Earl Blumenauer, a U.S. House Representative of Oregon, recently retracted a proposal to take $30 million from the Savannah River Site's MOX project and redirect that money to a different national program.
The amendment could have potentially been part of the FY 2014 Water and Appropriations Bill, which was passed by the House last week.
According to Blumenauer's office, the proposed transaction would have taken that money and used it for programs that seek to secure vulnerable weapons of mass destruction materials all over the world.
More specifically, the funds would have been redirected to two other national programs: the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and Nonproliferation and International Security, both of which are currently managed by the National Nuclear Security Administration.
“The Congressman wanted to offer the amendment to make sure Congress wasn't shortchanging nonproliferation efforts,” said spokesperson Patrick Malone. “With all the uncertainty in the Middle East, this would be the worst time to do so.”
The amendment, along with several others, would have been considered in last week's House hearings.
However, Blumenauer has stated that the amendment was not filed due to time constraints.
“He was unable to remain on the floor due to the length of the amendment process,” Malone said. “We'll be looking at another appropriate legislative vehicle to right-size the nuclear arsenal in the future.”
Blumenauer's retraction followed the denial of another amendment to take money from the MOX project.
The House denied an amendment proposed by California Congressman John Garmendi to take $1 million from MOX and redirect the money to the National Nuclear Security Administration for various uses.
“While there are considerable and valid concerns about the project's management and cost growth, the United States must fulfill its end of the plutonium disposition agreement,” said New Jersey Congressman Rodney Frelinghuymen, a ranking member of the House.
“More delays will only raise costs,” he said.
MOX is a primary component in the United States' program to dispose of surplus weapon-grade plutonium and serves as part of the nation's disposal agreement with Russia. Opponents to the project have surfaced since its beginning, with a major complaint being cost overruns.