Congressional supporters of the Savanah River Site's Mox plant have reached an agreement with the Department of Energy that continues construction activities through the end of the fiscal year.In its proposed 2015 budget, the Obama administration announced plans to end the long-delayed program to convert surplus weapons material into nuclear fuel. The Department of Energy also moved toward mothballing the project using funds from this year's budget, which provoked a lawsuit from the state of South Carolina. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced that Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz had partially changed course and promised to allow construction to continue through Sept. 30. As many as 1,800 jobs are connected to the project. Its fate beyond the end of the fiscal year will be decided during congressional budget negotiations in the coming months. Suspending the program would require a new plutonium disposition method to satisfy an arms-reduction agreement with Russia. The South Carolina attorney general also contends that cancelling the project would violate an agreement on the storage and disposition of plutonium in the state.
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