Embattled SRS MOX Project Gains Support in Washington

Political support in Congress is coalescing around funding to continue construction of the overbudget MOX fuel plant at the Savanah River Site, despite the Obama administration's plan to close it.

SRS MOX project. Source: DOEAppropriations bills in both the House and Senate include roughly $345 million for construction next year, and an earlier agreement between South Carolina politicians and the Department of Energy extended work at the plant through the end of September. On Monday, the Augusta Chronicle reported that Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz instructed the plant's contractors to draw up plans for various levels of funding. At an event with Moniz at the Savannah River Site, members of the South Carolina congressional delegation confirmed funding would likely be available through next year.

The project employs 1,800 people and would eventually provide a disposal method for surplus plutonium, as outlined in an arms reduction agreement with Russia. The plant is 60 percent complete and has drawn the scrutiny of the DOE inspector general's office, which reported the project is three years behind schedule and saw its budget increase from $2.9 billion to $7.7 billion over five years.

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