U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., reaffirmed his support of the Savannah River Site's MOX facility and other national defense programs during his campaign kickoff in Aiken on Monday.
The event also signaled the opening of Wilson's local campaign office at 681 Silver Bluff Road.
Wilson said he has been speaking with the National Nuclear Security Administration in hopes that it will reconsider its position on placing the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility in a cold stand-by.
“We all know that the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility is positive for the American people,” he said at the kickoff. “Can you imagine converting weapons-grade plutonium into green fuel? This should really be something that all Americans can support.”
One of the potential actions that could come with placing the program in a cold stand-by is renegotiating the MOX contract with Russia – an agreement that dates back to 2001.
Wilson said Russia's recent international actions make renegotiations a bad idea.
“The thought of us having to renegotiate with the Russians, in light of what they've done in Ukraine, is inconceivable to me,” he said.
In addition to SRS, Wilson spoke about defense cuts under President Barack Obama's administration.
According to the Congressman, the administration has reduced defense spending by $100 billion and has allowed a defense sequestration reduction of $650 billion.
“This administration is reducing the Army to the smallest size it's been since 1939, the smallest Air Force since it was created in 1947 and the Navy to the smallest since 1915,” he said. “There are really no other agencies that have had reductions enforced and freezes on pay.”
Wilson is preparing for the June 10 primary, and is currently scheduled to run against candidates Eddie McCain, Phil Black, Ed Greenleaf and Harold Geddings III.
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.