For more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Energy and its private contractors have tried to build the plant to turn Cold War-era nuclear weapons into fuel that could be used in nuclear power plants. It’s known as MOX, short for mixed oxide fuel fabrication. The project became a federal priority around the turn of the century, and was intended to be a cornerstone of the United States’ effort to reduce its aging stockpiles of nuclear weapons. But for more than four years, it has been on the federal chopping block. In federal studies and congressional testimony reviewed by The Post and Courier, government officials laid out a long list of problems with the contractors and the project in general. Two presidential administrations have tried to put an end to the costly undertaking. Each time, however, South Carolina’s powerful congressional delegation revived the project, siding with the contractors who disputed the findings of independent consultants and federal agencies. Now, it may be too late. Congress gave U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry the power in March to put an end to the 11-year construction effort, and the federal agency is already taking action.
Post & Courier 20th May 2018 read more »