Public Utilities Commission: Nevada doesn’t get advance notice of plutonium shipments
February 18, 2019
Lawmakers were told Monday Nevada doesn't get advance notice of hazardous material shipments including plutonium until after the fact.
"We get notification after the fact," said Anne-Marie Cuneo, director of regulatory operations for the Public Utilities Commission, told a subcommittee of lawmakers reviewing the agency budget.
She said that notification comes in the federal government's annual report to the PUC.
Among the PUC's other responsibilities is the task of monitoring and inspecting hazardous material shipments to the state.
"I have always worked under the assumption we got some form of pre-notice," said subcommittee chairman Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas.
Cuneo said there's no state or federal law requiring advance notice of such shipments.
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The question was raised because of the announcement in January that even as Nevada was in court seeking to block a one-ton shipment of the radioactive material, the Department of Energy had already shipped half that amount to southern Nevada several months earlier. In a court filing by special counsel Marta Adams in January, she said Justice Department lawyers assured her no shipment would happen before January 21.
That brought protests from lawmakers, Gov. Steve Sisolak and Attorney General Aaron Ford who termed the lack of transparency an egregious violation of trust. Energy Department officials said secrecy was necessary because of national security issues. But officials said there are no plans to ship any more plutonium to Nevada.
"If we want to know ahead of time, we need to change the ground rules," Carlton told fellow lawmakers.