AIKEN — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said the state won’t back down on its lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s decision to stop construction on the mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility at Savannah River Site.
After flying over the site and MOX facility construction area in a helicopter Monday, Haley said the federal government has made empty promises for nuclear waste disposal that undermine the potential for economic development at Savannah River Site.
“You see all the work that has been done,” Haley said about the partially finished MOX facility. “I saw how much has been accomplished, and then you’re saying ‘for nothing?’ You have already made a very real investment. It really defies all logic.”
South Carolina sued the U.S. Department of Energy in March for placing the plant on hold after investing billions of dollars in the project, intended to convert 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium into commercial nuclear fuel. Haley has said closing the facility would violate an international nonproliferation agreement with Russia.
Last week, state Attorney General Alan Wilson asked a federal judge to rule in the state’s favor without a trial. Federal officials have until May 1 to respond to South Carolina’s motion.
“You are going to continue to see us very loud. We are going to continue to demand answers. This is not on the president’s timeline. This is on our timeline,” Haley said.
She said the federal government also acted against SRS when it suspended funding for Yucca Mountain, a permanent federal repository for nuclear waste in Nevada.
“The rug was pulled out from under us when they were supposed to take glass (waste) containers in the first place and they are still sitting there,” she said.