Six tons of weapons-grade plutonium can continue on its way to South Carolina, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday. The decision, which upheld a lower court ruling, was a blow to Gov. Jim Hodges (D), who has vociferously protested storing the waste in his state. Hodges argued that the Department of Energy needed to conduct more thorough environmental studies and consider the long-term risk of the storage before shipping the waste, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it was satisfied that the DOE had done its homework. The federal government plans to build facilities in South Carolina to convert the plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors, but Hodges fears those plans won’t come to fruition and the waste will remain in his state. He vowed to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

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