U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) was joined by fellow members of the South Carolina congressional delegation yesterday, including Congressman Jeff Duncan, in asking the U.S. Department of Energy to follow through on its commitment to South Carolina and the mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility at Savannah River Site. The delegation sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking him to ensure the administration funds the completion of the MOX facility in order to uphold a longstanding international agreement to dispose of 68 metric tons of weapons grade nuclear material while responsibly managing taxpayer dollars. Senator Scott and his colleagues also invited Secretary Moniz to visit Savannah River Site for a firsthand account of the need to finish the facility and begin operations.
In addition to Senator Scott, the letter was signed by Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressmen Jim Clyburn, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, Mick Mulvaney, and Tom Rice.
The letter reads, “As you are aware, the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposes significant cuts to the MOX program, which if enacted undermines America’s ability to uphold the PMDA, abandons our international commitment to dispose of 68 metric tons of weapons grade plutonium, places additional burdens on the taxpayer that could reach over $1 billion, and violates commitments made to the state of South Carolina.
“On August 9, 2013, the Aiken Standard reported the projected 500 layoffs at the MOX facility will cost $42 million from the annual payroll in five local counties. There is no question the lost jobs and economic activity in the region due to cuts to the MOX program will have significant and far-reaching consequences throughout all five impacted counties.”
“With this unfortunate news in mind, we would like to take this opportunity to extend an official invitation to visit SRS in person to see firsthand the critical programs underway at SRS that rely on support from the Department of Energy. This visit will give you an opportunity to gain a better appreciation of not only the work being done at SRS but also the site’s significance to the surrounding communities.”