South Carolina sues DOE over ending nuclear fuel plant plans

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South Carolina sued the U.S. Department of Energy over the government’s proposal to end plans for the mixed oxide fabrication plant under construction in the state.

Reuters reports that the state says plans to end construction violate a non-proliferation treaty with Russia. The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility was intended to turn weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear reactor fuel to be used at U.S. nuclear power plants. The facility, located at the Savannah River Site, was started under the now-ended Megatons to Megawatts program.

The lawsuit asks a judge to force the government to continue funding the plant, the article said.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said in its fiscal year 2015 budget proposal to Congress it wanted to put the plant into “cold standby,” citing cost overruns.

“As part of an ongoing analysis of options to dispose of U.S. surplus plutonium, it has become apparent that the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility will be significantly more expensive than anticipated, and therefore, the Budget Request places the MOX Facility in cold stand-by while the Department evaluates plutonium disposition options,” the NNSA said in its budget proposal.

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