Reading Room

Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request for Nuclear Weapons Programs - Blog #1

Tuesday, February 9, 2015
Posted by Marylia Kelley

President's Budget Drives Stake into the Heart of Plutonium Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Plant; Project Terminated

The Mixed-Oxide Fuel Facility (MOX), at the DOE's Savannah River Site in South Carolina, has been a boondoggle of epic proportions. Tri-Valley CAREs and other groups have long opposed it as a dangerous and wasteful approach to surplus plutonium disposition, for which cheaper and safer alternatives exist.

Despite ongoing support for the MOX from local politicians, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget's budget overview (released today), the line item of "Nonproliferation Construction" goes from $340 million for FY2016 to $270 million requested for FY2017.

It states that "Currently, the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) is the only project in [the Nonproliferation Construction] program. However, beginning in FY 2017 the MOX project will be terminated. The Department will complete pre-conceptual design for the dilute and dispose (D&D) option to establish Critical Decision-0 (CD-0), Approve Mission Need, and begin conceptual design in late FY 2017" (page 398).

After years of work against this boondoggle, the White House has realized its a non-starter. Now the work begins to ensure that the alternative surplus plutonium disposition strategy, other than MOX, that the agency chooses is an improvement.

Click here for the White House Office of Management and Budget FY2017 Dep't of Energy Budget Overview

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