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Can USA afford Oakridge’s $12 billion uranium processing folly?

missile-moneyEstimate for uranium facility goes from $600 million to $11.6 billion, LA Times, 28 Sept 13 It would be one of the largest nuclear weapons investments since World War II. The cost of a proposed uranium processing facility for nuclear weapons in Oakridge, Tenn., has soared as high as $11.6 billion — 19 times the original estimate — even as critics accuse the Energy Department of overstating the need for spare bomb parts.

Under a proposal unveiled in 2005, the manufacturing plant at the Y-12 National Security Complex would produce new uranium cores for the nation’s stockpile of aging hydrogen bombs.

But not long after the plan was disclosed, with an estimated cost of $600 million, the price tag began to climb. Now, the processing facility would be among the largest investments in the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure since the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb during World War II.

The facility has drawn sharp criticism by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington watchdog group, which advocates that the plan be scrapped. In a report issued Wednesday, the group cites a little-noticed report by the Army Corps of Engineers that made the $11.6-billion cost estimate and argued that the work could be done more cheaply at existing facilities……

The escalating cost reflects questions that have troubled the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons complex since the end of the Cold War: How long will the Pentagon need a stockpile of nuclear weapons, and how can the massive industrial network needed to maintain the bombs be kept going at an affordable level?…… http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-bomb-factory-20130925,0,6160248..story

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September 30, 2013 - Posted by | Uranium, USA, weapons and war

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