S.C. Presses Court Challenge of Decision to Defund Work on Mox Plant

South Carolina's attorney general has asked a federal court to expedite a decision on its suit that aims to restart work on the Savannah River Site's mox production facility.

On Thursday, the Aiken Standard confirmed that the state filed a request that the court resolve the suit without a trial. If granted, it would bring a quicker resolution to a case the state filed last month arguing that the Obama administration overstepped its authority by requesting that federal funds be spent on mothballing the project rather than on construction.

Over-budget and behind schedule, the mox plant was intended to convert surplus plutonium into power reactor fuel to meet the terms of an arms reduction agreement with Russia. The administration's 2015 budget request seeks to place the project in cold standby after pursuing cuts to the program in the previous fiscal year. In a statement March 18 after he filed the suit, Attorney General Alan Wilson argued that doing so would breach an agreement with the state on the disposal of surplus plutonium and would contravene earlier legislation passed by Congress. By the attorney general's count, the move would also eliminate as many as 1,800 jobs at the plant.

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