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South Carolina Governor blocks plutonium shipments

AP story updated today(June6): South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges vowed to do "whatever it takes" to prevent radioactive material from being stored in S.C., including lying down in the road to stop the plutonium-laden trucks".!!
South Carolina Troopers Practice Plutonium Blockade in Preparation for Energy Dept. Fight
By Page Ivey Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 22, 2002




NEW ELLENTON, S.C. (AP) - State law enforcement officers practiced blocking weapons-grade plutonium from entering South Carolina, and Gov. Jim Hodges said Monday he would do "whatever it takes" to stop the shipments.
Hodges, who is locked in a dispute with the Department of Energy over the shipments from Colorado, ordered the practice drill for about three dozen state troopers and transport police officers. Hodges has threatened to lie down in the road if necessary to block the shipments.

As part of the drill, patrol cars blocked a four-lane road near the Savannah River Site, about 10 miles from the Georgia state line. Officers convinced the driver of the vehicle escorting a state-owned tractor-trailer to turn around.

Officials said they didn't know whether it would be that easy when trucks carrying plutonium and escorted by armed federal officers make the same attempted entrance. Energy officials have said shipments could begin by May 15.

Hodges, a Democrat up for re-election this year, said the state will do "whatever it takes" to keep the plutonium shipments out unless the Energy Department signs an agreement that the plutonium won't stay in the state.

The Energy Department plans to reprocess the plutonium into fuel to be used in commercial nuclear reactors.

AP-ES-04-22-02 1322EDT




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