S. Carolina orders police to stop plutonium
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges declared an emergency Friday and ordered police to block federal plutonium shipments from entering the state.
The federal Energy Department is scheduled to ship the plutonium from the Rocky Flats weapons plant in Colorado -- which is being closed -- to South Carolina's Savannah River nuclear weapons complex, where it would be used as fuel for a nuclear power plant.
"As governor, when I believe danger exists to our state, I am empowered to declare an emergency and to take measures to maintain peace and safety in South Carolina," Hodges said.
"For these reasons, I have today issued an executive order that an emergency exists in South Carolina. I order that the transportation of plutonium on South Carolina roads and highways be prohibited."
A federal judge has refused the state's request to block the plutonium shipments. Hodges has appealed the ruling and asked for a delay until an appeals court can hear the case.
The shipments legally could begin as early as this weekend, but U.S. Attorney Strom Thurmond Jr. said Energy Department officials told him they would not start until after June 22, the Associated Press reported.
Hodges refused to say how he would block the shipments.
Sid Gaulden, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said traffic would still flow along the state's roads. He acknowledged the department does not have enough resources to close every entry point to the state, the AP reported.
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