SOUTH CAROLINA (WJBF) – Tons of weapons grade plutonium will be making its way out of South Carolina…eventually.

The South Carolina Attorney General, Alan Wilson, announced the United States Government has agreed to pay out $600 million dollars in a settlement and remove the material in the largest settlement in South Carolina history. This ends 6 years of litigation between the Federal Government and the  Palmetto State related to the plutonium currently located at the Savannah River Site in Aiken County, S.C.

In the early 2000s, the plutonium was placed at SRS by the Department of Energy which began the battle between South Carolina and the US Government.  Attorney General Wilson says this will go a long way to helping the state recover from shortfalls caused by the COVID pandemic.

“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,” said Wilson. “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.” 

How the money will be allocated throughout the state has not been determined as of yet and Attorney General Wilson will be working closely with Governor Henry McMaster to make those decisions.

South Carolina will be keeping a close eye on the Department of Energy regardless of the settlement, the DOE has 16.5 years or until 2037 to remove the 9.5 metric tons of weapons grade plutonium from SRS.  If the job isn’t complete, fines will be re-instated and the state has the right to pursue legal ramifications again.

“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.