DOE Plans for $4.6 Billion Cost to Convert the Ill-Constructed MOX Plant into a Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP) at Savannah River Site by 2026-2030; Money to be Spent on Top of $8 Billion Wasted on MOX
Plan to Seek $442 Million for PBP in Fiscal Year 2021 Confirmed in Feb. 26 Budget Document
Columbia, South Carolina – A budget document released by the U.S. Department of Energy late on Wednesday, February 26 reveals that the agency has assumed a stunning projected cost of $4.6 billion to convert the poorly constructed plutonium fuel (MOX) building at the Savannah River Site into a Plutonium Bomb Plant (PBP). This amount of spending reveals that DOE and contractors aim to repurpose the failed MOX project into a perpetual money machine, according to the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch.
The budget document, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s funding request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2021, confirms that the agency is seeking $441 million for “repurposing” the MOX building into the unjustified Plutonium Bomb Plant.
The massive amounts of requested or anticipated funds reveal that the MOX plant is in poor shape and internal components, such as piping and HVAC systems, will have to be ripped out and much construction reworked.
“Plans to throw vast sums of our money at an unjustified, rushed Plutonium Bomb Plant, central to a new nuclear arms race, is a DOE formula for failure and, like the mismanaged MOX project, is guaranteed to run far over budget and fall far behind schedule,” according to Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch. “Sadly, it is no surprise that the failed MOX project, on which $8 billion was wasted, is turning into a money machine for private contractors who aim to feed off creation of a Plutonium Bomb Plant at SRS,” added Clements. The Plutonium Bomb Plant would make plutonium “pits” (or triggers, which cause the nuclear explosion) for thousands of nuclear new and refurbished nuclear weapons, all part of a new plan to engage in a dangerous and costly new nuclear arms race.
The overall DOE budget request reveals a massive increase in nuclear weapons activities. The NNSA request is up 18.4% from Fiscal Year 2020, to $19.8 billion. The Weapons Activities’ budget request is $15.6 billion, up 25.2 percent above the FY 2020 enacted amount, according to a NNSA news release of February 10, the day top-line items of the budget were released. Meanwhile, the DOE site clean-up budget absorbs the brunt of the increase in pit production, from about $7.5 billion appropriated in FY20 to a FY 21 request of $6.1 billion. “The huge decrease in clean-up funding and exploding increase in nuclear weapons reflects reversed, unjustifiable budget priorities,” according to Clements.
Photo: Presentation to Sierra Club (John Bachman Group) by Tom Clements, SRS Watch director, Jan. 27, 2020, photo by Paul Palmer
Full news release: