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A Pox on the Mox – Trump budget to stop Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility

Platts 23rd May 2017  The Trump administration is proposing to end construction of a facility deigned to convert 34 mt of plutonium from surplus nuclear weapons to nuclear reactor fuel, concluding it would “be irresponsible to pursue this approach when a more cost-effective alternative exists.”

The administration, which Tuesday unveiled its proposed fiscal 2018 budget, said it will direct CB&I Areva MOX Services to develop a plan “as soon as practical,” to halt construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and securely shut the facility by late 2018.

The 2018 fiscal year starts October 1. Congress must authorize and appropriate fiscal 2018 spending and the president must sign the budget bill. The $340 million that Congress appropriated in an omnibus budget resolution for fiscal 2017 was earmarked primarily for the installation of ductwork and to seal openings in the facility used during

The fiscal 2018 proposal states appropriations for the MOX project after this fiscal year are “to be determined,” with no dollar amount specified. A justification for terminating the MOX project that the US Department of Energy provided Tuesday noted that the facility’s $4.8 billion cost projected in 2007, with a startup date of 2015, had ballooned
to $17.2 billion by 2016, with 2048 the earliest date, by which mix-oxide fuel could be produced. DOE now estimates the completion cost at up to $26 billion.

DOE noted that analysis it and “external independent analyses” have conducted “have consistently concluded that the MOX approach to plutonium disposition is significantly costlier and would require a much higher annual budget than an alternate disposition method, ‘Dilute and Dispose.'”


May 26, 2017 - Posted by | - plutonium, reprocessing, USA

1 Comment »


    Dilute and dispose could send waste to a facility owned by Trump large donor-fundraiser Doug Kimmelman’s Energy Solutions. Or perhaps they will be involved in dilution: According to the DOE- Office of Inspector General (OIG): “Notably, Los Alamos National Security, LLC and its subcontractor, Energy Solutions, added potentially incompatible materials to waste stored in drums during the waste remediation process at LANL’s Waste Characterization, Reduction and Repackaging Facility (WCRRF)…. As noted, the specific cause of the radioactive release at WIPP has not been determined. Yet, the addition of these potentially incompatible materials to nitrate bearing TRU waste drums during the waste remediation process has resulted in problems that the Department will ultimately need to address.…. in September 2013, Los Alamos National Security, LLC and Energy Solutions began using a liquid acid neutralizer with an ingredient that was highly reactive with oxidizers and was, therefore, potentially incompatible with the nitrate salts. According to a Department official, the majority of the nitrate salt bearing drums that had liquids was neutralized with this particular liquid acid neutralizer.”

    Comment by miningawareness | May 31, 2017 | Reply

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