AP NEWS

Nevada governor asks for meeting with Trump to discuss SRS plutonium shipments

March 1, 2019

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has gone right to the top.

In a Wednesday letter, the governor requested a personal meeting with President Donald Trump regarding the clandestine relocation of a half-metric-ton of weapons-grade plutonium from the Savannah River Site to the Nevada National Security Site.

“On behalf of Nevada’s over 3 million residents, I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you these matters of critical importance to my state,” Sisolak wrote, also making mention of Yucca Mountain. “I am available to travel to Washington D.C. for a meeting at your convenience.”

Prior to November 2018, the National Nuclear Security Administration moved a half-metric-ton of defense plutonium out of SRS – out of South Carolina, more notably – and into NNSS, which is about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“The weapons-grade plutonium is now located within the borders of my state,” Sisolak wrote to Trump.

The plutonium, flagged for future weapons use, was shipped out to satisfy – partially, at least – a district court’s mandate. The DOE is required, per a December 2017 order, to get at least 1 metric ton of defense plutonium out of South Carolina by 2020.

Sisolak and several other major Nevada politicians maintain they were not made aware of the shipments until after the fact. The governor’s Feb. 27 letter describes the plutonium shipments as “secret” and “without my office’s input.”

He’s used that sort of stern language before.

In a Feb. 6 letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and NNSA chief Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Sisolak said the hush-hush relocation campaign destroyed “any semblance” of trust that had been fostered over the years. The governor also said the shipments represented a “callous disregard” for Nevada and its residents.

“While you have shown little regard for maxims of states’ rights,” Sisolak wrote earlier this month, “it is nonetheless a bedrock concept of this country and a principle I demand that you respect.”

The SRS-to-NNSS relocation plans – and ultimate plutonium pit production use – were laid out in a NNSA environmental study dated July 2018.

No more of the total 1 metric ton slated for removal will be shipped to NNSS, according to a court declaration made by NNSA General Counsel Bruce Diamond.