Friday, April 4, 2014
AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW)--For the first time, New 12 is getting a chance to speak with leaders of the MOX facility currently under construction at Savannah River Site. The facility would allow the US to complete an agreement with Russia to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium. However, in his latest budget, President Obama has ordered the project into cold stand-by mode.
Currently, MOX is 60% completed with already having spent $4 billion dollars on the project. 1,200 people are currently employed as part of the construction team. On Friday, leaders of MOX said a shutdown could bring a massive economic shock to the CSRA.
“What we have heard from the Department (of Energy) is that the intent with cold standby, “said David Jones, VP of Areva-MOX, ”is the impact would be an almost immediate layoff of the construction workforce.”
State and local leaders have expressed some of the some of the same concerns since the announcement of the possible shutdown. In March, the state of South Carolina filed a lawsuit naming the Department of Energy calling the possible shutdown unlawful.
MOX officials say that to complete the final stages of construction and run the facility over its lifespan would cost no more than $13 billion. But a recent report by the DOE says that figure is closer to $30 billion.
At present, MOX has received no instructions from the federal government to stop construction but officials believe that it could be imminent.