Plutonium from a former nuclear weapons complex in South Carolina is leaving for a federal storage site in New Mexico. The Augusta Chronicle reports that a shipment of plutonium from old nuclear weapons is leaving the Savannah River Site this week for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.
The shipment is part of the U.S. Energy Department's plan that could send 4.3 metric tons of plutonium from South Carolina to New Mexico over a 20-year period. The plutonium is waste material that can't be converted into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors at Savannah River's mixed-oxide facility.
The New Mexico facility has a storage site 2,000 feet below the surface within layers of geologic salt. Officials plan to ship 5 kilograms there at a time.