Savannah River MOX report 6 months overdue to Congress

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The Savannah River nuclear site in Aiken, S.C., received one of the biggest stimulus awards -- $1.6 billion -- to clean up the radioactive waste from the production of nuclear materials for the nation's weapons stockpile. Nearly a quarter of the money will be used to seal off two reactors that were built in the early 1950s to produce plutonium and tritium, including the P-Reactor

The National Nuclear Security Administration is more than six months late on its annual status report to Congress on the mixed oxide fuel project at Savannah River Site.

The document, mandated under the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act, was due Feb. 15 and was to include updated details on the $4.8 billion project’s construction progress and completion schedule, among other things.

Critics of the project say the delay is another sign the government’s program to dispose of surplus plutonium from dismantled nuclear bombs could be facing more problems.

“Failure to deliver this required report reveals that the Department of Energy does not know if the MOX plant construction will be completed and if the facility will ever operate,” said Tom Clements, Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator with Friends of the Earth.

In June, the House Appropriations Committee expressed new concerns about the project’s escalating costs and the quest to find clients for the fuel.

“The costs of this program continue to escalate, with current estimates of as much as $9.7 billion, just to construct the needed facilities,” committee members wrote in the fiscal 2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.

Source: nuclearpower.einnews.com, via Nuclear Power News: Tennessee Nuclear Power News
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