A Savannah River Site 10-year plan states that no direction has been given to begin a cold stand-by for the Site’s Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, or MOX; however, a federal agency reported earlier this year that it is working with the MOX contractor to commence a cold stand-by at the top of the fiscal year.
The Department of Energy outlined several concerns, changes and accomplishments in its Ten Year Site Plan Update – a document dated June 2014 that was prepared for the Energy Department by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the Site’s management and operations contractor.
The plan states the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Fissile Materials Disposition Program may be impacted due to the federal budget request’s attempt to place the MOX project in a cold stand-by.
“However, neither formal approvals have been received nor has contract direction been given to commence cold standby as of this report,” officials added in the report.
Reports surfaced earlier this year that the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, would be working with the MOX contractor during the current fiscal year to implement a cold stand-by during the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.
DOE spokesman Jim Giusti said as of today, he is not aware of any changes to the June report that states there is no direction on entering a cold stand-by. The Aiken Standard also attempted to contact NNSA to retrieve an update on the status of the cold stand-by implementation but did not hear back from the agency before press time.
In addition to MOX, the Ten Year Site Plan Update referenced several other Site concerns including the lack of funding and delays on waste cleanup and tank closures, the Site’s aging workforce and the need to update the aging infrastructure.
With infrastructure, the report states that cannibalization of parts, costly piecemeal maintenance and temporary modifications have been performed in order to sustain functional performance of many facilities, equipment and systems.
“This has resulted in an excessive, expensive and inefficient utilization of resources and increased the cost of future capital infrastructure investment,” officials wrote.
Giusti added in an email that SRS is participating in the DOE infrastructure assessment which will provide a thorough analysis of infrastructure condition and functionality.
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.