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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
By DERREK ASBERRY
A group that monitors the Savannah River Site denounced the Site’s Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, or MOX program, as well as the potential plans to send German shipments of nuclear to the Site.
The group voiced its concerns to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on July 28.
Tom Clements, the director of SRS Watch, spoke with Moniz and handed him a letter that spoke out against the MOX program.
The meeting also included members of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, who are also opposed to MOX and shipments of German fuel.
“We are deeply concerned that the mismanaged MOX program continues apace though it is very unclear if the MOX program can be funded in a sustainable fashion, if the plant as designed by AREVA can ever operate and if any MOX customers can be found,” Clements wrote.
The letter included a series of requests which include: continuing a plan to place the facility in a cold stand-by; hold DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the MOX contractor responsible for the cost overruns; and develop alternatives to MOX.
In addition to the MOX program, SRS Watch also asked that DOE seek a new direction with accepting shipments of highly-enriched uranium, or HEU, from Germany.
“The half-baked plan to bring graphite spent fuel from two closed commercial, gas-cooled reactors in Germany would result in German high-level waste being processed via a new proliferation-prone reprocessing technique and disposed of at SRS though the site is not a geologic repository,” Clements added.
The MOX program is part of a nonproliferation agreement with Russia to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
The program has seen cost overrun delays over the years and is projected by DOE to total $30 billion.
MOX advocates, including AREVA, have said the cost is closer to $17 billion.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June 2013. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @ DerrekAsberry.