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MOX facility at Savannah River Site could get funding for construction

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The mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility at Savannah River Site could be on track to receive more money than President Obama’s budget request.

U.S. House appropriators on Tuesday approved $345 million for the MOX plant, specifying the funds had to be used for construction activity and not to place the multibillion-dollar plutonium disposition facility on standby, as the president proposed. However, there is no guarantee that money will materialize.

The Senate has not yet considered the 2015 spending bill for federal energy and water projects. Recent congressional action, however, has left political backers of the project optimistic about the future of MOX.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said bipartisan support has been an important signal that the MOX project will get funding needed to continue construction.

“Congressman Wilson is confident that the MOX funding figure will be significantly higher than the president’s proposed number,” said spokeswoman Caroline Delleney. “The president’s proposal did not reflect the best interest of our national security, the environmental safety of residents in the CSRA or the American taxpayers.”

The facility, which employs about 1,800 workers and is 60 percent complete, is being built to convert 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium into commercial reactor fuel.

In an effort to avoid layoffs while an analysis is completed on the plant’s future, the House Energy and Water Appropriation Subcommittee approved $150 million more than the Obama administration’s request for fiscal year 2015.

In recent weeks, the House and Senate also acted in favor of MOX by authorizing spending for the project’s construction in the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate Armed Services Committee last week increased funding for the plant by $145 million and directed the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous branch of the U.S. Energy Department which manages the MOX project, to continue construction.

The plant has become increasingly expensive, leading the Energy Department to slow funding for the project. MOX construction received $320 million in fiscal 2013, $452.7 million in fiscal 2012 and $487.7 million under a 2013 continuing resolution.

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SCEagle Eye
914
Points
SCEagle Eye 06/11/14 - 10:31 pm
2
1
slow death for MOX

Even $345 million won't be enough to keep the MOX project viable. Remember what happened last year in September? 500 layoffs. It's going to be the same every year going forward as the project needs way more than $345 million annually to keep it going for the next 25 years. Time to get on with an option that is financially sustainable in the DOE budget, which is getting ever more shaky.

GiantsAllDay
9593
Points
GiantsAllDay 06/11/14 - 11:09 pm
2
3
SCEagleEye, It just doesn't

SCEagleEye,
It just doesn't matter. Shaw, Nikki Haley will continue to rape the American taxpayer as long as it gets votes. After all, votes are what are important, correct?

KSL
129740
Points
KSL 06/12/14 - 08:29 am
1
1
Just what solution can you

Just what solution can you two offer? All you do is criticize.

KSL
129740
Points
KSL 06/12/14 - 08:37 am
1
1
There is "stuff" that needs

There is "stuff" that needs dealing with. Do you have suggestions or do you two just enjoy spending your lives criticizing others?

Were you for or against YM?

SCEagle Eye
914
Points
SCEagle Eye 06/12/14 - 11:32 am
2
1
immobilization vs MOX boondoggle

KSL, your question reveals that you apparently haven't been following the plutonium disposition program for very long. A review of the history of the program will show that a number of groups and individuals have repeatedly endorsed, on the record, a positive solution since the mid-1990s: immobilization of plutonium in high-level waste. The big-spending MOX boosters are the ones that have embraced a negative solution, in part as it enriches contractors. KSL, if MOX is unsustainable from a cost perspective, which DOE continues to say, and if there are no MOX customers, which DOE also affirms, what is your approach? I hope it's not simply criticizing those who don't agree with the MOX mega-boondoggle.

dwb619
93717
Points
dwb619 06/12/14 - 03:20 pm
2
1
encapsulation

We worked with a couple of the engineers doing mock ups of the, as they called it, "encapsulation method".
Funny thing, they told us at the time, even though the process was sound, it would never be funded.
To much money to be made on the MOX process.

GiantsAllDay
9593
Points
GiantsAllDay 06/12/14 - 06:18 pm
1
1
Hey, Shaw gave 57 grand to

Hey, Shaw gave 57 grand to charity, right? I say we let them stay. I was soooooo much opposed to MOX, but that whopping 57 grand turned my mind around.

KSL
129740
Points
KSL 06/12/14 - 07:33 pm
1
1
Again, your solution, in

Again, your solution, in terms that the public can understand...........

sawgrass
1660
Points
sawgrass 06/12/14 - 07:47 pm
2
1
SCEagleEye

I agree with KSL. All you do is criticize but offer no solution. Vitrification is not the answer, nor is down blending. Transporting the down blended product to WIPP will take years since only a small amount of curries are allowed to be transported on public roadways. This depends on if the state will allow to cross their state lines with the down blended product. Fast breeder reactors cost twice as much as MOX. By the way, the figures you always spout off about MOX are exaggerated. If we abandon the MOX project, our agreement with Russia changes and they are free to do with the weapons grade plutonium as they please. Now, what is your solution?????

SCEagle Eye
914
Points
SCEagle Eye 06/13/14 - 01:08 pm
2
1
plutonium is waste

It matters little what I think, but disposal of plutonium as waste has been and is the way to go. Surplus plutonium has a huge negative value from an energy perspective, for one thing (and fresh uranium fuel is much cheaper). Operation of the MOX plant is estimated to be over $540 million/year and DOE says it could need $800+ million/year to go forward to fund all aspects of the MOX program for two decades or more. The big spenders, including Senator Graham and Rep. Wilson, simply won't say where this huge amount of money will come from and just plan on continuing to run up the debt while special interests profit. Somebody please explain how MOX will be made sustainable when it's so far from that now & there are no MOX customers. DOE isn't making the case that it can be made sustainable, quite the opposite. And, AREVA refuses to present a sustainable way forward with MOX. As for the Russia, they are doing what they want to do and have a new breeder set to start up and could produce more weapon-grade plutonium at any point. It doesn't appear they will oppose a shift in the US plutonium disposition strategy as the US agreed to the BN-800 breeder in 2010. Oh boy, DOE and the MOX boosters have enabled Russia to make more plutonium - what a great non-proliferation deal...!!?

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