COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Monday that the State of South Carolina and the United States have reached a settlement to end litigation related to weapons-grade plutonium that was relocated to the Savannah River Site in the early 2000s.
According to the settlement, the U.S. will pay South Carolina $600 million immediately and the Department of Energy says they will remove the plutonium by 2037
The settlement ends six years of litigation related to the remaining 9.5 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
According to the release, South Carolina will allow the Department of Energy 16.5 years to remove the remaining plutonium from Savannah River Site, or monetary penalties will be reinstated and the department will be subject to additional litigation.
“This settlement is the single largest settlement in South Carolina’s history. It is important to me that the people of South Carolina know of our long-term commitment to preventing South Carolina from becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste,” Wilson said. “Additionally, the more than half a billion dollars in settlement money could not come at a better time as our state government and economy work to overcome the revenue shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a long, difficult road but I am proud of the leadership displayed by our state’s elected officials and the expertise of my legal team.”
“I wish to thank President Donald Trump and his administration, especially Department of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette and United States Attorney General William Barr for working with South Carolina to resolve this dispute. I also appreciate Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Tim Scott, Governor McMaster, Congressman Joe Wilson, and Congressman James Clyburn for not only supporting my strategy but for also providing us with a united front. Their support helped to make this settlement possible. Our State did not waiver in demanding what is right and just for our people,” Wilson added.
According to the release, Wilson said he will work with the General Assembly and Gov. Henry McMaster on the best ways to allocate the money to benefit South Carolinians.
In a news release from the Department of Energy, American taxpayers will save $1.5 billion and South Carolinians will “receive a financially backed commitment from the Administration to remove the material from the state, with a payment of $600 million up front.”
“The Trump Administration is committed to tackling our nation’s toughest challenges where previous Administrations have failed, including the removal and disposal of Cold War era plutonium from the State of South Carolina,” Brouillette said. “Today’s announcement is a promise to the people of South Carolina that plutonium will be removed safely from this state, while saving the American taxpayers over $1 billion. I thank Attorney General Wilson, Governor McMaster, and other South Carolina leaders who have been strong partners with DOE to get us to this day. This historic agreement could not have been possible without the leadership and support of President Trump and Attorney General Barr. This is a good day for South Carolina.”