Plutonium Shipments

The federal government says it will finish the transfer of weapons-grade plutonium from Colorado to South Carolina by the end of the summer if shipments continue as scheduled.

A spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration says that means the shipments headed from Rocky Flats, Colorado, to the Savannah River Site will finish ahead of schedule.

About six metric tons of plutonium are coming to SRS from the Rocky Flats weapons complex, which is closing. Eventually, about 34 tons of the radioactive material from federal weapons sites will end up at the site near Aiken.

Excess plutonium from nuclear weapons sites was originally to have been either turned into mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel for commercial nuclear reactors or immobilized in glass. The government has since dropped the immobilization program and is focusing only on fuel fabrication.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)