DOE yet to release report on projected MOX cost

  • Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Officials said the Department of Energy say they will release a study that projected the life-cycle cost for the Savannah River Site's MOX program to be $30 billion, However, there has been no word on when the study will be made available.

In February, the Energy Department reported it had conducted an assessment of the MOX program and concluded that the entire program would cost $30 billion over its lifetime.

After news surfaced that DOE conducted the study, Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R–S.C. and a host of other individuals and organizations have asked to see the study, and have also asked why the information has not been made available sooner.

NNSA official Joshua McConaha told the Aiken Standard they will be releasing the study, but that they don't have an exact timeline for when it will be released.

NNSA officials also would not comment as to why the study was not made available after the results came out.

News of the $30 billion life-cycle has prompted AREVA – a partner of the MOX contractor, Shaw AREVA MOX Services – to discredit the DOE study.

Vice President David Jones reported during an Aiken Chamber breakfast on Friday that AREVA thinks the life-cycle cost is closer to $17 billion than $30 billion.

“Approximately $4 billion has been spent to date on this facility. The cost to complete the construction for this facility is estimated at just over $3 billion. The startup and commission cost are about $1 billion and the cost to operate the facility over a projected 20-year-life are in the order of $8 billion,” Jones said.

“I add that up and that tells me that the remaining costs of this project are under $13 billion. This number is consistent with the report that was issued recently by the Government Accountability Office,” he added.

As Jones said, the GAO released a study back in June that projected the cost of MOX construction would be $7.7 billion.

The MOX project is part of a nonproliferation agreement with Russia designed to turn 34-metric-tons of weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear fuel.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.

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