Here we go again.
The federal government wants South Carolina to be the dumping ground for more of the world's plutonium, a toxic nuclear weapons component.
At the same time, it is failing miserably in its promise to process and remove 12 metric tons of plutonium already at the Savannah River Site near Aiken.
South Carolina should fight with every tool it has to stop a new plan by the U.S. Department Energy to import nearly a ton of plutonium from the Pacific Rim and North America to SRS.
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Not an ounce more should arrive until the existing problem is resolved.
The news of new shipments is part of an old shell game. In it, the federal government tries to move bad things around because it has enacted no national plan. And it repeatedly fails to live up to its promises and responsibilities to communities around the country.
Gov. Nikki Haley said a lawsuit against the federal government may be needed. Good for her. But that tactic -- like a previous governor's threat to lie down in the road to stop plutonium shipments, as well as previous lawsuits, and laws threatening steep fines against the federal government -- has not yet resolved this national problem.
That's why it would be foolish to trust a new Energy Department proposal to ship about six metric tons of plutonium now at SRS to an existing DOE disposal site in New Mexico.
That would be great, if it could be believed. The proposal faces numerous hurdles, including funding and opposition in New Mexico.
Meanwhile, the government's program to convert weapons-grade plutonium at SRS into a mixed oxide fuel (MOX) that could be used in commercial nuclear reactors is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.
So into this quagmire stumbles the federal government with the suggestion to do what? Bring in more plutonium. It's like the theater of the absurd. But it is a serious problem that has been bungled for many decades.
South Carolina has done more than its share to be a patriotic good neighbor to the nation's nuclear program. Enough is enough.