Tracking highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the key nuclear weapon materials

Further increase in the cost of U.S. plutonium disposition program

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According to a Public Integrity report, a study by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that the construction cost of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) could be as high as $10 billion - almost 20% higher than the previous estimate of $7.7 billion. The total cost of the program to dispose 34 tonnes of weapons grade plutonium could be as high as $34 billion. Part of the increase is due to the fact that the utilities, who have been reluctant to use MOX fuel in their reactors, would likely ask DoE to pay a fee to do so.

In a recently issued report, "Plutonium Disposition Program: DOE Needs to Analyze the Root Causes of Cost Increases and Develop Better Cost Estimates"(GAO-14-231), the U.S. Government Accountability Office criticized NNSA for failing to perform a proper assessment of the cost of the program and analyze the causes that increased its cost.

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