National Nuclear Security Administration

One metric ton of plutonium removed safely and securely from South Carolina

August 8, 2019

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Completed nearly six months ahead of schedule

WASHINGTON – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has fulfilled a court order to remove one metric ton of defense plutonium from South Carolina. The removal was completed nearly six months ahead of schedule.

In December 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina ordered DOE to remove one metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from the state by Jan. 1, 2020.

“South Carolina has played a pivotal role in our Nation’s nuclear security for over 70 years and we are committed to protecting the health, safety, and security of the public as we conduct our important national security missions,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator.

The material removed from the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina, will be used for national security missions and is not waste.

NNSA publicly released the removal plan in a July 2018 Supplement Analysis that identified the Nevada National Security Site, the Pantex Plant in Texas, and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico as destinations for the shipments.Due to operational security, NNSA does not disclose how much material was shipped to each site.

For decades, NNSA has shipped this type of material safely and securely by highly-trained federal agents as part of its national security missions.