The annual governor’s meeting at the US White House will see a boycott by at least one state leader, as Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak will sit it out on the sidelines in protest of a federal shipment of plutonium waste made to the state last year.
In announcing his White House boycott, the Democratic governor of the Silver State noted his many attempts at getting members of the administration of US President Donald Trump to respond to requests for data on the threatened transfer of radioactive material, only to find that officials at the US Department of Energy (DoE) has already approved and moved the materials to a facility in Nevada.
An estimated 1000 pounds of radioactive plutonium waste was transferred in late 2018 to an unnamed federally-managed location near Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository by the government without standard state approvals or security clearances, according to reports cited by The Hill.
“The president, without our knowledge, decided to have half a ton of plutonium shipped to the state of Nevada,” stated Sisolak on Saturday, adding, “We don’t know when it was shipped, how it was shipped, when it got there.”
“My main focus is to protect the citizens of my state,” the governor said in detailing the reasoning behind his boycott of the Trump White House. “I feel it would be disingenuous to go and have a sit-down dinner with the president and the administration when we’ve written letters, tried to get responses to why this was done, and thus far heard crickets,” cited by The Hill.
“I’m very disappointed. We’ve reached out to try to meet with the administration and the secretary and thus far have not been successful,” Sisolak noted.
State governors hold an annual meeting in Washington DC, and this weekend’s get-together includes the traditional White House dinner on Sunday night. Monday rounds out the yearly summit out with groups meeting with the president and members of the administration.
Nevada attempted to sue the DoE in November 2018 to stop plans to transfer the nuclear waste from South Carolina. DoE officials avowed instead that the material had already been shipped.