Administration Budget Fails to Support Russian Nonproliferation Agreement; Underfunds MOX Project
March 04, 2014
CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 4, 2014 – The president’s FY15 budget request for the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) proposes placing the project on "cold-standby." The insufficient budget proposal and policy direction for the MOX Project hamstrings the achievement of this critical nuclear weapon nonproliferation mission and fulfillment of our signed agreement with Russia.
This critical swords-to-ploughshares project achieves nuclear nonproliferation by permanently transforming U.S. weapon-grade plutonium into civilian purposes. Because of its ability to render the material permanently unusable for nuclear weapons purposes, MOX was identified as the sole disposition pathway for weapons plutonium in 2001, a decision reaffirmed by the administration in 2010 and supported by annual appropriations by the U.S. Congress since construction began in 2007. The administration’s proposed budget and policy for the MOX program will not achieve this critical goal, and will leave many tons of excess weapons-grade plutonium in its weapons-usable state for the foreseeable future.
We are disappointed that after multiple direct negotiations with the Department of Energy (DOE) to firm the construction cost and schedule, and after recently receiving additional construction funds and reprogrammed funds from Congress, the DOE calls for, in essence, a cessation of a previously approved program. We are once again reminded that a budget submission is a request, and one step in a long, deliberative process. We look forward to congressional input to this deliberation and to the added perspectives of affected stakeholders from across the country.
We note that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) says it conducted a "year-long review" of the project that they say may provide alternatives more quickly and cost effectively, and for this reason the MOX Project will be stopped. However, we have not seen the results of this review, but we would welcome the opportunity to do so.
We remain dedicated to the MOX Project’s swords-to-ploughshares mission as the most efficient option to fulfil the administration's nonproliferation commitment.
AREVA Inc. Press Office
AREVA Inc. North America