In accordance with a federal court injunction, at least 1 metric ton of plutonium has been removed from the Savannah River Site, the U.S. Department of Energy said. The state of South Carolina obtained the injunction from U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs, according to a news release from the office of S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson.
South Carolina sued the Department of Energy in 2016 when it failed to follow a congressional law that required that the plutonium be removed by Jan. 1, 2016, if the objective for the mixed oxide fuel facility’s production was not met by Jan. 1, 2014.
Wilson said the federal court sided with the state and ordered that 1 metric ton of plutonium be removed by Jan. 1, 2020. When the Department of Energy appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the court upheld the district court’s order.
“Today’s news that 1 ton of weapons-grade plutonium has been removed from the state is a victory for South Carolinians and the rule of law,” Wilson said. “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 to enforce the law and hold the federal government to its commitments to South Carolina and its citizens.”