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)