The US Department of Energy disclosed on Wednesday that it has transported radioactive plutonium from that state of South Caroline to Nevada, without taking prior permission from the latter. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) General Counsel Bruce Diamond told a federal court that the agency sent about half a metric ton of the plutonium sometime before November 2018, before the city had filed the suit to stop the proposed shipments. He said that the transfer was done after a U.S. District Court in South Carolina ordered the material be removed from that state.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak was irked at the government’s act of concealing the truth and misleading about the shipment. He said, “The Department of Energy (DOE) led the State of Nevada to believe that they were engaging in good-faith negotiations with us regarding a potential shipment of weapons-grade plutonium, only to reveal that those negotiations were a sham all along.”
The NNSA, reverting to the deception allegations said that due to security reasons a prior public notice about the shipment wasn’t given and the highway route was also not revealed.
Democratic Representative Dina Titus pledged to fight against the decade long move now carried out by the Trump administration to dump the nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain of Nevada. Plutonium is a highly toxic and radioactive material, that was used in some of the earliest atomic bombs and is still used in the manufacturing of some nuclear weapons. The dumping was believed to continue due to DOE’s failure to complete construction on a South Carolina facility that was meant to convert excess plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors.
Like the Obama administration before it, the Trump administration also preferred to dilute and bury that plutonium, possibly in New Mexico, rather than building those nuclear reactors.
US Senator Jack Rosen, a Democrat, said the NNSA misled a federal court “in a deceitful and unethical move, jeopardizing the health and safety of thousands of Nevadans and Americans who live in close proximity to shipment routes.”