The FY2015 budget proposal released by the U.S. administration, will effectively terminate the construction of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) in Savannah River:
Following a year-long review of the plutonium disposition program, the Budget provides funding to place the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina into cold-standby. NNSA is evaluating alternative plutonium disposition technologies to MOX that will achieve a safe and secure solution more quickly and cost effectively. The Administration remains committed to the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, and will work with its Russian partners to achieve the goals of the agreement in a mutually beneficial manner.Earlier, the Department of Energy estimated that construction of the facility would cost about $10 billion and the total cost of the plutonium disposition program via MOX route could reach $34 billion. About $3.9 billion has been spent so far and the facility is reported to be about 60 percent complete. The press quoted Anne Harrington, the deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, as saying that
"What we mean by (cold standby) is that we would perform activities associated with protecting the facility and equipment from elements and ensuring they are maintained. ... We will protect the investment should the project be restarted or used for something different."It is unlikely, however, that the MOX project will resume. The process of evaluating alternative routes could take about 12-18 months.