South Carolina county sues feds over nuclear waste decision |

South Carolina county sues feds over nuclear waste decision

The Associated Press

AIKEN, S.C. – Aiken County has filed a lawsuit in federal court to try to keep plans on track for a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

It is the latest action from South Carolina, where more than 4,000 metric tons of nuclear waste at the Savannah River Site was once supposed to go to a national repository in Nevada. But President Barack Obama has proposed eliminating the long-planned repository.

Councilman Scott Singer told The Aiken Standard that the nine county council members voted unanimously to take legal action. The lawsuit was filed Friday.

“I have never seen the nine of us be more resolute and assured that this is the right course of action to take on behalf of the citizens of Aiken County,” Singer said.

Last week, Gov. Mark Sanford said the state also may have to take legal action to keep the Yucca Mountain plans, claiming political deals were made and 25 years of promises were being broken after South Carolinians had put $1.2 billion into the project.

State senators on Wednesday unanimously signed onto a bill that would require the state’s electric utilities to put money earmarked for a national nuclear waste repository instead into a state fund until the federal site begins operating. The state would use interest from that to get its own long-term storage plan operating by 2012.

Three leaders from the area around Washington state’s Hanford waste disposal site also are trying to keep the Yucca Mountain project on track, according to multiple media outlets. In a letter to the White House and to Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Thursday, the men say Obama and Chu violated the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act by abandoning development of Yucca Mountain.

One of the men, Bob Ferguson – an entrepreneur and former Energy Department employee – said his group also may file a lawsuit.

Information from: Aiken Standard