Even the U.S. Energy Department is asking a federal judge in Reno to discount the state’s litigation hard plutonium shipments to Nevada, adding that the material in the storage site north of Las Vegas doesn’t threaten public safety.
Department officials also have stepped up their explanation of why the site home the weapons-grade plutonium north of Las Vegas is not vulnerable to risks posed by earthquakes although concerns raised last month with an independent safety board that the threat of seismic activity hasn’t been adequately addressed and that the center currently is operating with”unknown risk.”
However, Hamilton walked back those concerns from congressional testimony last week, describing that the warning has been directed in a type of testing which no longer happens at the Nevada National Security Site’s Device Assembly Facility 60 miles (97 kilometers) in Las Vegas.
The Department of Energy approved a policy last August to send the substance out of South Carolina to Nevada for filming before it moves on to another site from the government’s military nuclear complex from New Mexico.
Nevada filed a lawsuit in November to block the shipments, but while the case was still pending, the Department of Energy disclosed in January it had sent a half metric ton (1,102 pounds) of their plutonium to the Nevada website sometime before November.
Lawyers at the Department of Energy stated in a motion to dismiss Nevada’s lawsuit the claims are moot since the substance was sent to Nevada.
“The storage is currently occurring and can’t be undone without hauling the plutonium out of the country, which is already planned to occur by 2027,” they stated.
During an April 2 hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she grilled him about the earthquake worries that Hamilton had characterized as”important” in the March 21 letter to Perry.
“I think that it’s safe senator,” Perry told me.
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the secretary of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, reinforced that opinion April 9 before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.
“The situation they have thrown out is not something that could occur as we do not conduct nuclear explosions at the Device Assembly Facility,” Gordon-Hagerty stated. Tests have not occurred there since 1992, she said.
Seated next to Gordon-Hagerty, Hamilton informed the panel his earlier questions were based upon the simple fact the centre was designed and constructed to run such high level explosions, and that the Department of Energy has not removed the potential for resuming those types of tests in the future. But he confessed”they do not do this at the moment.”
“Given the pair of parameters you are developed for, you have some brand new seismic information that has to be added into the calculation,” Hamilton said. “But there’s an erroneous perception in the media which the DAF (that the Device Assembly Facility) is dangerous.”
“For its present assignment… DAF is not” vulnerable to an earthquake disaster, he explained. “If it had been, the board would have issued an official recommendation, which we didn’t.”