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Hanford plutonium going to South Carolina

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Associated Press - September 5, 2007 4:55 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Energy Department plans to send some plutonium from Hanford to the Savannah River nuclear complex in South Carolina.

The department also is sending plutonium from research labs in New Mexico and California to Savanna River to improve security and reduce storage costs.

The shipments involve 3,000 canisters the size of coffee cans. About 2,300 of them are at Hanford and the rest are at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The shipments could begin as soon as next month and last three years.

The consolidation involves plutonium that was produced decades ago for use in nuclear weapons, but is no longer needed.

The plutonium could be converted to fuel for nuclear power plants or encased in glass for storage at the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada.

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