SC sues Energy Dept over unfinished nuclear fuel project


    AG Alan Wilson-2 (00477598xD2C78).jpg

    COLUMBIA, SC (AP) -- South Carolina has again sued the federal government over an unfinished project to convert nuclear weapons components into reactor fuel.

    The lawsuit filed Tuesday by Attorney General Alan Wilson accuses the federal government of acting unconstitutionally in failing to complete the mixed-oxide facility by a Jan. 1 deadline. The suit also seeks daily fines of $1 million and plutonium removal.

    WIlson issued the following statement:

    "Today, a lawsuit was filed in federal district court against the United States Department of Energy to require the federal government to obey the rule of law.

    "In September 2015, we sent a letter to Secretary Moniz stating that we expected the DOE to follow through with its promises, otherwise we would be seeking legal action. That letter was completely ignored.

    "The Federal Government has a responsibility to follow through with its promises. The Department of Energy has continually shown disregard for its obligations under federal law to the nation, the State of South Carolina and frankly the rule of law. The federal government is not free to flout the law. This behavior will not be tolerated. We are committed to using every legal avenue possible to ensure compliance.

    "We will continue to work with the Governor's Office, our federal delegation in Washington and other state officials in a multipronged effort to protect South Carolinians."

    The project is years behind schedule and billions over budget. Because the facility isn't operating, the federal government was supposed to remove 1 metric ton of plutonium from South Carolina or pay fines.

    The project's future is unclear. In his budget submitted Tuesday, President Barack Obama included minimal funding for the mixed-oxide fuel project.

    South Carolina dropped an earlier lawsuit against the administration after officials said they wanted to shutter the project.

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