The definitive end of MOX is approaching


June 3 — The mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility program at the Savannah River site is expected to be fully completed in fiscal 2022, and some related efforts will end sooner than that, according to latest federal budget documents .

“The end of the final physical project and the disposal of the assets remain on schedule to be completed by fiscal year 2021,” read a small portion of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget information released at the end of the month. latest. The “closing activities” – contractual and financial – “will be completed during fiscal year 2022 with the available balances from the previous year”.

The end of MOX, a failed nuclear fuel facility at the Savannah River site, has been brewing for years. Its official closing heralds the Department of Energy’s shift to Dilution and Disposal, a New Mexico dependent method of plutonium removal, as well as its continued production of plutonium wells, a business of increasingly expensive nuclear weapons.

The National Nuclear Security Administration shut down the MOX project in October 2018 – months after the move was promised by then Energy Secretary Rick Perry. A statement of work for the MOX shelving, reviewed by the Aiken Standard that year, emphasized the need for speed and precision: “The government demands that termination activities be completed as soon as possible and at the earliest opportunity. a minimum cost, in accordance with budgetary availability ”.

The National Nuclear Security Administration continues to work alongside the Savannah River Site Management and Operations contractor, currently Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, to address “project properties, plant, equipment and records. MOX, “Biden administration budget documents show.

The cancellation of the MOX contract effectively blocked millions of pieces of equipment, equipment and other materials. Much, however, is or was ready for reuse; a pair of massive diesel generators were sent to Louisiana this year to help fight flooding, for example, and the remaining thousands of pounds of stainless steel have been donated to more than a dozen schools and centers. career in 2019.

Dave Olson, executive vice president of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions for National Nuclear Security Administration capital projects, said last week that the MOX transition “involves the disposal of 9 million pieces of equipment that have been uninstalled, which MOX Services bought “.

“Two more projects, two more sites,” Olson said, referring to where some of the remains of MOX went. “We had auctions.”

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