Waste processing facility for MOX project will sit unused

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Once complete, a $414 million building that will process waste from the mixed oxide fuel facility at Savannah River Site will sit unused for at least five years.

The waste solidification building “will be placed in lay-up for a period of not less than five years following acceptance and startup testing of components and systems,” according to a Dec. 27 report from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

The National Nuclear Security Administration advised Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the primary contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy site, that the facility will be placed on standby before essential equipment is installed.

Critics of the MOX project said the latest report further points to poor planning and mismanagement of the plutonium disposition program.

“They never should have gotten into a situation that they built a multimillion dollar facility that will then sit there unused,” said Tom Clements, the nuclear adviser to the South Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club.

NNSA spokeswoman Keri Fulton said the department will “preserve and maintain the facility and equipment” until the MOX facility is ready to dispose of surplus plutonium.

“NNSA has sufficient information to determine that the first receipt of liquids from the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility will be a minimum of five years after completion of the WSB project,” Fulton said.

Construction on the waste solidification building began in 2009 with a $345 million budget and projected completion in 2013. The facility will process low-level and liquid waste streams generated from the MOX facility.

The MOX facility, about 60 percent complete, has become increasingly expensive and behind schedule. According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, construction costs were revised from $4.9 billion to $7.7 billion and the start of operations were delayed from October 2016 to November 2019.

Fulton did not respond to a request for the waste solidification building’s completion date.

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Riverman1 01/25/14 - 09:28 am
Heh, Heh, Heh

Remember a few years ago they were tearing down 15 year old buildings because there's some kind of plan to keep the site as close to nature (or some other silly phrase they use) as possible. Maybe they should tear this unused building down since it's empty and start all over building a new one? Only the government operates this way. Heh.

obkad 01/25/14 - 09:37 am
continued Waste

Yep just like the ITP, K-Area cooling tower, the incinerator, 1-H Evaoprator each at 650 million, 1billion, 500 million, and 10 million respectively.. Oh yeah don't forget the ongoing waste of doing things over and over again just to get government money. But who's counting

geecheeriverman 01/25/14 - 10:23 am
Counting Votes

A prime example of state politicians voting for home state projects to curry favor with voters. Taxpayers be damned!

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 01/25/14 - 11:09 am
protecing waste of our money

This is the kind of thing that Senator Graham and Rep. Wilson love - picking our pockets to pay contractors for hugely wasteful, misguided projects at SRS. This is more affirmation about who the big spenders are. If you think this is bad, stay tuned for new, even higher cost estimates on the mismanaged MOX project. NNSA will try, as they have in the past, to suppress the bad news but it will eventually get out. Brace yourselves for a huge increase in the MOX plant construction cost, beyond the already out-of-control $7.7 billion. Lindsey and Joe, the big-spending budget-busting twins are loving it!

at0mgrrl 01/25/14 - 04:39 pm
Money for Nothing

When Georgians Against Nuclear Energy, now Nuclear Watch South, first petitioned to intervene in the NRC licensing review for MOX back in 2001, the private contractors (who have changed more than once) planned on using the waste tanks for the nasty high-alpha MOX waste. GANE simply said, "ahem, we are in a waste tank closure program" and the $100 million+ Waste Solidification Building was ponied up to "moot" the issue. Now, along with the rest of the MOX project, this useless suite of Factories to Nowhere are several times their original budgets and years behind schedule. MOX is the ultimate boondoggle to separate the people from their hard-earned tax dollars and stuff corporate, even French, pockets. When will we ever learn? see http://www.nonukesyall.org/plutonium.html and related pages.

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