A federal judge has put a stop, for now, to South Carolina’s pursuit of $100 million in fines the state says it’s owed by the federal government over an unfinished plutonium processing project.
U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs ruled that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims is the proper forum for the state’s money demands. Other aspects of the state’s lawsuit continue in her court, and she gave both sides until July 7 to mediate their dispute.
The unfinished mixed-oxide fuel facility in the Savannah River Site, a sprawling former nuclear weapons plant along the South Carolina-Georgia border, is intended to turn weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear reactor fuel. Under a nonproliferation agreement with Russia, each country has committed to turning 34 metric tons of plutonium, enough to arm 17,000 warheads, into fuel.
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