October 14, 2005
The Savannah River Site is taking on the war on terror. They broke ground Friday for a Mixed Oxide Fuel plant at the site. The only catch, MOX isn’t definitely coming yet. News 12 is on your side with the benefits of landing MOX and why it isn’t a done deal.
The MOX facility will turn large quantities of the United States’ weapon-grade plutonium into energy. But the US and Russia have an agreement, they’ll destroy their plutonium together. SRS was waiting on Russia. But the two countries came to an agreement last month and now SRS is waiting on funding. But that’s not stopping the project.
They’re digging up dirt to prove a point. Leaders from South Carolina and Georgia put on a big show Friday, and they admit it.
“The commitment is there and we’re gonna show it,” said Rep. Gresham Barrett.
Friday’s groundbreaking was to show the world local and national leaders are working hard to make MOX happen. The US worked out an agreement with Russia, but the $336 million needed in next year’s energy budget isn’t there yet. Senator Jim DeMint says it will be.
“Now all the pieces are in place and I think the funds are going to be available,” DeMint said.
Because Russia drug its feet, MOX is already a few years behind its 2010 timeline. Delays led to a lawsuit against the Department of Energy by the Aiken County Council. Councilman Chuck Smith isn’t allowed to talk about the suit, but says today’s event is hopeful.
“There certainly have been a number of questions along the way and setbacks. This is an important move forward,” Smith said.
A sign MOX will end up in the budget, President Bush and his administration sent word of their support Friday. The National Nuclear Security Administrator Ambassador Linton Brooks came on behalf of the Bush administration.
“I’m absolutely convinced that sometime in the future you’ll be turning on your lights and be seeing by the light of former nuclear weapons,” Brooks said.
We see everyone from the president to Senator DeMint fighting for MOX. But they’re also fighting at the local level. Last week some of Aiken County’s councilmen were in Washington trying to make this happen.
The construction of MOX will provide 1,000 jobs and once it’s done it will provide 400 permanent jobs.