Perhaps you saw the headlines. They were all over Nevada’s newspapers. They largely said in varying language: Cortez Masto wins fight to remove plutonium from Nevada.
Nevada’s senior Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto sat down with Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry earlier and he sent her a letter agreeing to begin removing in 2021 the half metric ton of plutonium that had been sent to the National Nuclear Security Administration site from South Carolina, where a federal judge had ordered it removed. Perry also said no more South Carolina plutonium would be shipped to the Nevada site. On Tuesday Cortez Masto agreed to stop blocking nominees for high-level Department of Energy jobs.
But you’d need to read the Exchange Monitor to learn that the agreed upon removal schedule was what the Department of Energy (DOE) planned to do all long.
Perry’s letter to Cortez Masto states, “DOE commits to commencing removal of this material from Nevada beginning in calendar year 2021, and completing the removal by the end of 2026.”
In a Nov. 20 letter to then-Gov. Brian Sandoval the DOE said the plutonium would to transferred to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico by the “2026-2027 timeframe.”
In his letter, posted online by the Nevada Independent, Perry noted that the judge had ordered one metric ton of plutonium be removed from South Carolina by 2019 and he said no more would be shipped to Nevada but rather to New Mexico. He did not bother to mention whether that was DOE’s plan all along.
Cortez Masto tweeted a video bragging of her success in getting the DOE to do what it apparently planned to do all along: