The Department of Energy disclosed Wednesday that it shipped weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada National Security Site, despite objections from state officials. The Justice Department notified a federal judge in Reno that the government had already trucked the one-half metric ton of radioactive material to the site 70 miles north of Las Vegas when Nevada filed a request for an injunction to block the move in November. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he’s “beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception.” The Democrat said he’s working to fight back against the federal government’s “reckless disregard” for the safety of his state’s residents.
Nevada argues the DOE failed to study the potential dangers of moving the material to an area that is subject to flash floods and earthquakes. The Energy Department says it has safely shipped the toxic material between states before. But experts testifying for Nevada said the material would likely have to pass through Las Vegas on the way to the security site, where an accident could permanently harm the area’s 2.2 million residents, not counting tourists.