In its recurring review of "high-risk" government programs, the Government Accountability Office on Thursday noted that the cost estimate for Savannah River's Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility recently increased by $2 billion.The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration began construction on the plant in 2007, aiming to produce MOX from disused military stocks of plutonium and sell the fuel to commercial reactors. The new NNSA estimate cited by GAO would put the price at nearly $7 billion, which is several times more than original cost projections for the long-delayed project.
The GAO, an independent investigatory agency for Congress, also noted recently that among the 10 major projects to remediate Cold War-era nuclear waste, DOE has extended project schedules by a total of 38.5 years and increased cost estimates by $16.5 billion, to nearly $66 billion total. The MOX plant is among the projects that will see further scrutiny from the agency in the future.
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