The cost of the U.S. MOX plant is estimated to be $7.7 billion

DOE is currently forecasting an increase in the total project cost for the MOX facility from $4.9 billion to $7.7 billion and a delay in the start of operations from October 2016 to November 2019. This estimate has been quoted in the U.S. Government Accountability Office report Department of Energy: Concerns with Major Construction Projects at the Office of Environmental Management and NNSA released on March 20, 2013 (GAO-13-484T). An earlier GAO report, released in February 2013, suggested the cost of the construction is about $6.8 billion.

According to NNSA officials and the contractor for the MOX facility, one of the primary reasons for the proposed cost increase and schedule delay is due to inadequately designed critical system components, such as the gloveboxes used in the facility for handling plutonium and the infrastructure needed to support these gloveboxes.

Life-cycle cost estimate for the Plutonium Disposition Program. In addition to setting the cost and schedule performance baselines of the MOX facility and Waste Solidification Building, NNSA has developed a life-cycle cost estimate for the overall effort of the Plutonium Disposition Program to dispose of at least 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium. NNSA officials told us that there has never been a review of this life-cycle estimate by an outside entity but that they are conducting an independent assessment of portions of the life-cycle cost estimate, including the operating cost of the MOX facility.