Gov. Nikki Haley said in a letter to federal officials Thursday that it is “imperative” they stop sending nuclear materials to South Carolina.
In a letter obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday, Haley urged U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to stop or reroute a shipment of 331 kilograms of Japanese plutonium headed to the Savannah River Site in Aiken County. A container ship is traveling to the Naval Weapons Station Charleston with the cargo this week, according to the Aiken Standard.
“It is imperative to the safety of our citizens and our environment that South Carolina not allow this to happen,” the governor’s letter states.
Tons of plutonium have been shipped to the site over the years bound for use at the future Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication facility. When MOX is complete, it is scheduled to process the material into commercial nuclear reactor fuel. However, construction work remains behind schedule and over-budget.
The state is already suing the federal government over its failure to process the material or move it elsewhere prior to a January deadline. The lawsuit seeks daily fines of $1 million and removal of the plutonium.
The Energy Department has not yet responded to the lawsuit in court.