Source: Aiken Standard | Colin Demarest | March 28, 2020

The U.S. Department of Energy and the state of Nevada could soon settle a lengthy legal dispute regarding the cross-country relocation of weapons-usable plutonium once kept at the Savannah River Site, new court documents show.

In a court filing last week, the parties said they were “engaged in substantive and promising” negotiations, and that further judicial intervention could jeopardize an “amicable” solution.

A federal judge in the Silver State on March 17 agreed to pause the related court case and requested a formal update by the end of the month.

Nevada in late 2018 sued the Energy Department to prevent it from transporting plutonium from the Savannah River Site, about 30 minutes south of Aiken, to the Nevada National Security Site, relatively close to Las Vegas. The state at the time claimed environmental regulations were being breached.

By that time, though, the Energy Department’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration had already moved a half-metric ton of defense plutonium to the Nevada reserve — effectively rendering the case moot. The clandestine campaign was disclosed after the fact by the NNSA’s general counsel, Bruce Diamond.

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