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Removal of one metric ton of plutonium from Savannah River Site South Carolina

One metric ton of plutonium removed from massive nuclear facility in SC,  https://www.wspa.com/news/one-metric-ton-of-plutonium-removed-from-massive-nuclear-facility-in-sc/     by: Georgiaree Godfrey
Posted: Aug 8, 2019 / 09:06 PM EDT Updated: Aug 9, 2019 / 0JACKSON, SC (WSPA)- The South Carolina Attorney General announced earlier this week the successful completion of the removal of a portion of the plutonium being stored at the Savannah River Site in Aiken.

The Savannah River Site has been in the state since the late 1950’s and was originally home to a nuclear bomb making facility, but over the years the site has taken on the role of several different operations, including the storage of plutonium.

Savannah River Site is now home to a nuclear laboratory and facility to reuse the nuclear material left behind from the Cold War. Over the years the storage of that plutonium has become a concern.

“A lot of pollution left over from that so the main mission of the Savannah River Site for a long time has been the cleaning up of the contamination that exists,” explained Tonya Bonitatibus, the Executive Director of Savannah Riverkeeper. Savannah Riverkeeper monitors the quality of the Savannah River, which is used for drinking water for more than 1 million residents.

The United States Department of Energy notified the state’s attorney general of the removal of one metric ton of plutonium from the Savannah River Site.

In 2016, Congress passed a law to remove the plutonium if production goals to reuse the material were not met.

The plutonium removed so far is the first step in a wider cleanup after the state won a lawsuit against the DOE.

Bonitatibus continued, “The Savannah River Site has been the dumping ground for nuclear waste. It just has because nobody wants it. So it ends up being stored here leaking into the coastal plain and groundwater.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration says, “The material removed from the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina, will be used for national security missions and is not waste.”

NNSA also released a removal plan that designated Texas and New Mexico as the destinations for the removed plutonium.

The ruling outlined that one metric ton of the plutonium would be removed each year. The process could take another 5 to 7 years to remove the plutonium being stored.

The removal was supposed to be completed by January 1, 2020. The process is 6 months ahead of schedule, according to NNSA.

Savannah River Site is located on land in Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties.

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August 10, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium | Leave a comment

Settlement Talks Collapse in $200-Million Lawsuit over Savannah River Plutonium

BY DAN LEONE,  3 May 19, After settlement talks collapsed, a federal judge this week cleared the way for a long-awaited decision in a $200-million lawsuit between South Carolina and the Department of Energy over the federal government’s failure to remove plutonium from the state. The… (subscribers only)  https://www.exchangemonitor.com/settlement-talks-collapse-200-million-lawsuit-savannah-river-plutonium-2/

July 4, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Strong opinions at forum about producing nuclear weapon cores at the Savannah River Site

Opinions on nuclear project at SC plant clash at public forum, Post and Courier, By Colin Demarest cdemarest@aikenstandard.com, Jun 28, 2019  NORTH AUGUSTA — Vocal support for producing nuclear weapon cores at the Savannah River Site sharply contrasted with questions, criticism and pushback Thursday night at a government-led public forum.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration wants to produce 50 of the weapon components each year at the sprawling complex near Aiken. The cores, known as plutonium pits, use one of the world’s most dangerous substances to trigger a series of explosions that unleash the deadly potential of nuclear weapons.

Supporters tout the economic benefits of the project, which would create about 1,000 jobs and provide a new anchor for SRS after the government abandoned its long-delayed efforts to finish a facility designed to turn weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants.

Critics, however, remain skeptical of the proposed mission and worry about the potential risks to the environment and workers’ health.

A slew of officials, including Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker and Jim Marra of Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness, voiced support for the effort, offering their takes on why SRS is the correct fit for the looming weapons-oriented mission.

Encouragement also came from several chambers of commerce, University of South Carolina Aiken, and state and federal lawmakers.

……… Nuclear watchers and other groups, however, took aim at the effort’s multibillion-dollar projected cost, as well as potential dangers from exposing the environment and workers to plutonium.

What is the environmental impact of a nuclear weapon?” Glenn Carroll, with Nuclear Watch South, said Thursday. “The absolute and wholesale destruction of the environment. Every human, every animal. Every plant.”

The anticipated costs of pit production have raised eyebrows in Washington, D.C. A congressional budget report published this year estimated pit production would cost $9 billion over the next decade.

Among other things, SRS Watch Director Tom Clements said the pit production process was off to a “rocky start.”

The project is not funded by Congress, it’s not authorized by Congress,” he said.

Clements, alongside Tri-Valley CAREs and Nuclear Watch New Mexico, hosted a pit production forum earlier this month at the Aiken Municipal Building. He and others urged opponents to push back against the plan.

The public “can be effective against bad Department of Energy ideas, like the pit production one,” Clements said at the time.

One Aiken resident on Thursday described the pit production effort at SRS as hurried, and a woman representing The Human Family organization expressed concerns about earthquakes and becoming a target of terrorism.

………. The NNSA terminated the MOX project — which was over-budget and congressionally controversial — on Oct. 10, 2018. The government had shoveled almost $8 billion into the effort by that point, but it remained years and billions of dollars away from completion. 

Clements on Thursday told the audience the Energy Department and others are attempting to “sweep the MOX debacle under the rug.”

The NNSA hosted the meeting to collect public comments on pit production and a related environmental assessment. https://www.postandcourier.com/news/opinions-on-nuclear-project-at-sc-plant-clash-at-public/article_3abec846-99aa-11e9-bf78-e395a709cf68.html

June 29, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New research into plutonium workers’ internal radiation exposure.

May 23, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, employment, Reference, UK | 1 Comment

USA preparing Hanford vitrification plant to deal with 56 million gallons of radioactive waste

May 14, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Long delay before Savannah River Plutonium Disposal can start

May 9, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Dept of Energy pledges to remove plutonium from Nevada

Energy Department says it will remove plutonium from Nevada, abc,By SCOTT SONNER, ASSOCIATED PRESS,  Apr 30, 2019,U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is pledging to expedite the removal of weapons-grade plutonium secretly hauled to Nevada last year as the state and Trump administration remain locked in a court battle about whether the shipment was legal.

The Energy Department intends to start removing the highly radioactive material in 2021 and finish by the end of 2026, Perry said in an April 24 letter to U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat.

He also assured her in the letter released Tuesday that his department won’t ship any more plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada Nuclear Security Site north of Las Vegas.

Nevada still is seeking a formal court order preventing any shipments because it says the agency’s track record shows it cannot be trusted. It also has a related case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A federal judge in South Carolina has ordered the U.S. government to remove a metric ton (2,204 pounds) of plutonium from the Savannah River site by Jan. 1, 2020, and haul out an additional 5 metric tons (11,020 pounds) in future years.

Nevada sued in November, accusing the Energy Department of failing to do the necessary environmental reviews before adopting a plan last August to ship the plutonium to the state.

The department disclosed in January that it already had shipped half a metric ton (1,102 pounds) of the material before Nevada sued but kept it secret for national security reasons…….

The Energy Department has said it plans to forward the plutonium to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico by the “2026-2027 timeframe.” https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/energy-department-remove-plutonium-nevada-62738713

May 2, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s plutonium surplus, its history, and its danger

Ed. Note: Many in Japan are now seeing this info for the first time since their PRESS has be limited by Abe’s Gov’t which is “in bed” with the Nuclear Industry.   

Japan’s Plutonium Overhang, Wilson Center, Nuclear Proliferation International History Project Jun 7, 2017 By William Burr   Plutonium, a key element of nuclear weapons, has been an issue in U.S.-Japan relations for decades. During the administration of Jimmy Carter, the Japanese government pressed Washington for permission to process spent reactor fuel of U.S. origin so that the resulting plutonium could be used for experiments with fast breeder nuclear reactors. The government of Japan wanted to develop a “plutonium economy,” but U.S. government officials worried about the consequences of building plants to reprocess reactor fuel. According to a memo by National Security Council staffer Gerald Oplinger, published for the first time by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, the “projected plants would more than swamp the projected plutonium needs of all the breeder R&D programs in the world.” That “will produce a vast surplus of pure, weapons grade plutonium … which would constitute a danger in itself.” Indeed, as a result of reprocessing activities since then, Japan possesses 48 tons of plutonium and could be producing more, with no clearly defined use, when a new reprocessing facility goes on line in 2018………

    • The risk of nuclear of proliferation was a significant element in Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, which raised questions about the hazards of nuclear energy and attacked the Ford administration for ignoring the “deadly threat posed by plutonium in the hands of terrorists.” Not long after his inauguration, Carter signed

Presidential Directive 8,-which declared that “U.S. non-proliferation policy shall be directed at preventing the development and use of sensitive nuclear power technologies which involve direct access to plutonium, highly enriched uranium, or other weapons useable material in non-nuclear weapons states, and at minimizing the global accumulation of these materials.”

Consistent with this, Carter called for an indefinite deferral of commercial reprocessing and the recycle of plutonium in the U.S. and restructuring U.S. breeder reactor programs to develop “alternative designs to the plutonium breeder.” He also directed U.S. nuclear R&D spending to focus on the “development of alternative nuclear fuel cycles which do not involve access to weapons useable materials.” …….
Since the 1988 agreement Japan’s nuclear plans have gone awry. The Fukushima disaster raised questions about nuclear energy as a power source while the Monju fast breeder reactor turned out to be a tremendously expensive boondoggle, which the Japanese government decided to decommission in late 2016 (during more than 20 years it operated only 250 days). The government remains interested in developing plutonium-fueled fast reactors but that is a remote prospect. Plans to use plutonium in a mixed oxide (MOX) reactor fuel have come to naught. At present, therefore, Japan has no clearly defined use for the 48 tons of separated plutonium that it owns, some 11 tons of which are on Japanese territory.
The surpluses, which emerged as anticipated, continue to worry arms control experts, including some, such as Robert Gallucci, who were involved in the 1980 debate. Terrorists would need only a few kilograms of plutonium for a weapon with mass destruction potential.   In the meantime, the Rokkasho reprocessing facility is scheduled to go on-line in 2018. The industrial scale facility is slated to separate 8 tons of plutonium maximum annually, although Japan has no specific plans for using most of it. 2018 is the same year that the 1988 U.S.-Japan agreement is slated to expire, although whether the Trump administration has any interest in renegotiating it remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the South Korean government, which cannot reprocess, under existing agreements with Washington, asks why it cannot do what Japan has been doing.

When NSC staffer Gerald Oplinger wrote that the plutonium surplus would constitute a “danger in itself,” he probably assumed an environmental hazard and possibly a proliferation risk and vulnerability to terrorism. He did not mention the latter risks, although the reference to surpluses of “weapons grade” material evoked such concerns. While Japanese reprocessing plants would be producing reactor-grade plutonium, it nevertheless has significant weapons potential.  On the question of Japan’s nuclear intentions, the documents from this period that have been seen by the editor are silent; it is not clear whether U.S. officials wondered whether elements of the government of Japan had a weapons option in the back of their mind. Any such U.S. speculation, however, would have had to take into account strong Japanese anti-nuclear sentiment, rooted in terrible historical experience, Japan’s membership in good standing in the nonproliferation community, and that since the days of Prime Minister Sato, the “three Nos” has been official national policy: no possession, no manufacture, and no allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese territory.  According to a 1974 national intelligence estimate, Japan was keeping “open” the possibility of a nuclear weapons capability and had the resources to produce weapons in a few years, but the intelligence agencies were divided over the likelihood of such a development. The CIA, State Department intelligence, and Army intelligence saw such a course of action as highly unlikely without a collapse of U.S. security guarantee and the emergence of a significant threat to Japan’s security.

Sources for this posting include State Department FOIA releases as well as recently declassified records at the National Archives, including the records of Gerard C. Smith and Secretary of State Edmund Muskie. Many documents on Japan from the Smith files are awaiting declassification review.

Documents in this release:…..https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/japans-plutonium-overhang

April 18, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment

The very dangerous history of making plutonium weapons triggers – “pits” at Rocky Flats

Dangerous history of pit production  https://www.aikenstandard.com/opinion/guest-column-dangerous-history-of-pit-production/article_a22aa6b8-4ab2-11e9-83dc-7b695e05d8a7.html Dr. Rose O. Hayes

Recent comments on the proposed pit production at Savannah River Site warrant a cautionary comment. All is not wonderful news where pit production is concerned. It has a very dirty past. Awareness of that past is paramount to the protection of CSRA public health and safety.

The primary U.S. plant to smelt plutonium, purify it and shape it into “triggers” (pits) for nuclear bombs was Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Site. From 1952 to 1989, Rocky Flats manufactured more than 70,000 pits at a cost of nearly $4 million apiece. Each one contained enough breathable plutonium particles to kill every person on earth. Virtually all of the waste produced there remains on-site. As we have learned through the SRS waste storage struggles, there is no place for it to go and no government plan to develop a repository. What’s made at a nuclear processing plant, stays at the nuclear processing plant.

Much went wrong at Rocky Flats due to mismanagement, criminal government indifference and public complacency. It took more than 30 years for the public to become so concerned with the pollution hazards issuing from the plant before the Department of Energy (DOE) was forced to hold a public meeting in 1988 to address the problems. One example: The plant produced one boxcar a week packed with 140 drums of radioactive waste. They were parked on site. Moisture penetration of a drum could have triggered an explosion. Ground water, soil and air pollution were also major hazards. A subsequent DOE study indicated that Rocky Flats was the most dangerous site in the country.

On June 6, 1989 more than 70 FBI and EPA agents raided the plant to begin an official investigation of the contractor and DOE for environmental crimes. The plant manager acknowledged that problems were solved “when DOE wanted to pay for them.” The final FBI/EPA allegations included concealment of environmental contamination, false certification of federal environmental reports, improper storage and disposal of hazardous and radioactive waste, and illegal discharge of pollutants into creeks flowing to drinking water supplies. Another independent study found there was enough lost plutonium in the plant exhaust ducts to create the possibility of an accidental nuclear reaction. According to a later DOE report, about 62 pounds of plutonium was lost in the plant air ducts; enough for seven nuclear bombs.

A grand jury was convened to hear the case on Aug. 1, 1989. The contractor argued in court that it could not fulfill its DOE contract without also violating environmental laws. In order to remediate the damage, on Sept. 28, 1989, EPA added Rocky Flats to its Superfund cleanup list. The grand jury worked until May 1991, then voted to indict the plant contractor, five employees and three individuals working for DOE.

The Department of Justice refused to sign the indictments despite more than 400 environmental violations that occurred during the decades of pit production at the plant. All charges were dropped. A settlement guaranteed the contractor and all indicted individuals immunity. Although the contractor pleaded guilty to criminal violations of the federal hazardous waste law and the Clean Water Act, the fine was only $18.5 million, less than the corporation had collected in bonuses for meeting production quotas that year. The contractor’s annual fee to run the site was estimated at $10 million, with an additional $8.7 million paid from DOE for management and safety excellence.

The contractor was also allowed to sue for reimbursement of $7.9 million from taxpayers for fees and costs related to its case. In addition, the contractor’s plea agreement indemnified it from further claims and all future prosecution, criminal or civil. The trial records are permanently sealed. Further, the contractor argued that everything it did at Rocky Flats was at the behest of DOE and maintained the right to receive future government contracts.

Grand jury members asked to write their own report but the judge refused to read it or release it to the public. Not surprisingly, the report was leaked to the press and printed in a Denver newspaper and Harper’s magazine. In January 1993, a Congressional committee finally issued a report revealing evidence of high-level intervention by Justice Department officials for the purpose of reducing the contractor’s fines.

DOE has estimated that it will take until 2065 to clean up Rocky Flats, at a cost to American taxpayers of more than $40 billion. One DOE official testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that some weapons plants, like Rocky Flats, may never be cleaned up because we lack the technology to do so at a reasonable cost. Another investigator, testifying before the U.S. Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee, stated he did not believe it possible to reverse the harm done at Rocky Flats.

Could this history repeat itself at SRS? Without a comprehensive cradle to grave plan with built-in irrevocable government funding and independent oversight, including citizen stakeholder input, SRS could become the next Rocky Flats. How likely is the government to attach such planning and funding to an SRS pit processing campaign? Past experience at SRS includes years of having to do best guess planning under continuing resolution funding and government failures to pass a budget, decades of “temporarily” storing deadly radioactive waste due to the government’s failure to meet off-site disposition commitments, budget reductions, program cancellations (most recently, the MOX project), and more.

Plutonium pit production waste is not just radioactive. It is nuclear waste on steroids. If produced here, it will likely remain in our backyard, along with all the decades old waste at SRS. There is no place for it to go. Looming large as examples of the dangers and difficulties SRS will face in having pit production waste moved off-site are the explosion and prolonged closure at the New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (the government’s only operating repository) and the abandonment of the Yucca Mountain project.

Is it the CSRA’s responsibility to take on this mission? Pit production, while bringing jobs to the Aiken/Augusts area, will add to the decades old SRS hazards waiting for DOE remediation. SRS is already part of the DOE nuclear complex cleanup program. That mission, 30 some years old, drags on under the burden of DOE mismanagement and variable federal funding. Estimates are it will take another 70 years to clean up the DOE nuclear complex and cost about $500 billion more. Celebration of plans to add U.S. pit production to SRS is a rush to judgement. Only the usual corporations, living large off gigantic federal awards, stand to benefit.

Dr. Rose O. Hayes is a medical anthropologist who spent her career in public health. She holds a B.S., M.S., M.A., and Ph.D. from SUNY and completed post-doctoral work in skeletal biology at The George Washington University. From 2009 to 2015, she served on the U.S. Department of Energy Site-Specific Advisory Board for the Savannah River plant, chairing its Nuclear Materials Committee. 

April 1, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, history, legal, Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

The need to put a stop to plan for plutonium weapon pits at Savannah River Site

No plutonium pit at SRS,   https://www.augustachronicle.com/opinion/20190220/letter-no-plutonium-pit-at-srs By Cassandra Fralix, Lexington, S.C. With the demise of the MOX fuel plant, good riddance, since there wasn’t a buyer for this dangerous material. There is only one option for the more radioactive plutonium waste, and that is long-term storage.

Long-term for Pu-239 is a half-life of 24,100 years. No one can predict what the state of the country will be in five years, much less 24,000, so who will monitor this dangerous material?

The horrible legacy of plutonium waste is one we are living with because of the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Now, we have the Department of Energy’s plan to use Savannah River Site’s plutonium for nuclear weapons purposes. Plutonium, being radioactive and “pyrophoric,” is very difficult to handle, as the workers at SRS can testify to, and Savannah River Site, a Superfund site, continues a never-ending cleanup.

To return Savannah River Site to a weapons manufacturer is a testament to man’s lack of concern for God’s creation – human and environmental. We have seen the warnings from the increase of cancer rates at Rocky Flats, Colo., a plutonium pit producer – available in the Final Summary Report on the Historical Public Exposures Studies on Rocky Flats – to Fukushima, Japan, where the focus now is on the plutonium plant, so much more toxic than that of most other elements used in nuclear processing.

We must put people over profits and stop this maniacal race to our destruction. Say no to plutonium pit production at SRS!

February 23, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deception and mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, over secret plutonium shipment


The Indy Explains: How a secret plutonium shipment exacerbated mistrust between Nevada and Department of Energy, The Nevada Independent By Daniel Rothberg 18 Feb 19,  The secretive Nevada plutonium shipment that has spawned angry rhetoric from Nevada politicians has a history that starts with Russia. In 2000, the United States entered into a pact with Russia to set aside excess weapons-grade plutonium for civilian use in nuclear reactors. Congress then passed a law that it would turn the excess 34 metric tons of plutonium into MOX, or mix-oxide fuel, at a newly built facility in South Carolina.

But that statute came with a firm deadline: If the MOX facility was not operational by 2014, the Department of Energy would be required to move one metric ton of plutonium stored at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, a nuclear facility built in the 1950s, within two years.

After years of cost overruns and technical challenges, the Trump administration scrapped the facility. Meanwhile, the state of South Carolina obtained a court order in 2017 requiring the Department of Energy enforce the deadline and move the metric ton of plutonium by 2020.

Less than one year later, the agency said it moved a half-ton of that plutonium to the Nevada National Security Site. The action came after months of questioning from state officials, and its furtive nature has spurred a lawsuit, driving a deep chasm between the state and the agency.

Four months after South Carolina obtained the court order, Nevada officials heard that the federal government might be sending some of the plutonium to the state, according to court records. From August to November, state officials began asking questions about the potential shipment. But Nevada officials received few assurances from Department of Energy officials.

Beyond a general ‘expectation’ that any plutonium would be removed by approximately 2026-27, [a November 20] letter did not contain any of the requested assurances,” Pam Robinson, the policy director for then-Gov. Brian Sandoval, wrote in a December affidavit.

What Nevada officials didn’t know: the United States had already moved the plutonium.

Who knew what when

That surprising disclosure came months later — on January 30 — when a general counsel for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) disclosed that the agency had made a half-ton plutonium shipment from South Carolina to the Nevada Test Site prior to November.

Gov. Steve Sisolak responded to the revelation with a heated statement, pledging to continue existing litigation and keep the Department of Energy accountable.I am beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception from the U.S. Department of Energy,” he said to the media. “The department 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.”

Members of the state’s congressional delegation also released fiery responses.

State officials worry that the plutonium shipment to the testing facility, which is about 65 miles outside of Las Vegas and occupies an area the size of Rhode Island, could set a precedent for the federal government to send more nuclear materials to the state.

In court filings, lawyers for Attorney General Aaron Fordalso argued the federal government failed to fully inventory the environmental impacts of the size and type of plutonium being sent to the highly guarded site.

They also view the action as a backdoor move to open Yucca Mountain, the controversial nuclear waste repository that sits in the remote desert about 100 miles outside of Las Vegas.

The NNSA disputes all of these claims. ………

“Plutonium is nasty stuff,” said Allison Macfarlane, a George Washington University science and technology professor who chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 2012 to 2014. “But we’ve made so much of it on the weapons side in this country — and the civilian side in other countries — that we really need to manage it very carefully unless we eliminate it.”

With South Carolina’s MOX facility mothballed, the options are more limited…….. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/indy-explains-how-a-secret-plutonium-shipment-created-mistrust-betw

February 19, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Secret shipent of plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada

US secretly shipped plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada,   https://www.apnews.com/bcd700b7826d41bc82af5ab316d155ca  January 31, 2019

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy revealed on Wednesday that it secretly shipped weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to a nuclear security site in Nevada months ago despite the state’s protests.

The Justice Department notified a federal judge in Reno that the government trucked in the radioactive material to store at the site 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Las Vegas before Nevada first asked a court to block the move in November.

Department lawyers said in a nine-page filing that the previously classified information about the shipment from South Carolina can be disclosed now because enough time has passed to protect national security. They didn’t specify when the one-half metric ton of plutonium was transferred.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he’s “beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception.” He announced at a hastily called news conference in Carson City late Wednesday the state is now seeking another court order to block any more shipments of plutonium as it pursues “any and all legal remedies,” including contempt of court orders against the federal government.

The newly elected Democrat said he’s exploring options for the plutonium that already has arrived and is working with Nevada’s congressional delegation to fight back against the U.S. government’s “reckless disregard” for the safety of Nevadans.

Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen called the government’s move “deceitful and unethical.” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, also a Nevada Democrat, said she would demand department officials come to her office on Thursday to explain how they made the “reckless decision” in such “bad faith.”

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus said the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to use Nevada as a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Trump revived a decades-old proposal to store the nation’s nuclear waste at another site outside Las Vegas, Yucca Mountain, after the project was essentially halted under the Obama administration.

Justice Department lawyers said in new court filings Wednesday that no more shipments of weapons-grade plutonium are planned from South Carolina to Nevada. They said they believe Nevada’s lawsuit aimed at blocking the shipments is now moot.

But lawyers for Nevada said late Wednesday that their bid for an emergency injunction is more critical than ever after the Energy Department misled them about the shipments. They say the government has created the “palpable suspicion” that more shipments are coming to Nevada.

Sisolak described the months-long negotiations with Energy Department officials over the plutonium leading up to the new disclosure as a “total sham.”

“They lied to the state of Nevada, misled a federal court, and jeopardized the safety of Nevada’s families and environment,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno already is considering the state’s earlier request to block the Energy Department’s plans — announced in August — to ship a full metric ton of plutonium to Nevada from South Carolina, where a federal judge previously ordered that the plutonium be removed from a Savannah River site by 2020.

Nevada argues the department has failed to adequately study the potential dangers of moving the material that still has the potential to be used to help develop nuclear weapons to an area that is subject to flash floods and earthquakes, and that the state’s lands and groundwater may already be contaminated with radioactive materials.

In January, Du declined to immediately block the plutonium and indicated she wouldn’t rule until February. “I hope the government doesn’t ship plutonium pending a ruling by this court,” she said at the time.

Nevada and the Justice Department filed their latest briefs Wednesday at the request of the judge, who questioned whether the case should go forward. Justice Department lawyers said any additional plutonium removed from South Carolina would not go to Nevada.

Meanwhile, the states of Nevada and South Carolina are continuing to argue over where any legal challenge should be heard. Each said in briefs filed in Reno last week that theirs is the proper venue.

Nevada’s experts testified that the material likely would have to pass directly through Las Vegas on the way to the Nevada National Security Site. They fear an accident could permanently harm an area that is home to 2.2 million residents and hosts more than 40 million tourists a year.

The Energy Department’s plan approved last August called for the full ton of material to be stored at the Nevada nuclear security site and the government’s Pantex Plant in Texas, two facilities that already handle and process plutonium. The department says it would be sent by 2027 to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico or another unnamed facility.

____

Associated Press writer Ryan Tarinelli contributed to this report from Carson City.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA Dept of Energy again confirms its plans to use SRS plutonium for nuclear weapons

DOE reaffirms plans to use SRS plutonium for pit production in New Mexico https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/doe-reaffirms-plans-to-use-srs-plutonium-for-pit-production/article_59e7b02a-1291-11e9-bd1e-936df797de19.html, By Colin Demarest cdemarest@aikenstandard.com, Jan 7, 2019 

      The U.S. Department of Energy has again confirmed its plans to use plutonium currently stored at the

Savannah River Site

       for nuclear weapons purposes.

In a document filed Jan. 4 in Nevada district court, the DOE explained 1 metric ton of plutonium — in pit form at SRS — will eventually be sent to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico where it will be remanufactured into “new pits.”

Doing so will further the National Nuclear Security Administration‘s longterm stockpile work, according to the same court document. Plutonium pits are nuclear weapon cores, often referred to as triggers.

NNSA Chief of Staff William “Ike” White in a Nov. 20 letter, which was made public via other court filings, described the weapons-grade plutonium stored at SRS as “mission-essential” and integral to nation’s defense enterprise.

“This material will ultimately be used for vital national security missions and is not waste,” White wrote, later adding: “We will keep you updated on our progress as the pit production mission moves forward.” White’s letter was sent to Nevada government officials. Before the plutonium is relocated to Los Alamos, the nation’s plutonium science and production center of excellence, it will be staged at either the Nevada National Security Site or the Pantex Plant in Texas, according to the NNSA.

The shipments between Nevada and New Mexico would take place over “a period of years,” according to the Jan. 4 filing.

The DOE is removing 1 metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from SRS — South Carolina, more broadly — to comply with a Dec. 20, 2017, court order. The plutonium must be out of the state no later than 2020, according to the order, which was issued by U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs.

The prospective weapons use of the SRS plutonium was first fully documented in an NNSA environmental assessment issued last year.

January 10, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bill Gates’ dangerous love affair with plutonium

Bill Gates’ nuclear ambitions go beyond mere ideas. He actually possesses financial holdings in one very dangerous situation indeed – a situation that is presently causing residents around St. Louis, Missouri to live under an all-out nuclear nightmare

Bill Gates’ Plutonium Pipe Dream: Convert Mountains of Depleted Uranium at Paducah to Power Earth for Centuries (Pt. 2)  EnviroNews DC News Bureau on March 14, 2016

“………Cunnings: The man considered by many to be supposedly a humanitarian trailblazer when it comes to combatting disease, has a plan to fast-breed the mountainous heaps of depleted uranium at Paducah into plutonium – one of the most dangerous and disease-causing substance on the face of the planet. Then in turn, this plutonium would be used to power what would be the so-called new fourth-generation nuclear power plants. Let’s listen to Gates articulate his plutonium scheme.

Voice of Bill Gates – Excerpt #2: The concept of this so-called “TerraPower reactor” is that you, in the same reactor, you both burn and breed. So, instead of making plutonium and then extracting it, we take uranium – the 99.3 percent that you normally don’t do anything with – we convert that, and we burn it.

[Editor’s Note: Bill Gates is the current Chairman of the Board of TerraPower — a Washington-based nuclear power technology company.]

Cunnings:Now get this, only 60 seconds after Gates acknowledges the tremendous problem of bringing more plutonium into this world, he turns around and makes a joke about it to a crowd filled with university students from nuclear programs – all this, only a few months after the catastrophic triple melt-through at Fukushima Daiichi.

Bill Gates – Excerpt #3: Our flame is taking the normal depleted uranium – the 99.3 percent that’s cheap as heck, and there’s a pile of it sitting in Paducah, Kentucky that’s enough to power the United States for hundreds and hundreds of years. You’re taking that and you are converting it to plutonium (humorously under his breath) – and then you’re burning that.

Cunnings: Oh yes, Mr. Gates seems to have a little love affair going on with plutonium – and the notion is that we need nuclear power to save ourselves from climate change. ……

Bill Gates Excerpt #8: I love nuclear. It does this radiation thing that’s tricky (laughter). But they’re good solutions. You know, it was interesting; recently, in Connecticut this natural gas plant blew up 11 guys. It just blew them up.

Bill Gates Excerpt #8: Murray: But you are personally investing in nuclear?

Gates: Right.

Cunnings: EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry chatted with the esteemed nuclear industry expert and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen to explore whether Gates’ plan is a good idea or not.

Emerson Urry: Let’s go back to Bill Gates again, [and] the fourth generation nuclear power. I’ve heard him out there speaking about this, and essentially his ambition to, let’s say, convert Paducah, Kentucky [to plutonium]..

……….. the Paducah site is a very expensive cleanup that is going to take 20 or 30 years to decontaminate. You know, it’s like all of these bomb legacy sites – Hanford in Washington State…

Gundersen:   Hanford is going to take 70 years and cost 110 billion dollars to clean up. So, here we are paying over half of a century for the legacy of building bombs for five years in 1940. And so, Paducah is another one of those sites. It was built to enrich uranium. Why did we do that? Because we had a bomb program. And now we’re stuck with these huge costs that are underfunded or unfunded by Congress. That plant is going to sit there for 30 years. It will create a lot of employment for a lot of people knocking it down, but it also is highly radioactive, and it’s got to be done so cautiously, and it’s a really difficult problem.

Cunnings: There’s no known disintegration of plutonium small enough that doesn’t possess the ability to cause cancer. To be clear, there is no safe amount to be exposed to whatsoever.

Plutonium, though a naturally occurring element was virtually non-existent on planet earth before the dawn of the nuclear age. Now, each of the roughly 400 uranium-powered nuclear reactors in the world create approximately 500 pounds of plutonium each year – or enough to create about 100 nuclear warheads each.

…….. Bill Gates’ nuclear ambitions go beyond mere ideas. He actually possesses financial holdings in one very dangerous situation indeed – a situation that is presently causing residents around St. Louis, Missouri to live under an all-out nuclear nightmare……https://www.environews.tv/031416-paducah-bill-gates-nuclear-pipedream-convert-mountains-depleted-uranium-plutonium-power-earth-centuries/

January 8, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

U.S. Appeals Court upholds order for Federal Government to remove plutonium from South Carolina

U.S. government ordered to remove deadly nuclear substance from South Carolina, BY EMILY BOHATCH  ebohatch@thestate.com, October 26, 2018

November 17, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Legal, USA | Leave a comment