Source: Aiken Standard | Colin Demarest | February 20, 2020

MOX Poster, SRS Watch Forum (copy)

A poster showing the canceled Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site. The poster was on display at a Savannah River Site Watch public forum. Staff photo by Colin Demarest

Termination of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility will be completed in fiscal year 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest budget documents, a milestone marking the end of one multibillion-dollar project and, perhaps, the beginnings of another.

Mothballing MOX, a nuclear fuel facility canceled by the National Nuclear Security Administration in late 2018, has involved demolition and disposition of property, retrieving key materials and documents, laying off workers and readying the actual footprint for future use – likely plutonium pit production, the forging of nuclear weapon cores.

Dave Olson, the pit production mission director with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the top contractor at the Savannah River Site, last week said the closing out of MOX has left his team with roughly 9 million pieces of “uninstalled equipment” that were bought and never “put in.”

About 7 million pieces have been flagged for reuse in plutonium pit production as well as the Surplus Plutonium Disposition project, the MOX alternative more commonly known as dilute-and-dispose, a process to get rid of metric tons of declared-excess weapons plutonium.

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