Study: DOE says MOX may cost up to $30 billion Derrek Asberry
A recent study by the Department of Energy has concluded that the MOX project currently under construction at the Savannah River Site may cost up to $30 billion over its life cycle. The news prompted South Carolina's senators to meet with the Department of Energy Secretary last week.
U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R–S.C. and Tim Scott, R–S.C. and several other interested parties sat with DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz for about an hour on Wednesday in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
In a phone interview on Friday, Graham told the Standard that the group is trying to figure out ways to bring the costs down.
“We have to find productive ways to drive that cost down from $30 billion,” Graham said. “The contractor's performance has been excellent, so we need to find a way to share costs and drive that number down.”
The MOX facility is designed to turn weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear reactor fuel. Its work is part of a nonproliferation effort between the United States and Russia to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium.
Currently, the facility is about 60 percent complete, but the project has undergone cost overruns and delays. The Government Accountability Office reported in June that the plant is $3 billion over budget, costing an estimated $7.7 billion.
The cost overruns have led interest groups to search for alternative methods to dispose of the plutonium. While Graham is not opposed to alternative methods of disposal, he believes there are none.
“No other course of action is more efficient than going ahead and funding the facility that is already being constructed,” Graham said. “I support DOE in the matter and believe Secretary Moniz is in support of the program as well.”
Graham added that there will be future meetings on how to keep costs of the facility down. The next meeting, he said, will likely come in the next couple of weeks.
Scott also voiced his support of the project and said the meeting proved to be beneficial.
“I remain committed to finding a solution to responsibly funding the project and am very encouraged to see both sides sitting down to work through these issues,” he wrote in an email. “I will continue to stress to DOE the importance of the MOX plant and facilitate discussions to ensure its success.”
The MOX project received $343 million in funding from an appropriations committee this fiscal year – about $23 million more than the federal budget request.
Despite the additional funding, the project would be in more danger of failing if the $30 billion estimate comes to fruition.
Graham added, “If the MOX project fails, it would be a devastating blow to the Savannah River Site, the state of South Carolina and the entire country.”
The Standard reached out to MOX Services – the contractor in charge of constructing the project – for a comment on the matter. The contractor referred the Standard to DOE and the Senate offices involved.
Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect the MOX project will cost up to $30 billion over its life cycle.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June.
Tom Clementsがコメント。02/19/14 at 08:55 AM
Mr. Suschena has hit one plutonium nail right on the head - given the total failure of DOE/NNSA and Shaw AREVA MOX Services to carry out an effective plutonium disposal program, it comes back again to members of the public to continue to push for a responsible approach. Since the beginning of the discussion about disposal of surplus weapons materials back in the early 1990s, we have strongly endorsed secure storage followed by immobilization in high-level waste. DOE has immobilized some plutonium at SRS and this remains a viable option. If only this option had been deployed in the mid-1990s, we'd be well on our way to immobilizing all the surplus plutonium at a far cheaper cost than what has been spent on the failed MOX program. This has been presented over and over but the backers of the mismanaged MOX program have derailed this approach and continue to benefit from the transfer of tax payer dollars into their coffers. Accountability is urgently needed to be applied to those who helped create the MOX debacle and our government is now being tested concerning this matter. I'd be glad to discuss all this at the next SRS Citizens Advisory Board meeting in Augusta, GA on March 24-25, so will see anyone who seriously wants to have a discussion at that meeting, where I have raised issues about the MOX debacle countless times. It says a lot that it continues to be the public who continues to stimulate this discussion and not the discredited managers of the MOX program.
「1990年代初頭に戻って余剰プルトニウムの処分方法の議論がはじまったとき、高レベル核廃棄物の中に固化(immobilization)して安全なストレージに保管することを強く主張した。 DOEはいくらかのプルトニウムをSRSで固定化して、これは今も有望な選択肢である。 もしこの選択肢が1990年代中期に採用されていたなら、失敗したMOX計画に費やしたものよりかなり安いコストですべての余剰プルトニウムを固化できたはずだ。」
Bonaponta in 原発 2014年2月20日 午前 09:20 JST