You may recall that back in December 2017, a federal court sided with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and ordered the DOE to remove ONE ton of defense plutonium from South Carolina within a two-year timeframe.
Oversight of this removal has proved difficult and the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) has announced that one-half metric ton of the defense plutonium located at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina has been relocated to the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). That tranche was handled prior to November 2018 and was publicly revealed in a separate declaration made by Bruce Diamond, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s general counsel.
Since the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at SRS – originally planned to process this weapons-grade plutonium – was shutdown, NNSA planned to use the “dilute and dispose” process for its removal. That involved moving the plutonium to NNSS (just outside Las Vegas) and the Pantex Plant (Texas) for staging and then transferred on to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
According to NNSA Chief of Staff, William White, this material will ultimately be used for vital national security missions and is not waste.