.

The controversy heated up in August in 2017, when Wilson sued the Energy Department in federal court to compel it to take the plutonium away.

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