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South Carolina’s Expensive Pit Plant

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The MOX Plant. NNSA photo

Dan Leone is indefatigable in deciphering the DOE/NNSA* budget and congressional hearings on it. He does not disappoint.

He speculates that the cost of repurposing the MOX facility in South Carolina into a pit factory is so enormous that it is impacting the budget for maintenance. Having been the chair of the Buildings and Grounds committee for the Board of Trustees of a small college, I can say that this is a politically easy decision. It’s easy to ignore maintenance until roofs start leaking. DOE goes through these cycles every few years.

As the MOX facility, the buildings were badly over budget and behind schedule, so it’s not surprising that repurposing would need a lot more money.

This is pure pork for South Carolina. Lindsay Graham is working hard.

I am more convinced now than when I wrote this that this facility will never produce a single plutonium pit.

*I am never clear on how to refer to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). It was created back in 2000 in an unconvincing attempt to reproduce the autonomy of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Sometimes I see it referred to consistently with that fiction, as though it were not a part of the Department of Energy (DOE). But it is a part of that organization.

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner

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