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South Carolina: Nevada push to move plutonium repeats risks

RENO — South Carolina says Nevada’s demand for the U.S. government to remove weapons-grade plutonium that was secretly trucked between the two states last year contradicts its claim that moving the radioactive material is dangerous.

Lawyers for South Carolina and the U.S. Energy Department filed their first responses this week to Nevada’s legal challenge in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nevada appealed after a federal judge refused to temporarily ban any more plutonium shipments to the state.

The Trump administration has promised no more plutonium will be shipped to Nevada. But it says the courts have no power to undo the shipment already made from South Carolina to a site north of Las Vegas.

South Carolina says that shipping the plutonium again would “repeat the risks” that Nevada fears.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry acknowledged this week that the Nevada National Security Site — where weapons-grade plutonium is being stored — and the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository are located in an area considered a seismic hazard, but saide he believes they are safe.

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