86°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada files appeal of plutonium ruling

Updated February 4, 2019 - 3:22 pm

CARSON CITY — Nevada is appealing a federal judge’s ruling to allow the future transfer of nuclear material from South Carolina to a federal site north of Las Vegas.

The state filed a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Department of Energy from shipping a metric-ton of weapons grade plutonium from South Carolina into the state in November, but a judge last week denied that injunction.

On the day of the judge’s ruling, the Energy Department disclosed that it had delivered half a metric ton of the material, which is used as the core material in nuclear weapons, into the state before the initial lawsuit was filed.

“My administration continues to exercise every legal tool at our disposal to fight back against the federal government’s reckless disregard for the safety of Nevada’s families and environment,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement. “As I said in my State of the State address, I will stand up to any attempt to send even one ounce of nuclear material to Nevada.”

In a filing in federal court Monday, Nevada told the court that it will appeal the judge’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“As I’ve said before, Gov. Sisolak and I will vigorously oppose any future shipments of plutonium to our State, and are deeply disappointed by the District Court judge’s decision to deny our attempts to do so,” Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement. “Today, we provided the District Court notice that we will appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This notice of appeal will serve as a message to the courts and to every Nevadan: that the Nevada Attorney General’s Office will exhaust every legal avenue to ensure the health, safety and economic prosperity of its residents is not jeopardized.”

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said Monday that she will do “all I can at the federal level to support Attorney General Ford, and Governor Sisolak.”

“I’m committed to getting answers on how this plutonium was shipped, when it will be removed from the State of Nevada, and keeping any future shipments from ever being sent into our state without our knowledge,” Cortez Masto said.

The DOE in an analysis released in July 2018 said the plutonium from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina was be packaged in canisters and sent by unmarked trucks to the Nevada security site and a plant in Texas.

DOE and NNSA were under a federal court order in South Carolina to move the plutonium from the Savannah River Site.

A statement by the DOE released last week said it was “inaccurate” to say Nevada officials were surprised by the shipment of plutonium because the department publicly announced its intentions in the July 2018 analysis.

That analysis, Nevada officials said, prompted the state to file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to block the shipment on Nov. 30.

Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general, said DOE did not disclose the shipment during a January hearing on the motion for an injunction. “That is the most outrageous thing about this.”

The state’s congressional delegation has asked the DOE and NNSA for answers to specific questions about the transfer of plutonium, including the routes used to move it to the Nevada test site and whether the material traveled through Las Vegas.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
THE LATEST
Trump aides heading to Nevada Basque Fry

Several current and former aides to President Donald Trump are headed to the annual Basque Fry, an event sponsored by former Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt.