81°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada, feds agree on schedule to remove plutonium

Updated June 26, 2020 - 4:23 pm

CARSON CITY — The federal government will begin removing a metric half-ton of weapons-grade plutonium that was secretly shipped to the state starting next year as part of a settlement agreement between Nevada and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Under the settlement, which was agreed to Friday, the nuclear material must be completely removed from the Nevada National Security Site by the end of 2026 and the Energy Department cannot send any more materials from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina — where the material originated — to Nevada without giving the state notice of its intent.

The agreement codifies a commitment that Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto got last year from then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry to remove the plutonium under the same time frame.

“I’m pleased that the Department of Energy and the State of Nevada have reached a settlement to remove the weapons-grade plutonium that was secretly shipped to Nevada and to prevent any future shipments from South Carolina,” Cortez Masto said in a statement included in a release from the Nevada attorney general’s office.

A federal judge in South Carolina last year ordered the Energy Department to remove one metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from the Savannah River Site. A half-ton was shipped to Nevada last fall, and the Energy Department announced in August that another half-ton had been shipped to either Texas or New Mexico.

The half-ton that was shipped to the Nevada security site came as the state was preparing a federal court filing seeking an injunction to stop the shipment. The Energy Department is required to move an additional five metric tons out of South Carolina in future years.

Attorney General Aaron Ford said the resolution “marks a significant commitment,” from the Energy Department, but that the state will be prepared if the federal government changes course.

“While I’m hopeful that this agreement is the basis for a stronger and more collaborative relationship with the Department of Energy, my office stands ready to protect the interest of Nevadans,” Ford said in a statement. “I thank (Energy) Secretary (Dan) Brouillette for his commitment to Nevadans and look forward to seeing the safe removal of the plutonium begin next year.”

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Special session to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lawmakers to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Democratic leaders resign
Several key Clark County Democratic Party leaders have resigned as progressive leadership has swelled in recent months.
Dream Big Nevada celebrates DACA ruling - VIDEO
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections under DACA for 650,000 young immigrants. Astrid Silva, founder of Dream Big Nevada, discusses the temporary victory and the next step for Dreamers.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of city council meeting - Video
Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of a City Council meeting during public comments.
Mitt Romney marches in Washington, D.C., protest - Video
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah joined a group of protesters marching through Washington, D.C. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada gyms, bars that do not serve food can reopen Friday - VIDEO
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening said Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak says businesses will begin reopening under phase 1 - VIDEO
The first phase of reopening Nevada’s businesses will begin Saturday, May 9, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden denies Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation - VIDEO
The former senate aide claims Biden assaulted her in 1993 when he was a senator. Biden first denied the accusations via a public post on Medium. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RJ interview with Sisolak on the reopening plan for Nevada - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Review-Journal interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak on the plan for reopening Nevada during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak reacts to Goodman CNN interview- VIDEO
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman repeated her call to immediately reopen businesses during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, leading to a reaction from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak praises Nevadans for staying at home, saving lives - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday it’s still too early to know when the state’s COVID-19 shutdown orders could be lifted or when businesses could start to reopen their doors. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump gives governors 3-phase approach to open US - VIDEO
President Donald Trump declared victory in America’s war against the “invisible enemy” as the president’s Coronavirus Task Force released “Opening up America Again” guidelines. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump names Jacky Rosen to task force on reopening economy - VIDEO
President Donald Trump named Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., to be a member of his Opening Up America Again Congressional Group Thursday to advise him on coronavirus policy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president - VIDEO
On April 13, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced his official endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST