The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Obama Administration Ends Construction of MOX Facility

In 2000, the United States and Russia agreed to each dispose of 34 tons of plutonium that was produced for use in nuclear weapons, with most of it being turned into fuel for civilian power reactors.  Now, 14 years after deciding to build a plant near Aiken, S.C., that would have converted the plutonium into reactor fuel, the Obama administration has proposed to stop work on the site, which has already cost the government $3.9 billion. But South Carolina, eager to keep 1,600 construction jobs at the site, where much of the plutonium was made in the first place, is suing to keep the work going.

MOX is 'mixed oxide, mixing plutonium with uranium oxide.

Some speculate that the project could cost $10 billion and cost a billion dollars a year in operating costs.  The price of decommissioning could push the total bill to $35 billion.  That would be over $1 billion a ton.
If the project is, in fact, abandoned, it will join the Superconducting Super Collider, a particle accelerator in Texas canceled in 1993 after $2 billion had been spent, and the Clinch River Breeder Reactor, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., canceled in 1984 after $1.5 billion.
The senators from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, along with Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, chairwoman of the Senate energy committee, denounced the shutdown in a letter to President Obama, emphasizing that the plant was “the only congressionally authorized disposition path for weapons-grade plutonium.”
On Tuesday, the department said it would continue work until the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. But it said that unless it could get a promise from Congress of continued construction funding at a level of $500 million to $600 million a year until 2027, and an understanding that annual operating costs would be in that range once construction was completed, it would proceed with shutting the work down.
South Carolina sued in March in Federal District Court in Aiken, insisting that the administration had no right to stop work on a project that was carrying out the plan approved by Congress for disposing of the plutonium. (NYT, 4/29/2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment