MOX, NRC, High Flyer

An aerial view of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, which is located at the Savannah River Site.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has signed off on the termination of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility construction license, yet another sign there will be no resurrecting the incomplete venture.

The NRC approved termination of the construction authorization on Feb. 8. Decision documents were made publicly available on the NRC website three days later.

MOX Services, the MOX project lead contractor, on Nov. 1, 2018 requested the NRC cancel its construction license within 30 days. The request was made via letter.

In the letter, MOX Services President David Del Vecchio said construction at the project had ceased. The work was now directed toward preservation of the facility and securing important documents and information, Del Vecchio wrote.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous U.S. Department of Energy agency, terminated the MOX project contract on Oct. 10, 2018.

MOX, located at the Savannah River Site, was designed to turn no less than 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear fuel. 

The original MOX construction authorization was granted in March 2005. Construction began in 2007. MOX Services then requested a license extension in 2014; the resultant NRC construction authorization was set to expire in 2025.

"The construction that had commenced included the [MOX] structure and a portion of the equipment that would have been needed to operate the facility," a portion of the NRC notice reads.

To date, more than 1,000 MOX workers have either been laid off or have received layoff notices.

Colin Demarest is the government and Savannah River Site reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin