Originally created 08/11/00

Setting the record straight on MOX

Once again The Chronicle has allowed one of their reporters to run amok. Brandon Haddock penned an article concerning the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) and the association of Stone & Webster EngineeringShaw Group. He indicates his distaste for the companies involved with the project by his use of the phrase "motley collection of companies." (Motley - adverb - "having or composed of many different or clashing elements, heterogeneous.") Duke Cogema Stone & Webster is made up of hardly different and definitely not clashing companies.

What constitutes "motley" to Mr. Haddock? Duke Power and Duke Engineering and Services are very strong and vibrant corporations that have demonstrated great strength in the nuclear industry and general engineering fields. Duke's continued operation of three nuclear stations is an indication of its expertise in the field. Duke was the second nuclear power operator to obtain a life extension for a nuclear power plant.

Cogema has been known for its ability to design, construct and operate many nuclear facilities safely and effectively in France for years. Its Melox facility is a model of safety and ingenuity. Cogema's ability to produce MOX fuel is a credit to its dedication to safety.

Stone & Webster is a prestigious engineering corporation that has undergone some hard times but is still recognized as the designer and constructor of superior quality facilities. The engineering staff has not changed, the workers are dedicated individuals who strive for quality and are determined to produce only the best.

These companies work together very well, considering that they all exhibit the same traits and strengths in the nuclear industry. All have designed and constructed nuclear facilities. Are they different in this respect? No. Do they "clash"? The styles contrast but the efforts are superior and the quality is unmatched, but clash? No.

All companies have had hard financial times. Some have undergone litigation. Some have failed due to poor judgment. But to classify these companies as "undependable" is ludicrous. Bob Schaeffer, an obvious good choice for real information, is looking through rose-colored glasses if he feels that all companies are 100 percent perfect. Even General Motors had financial problems at one time. Likewise Mr. Haddock needs a lesson in what is "motley" and what "drama" is really all about. Did he use a poor choice of words? Yes. Did he use poor resources? Yes. Does the article add anything to the understanding of what is happening at Savannah River Service? No.

Richard J. Stuhler, Augusta


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