United States to discontinue construction of MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility

In the FY2017 budget request, submitted to Congress, the administration proposes to terminate construction of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility. Here is the full quote from the document (p. 456 of the Volume I, links to previous IPFM posts added):

Currently, the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) is the only project in [the Nonproliferation Construction] program and would enable the Department to dispose of weapon-grade plutonium by fabricating it into mixed oxide fuel and irradiating it in commercial nuclear reactors. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, directed that construction on the MOX project continue and that cost studies and technology alternative studies be conducted. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015 mandated an independent assessment and validation of the 2014 Plutonium Working Group (PWG) analysis. The Department requested Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), [...] conduct this assessment. Aerospace Corporation completed two reports documenting its assessment of the April 2014 analysis. Additionally, in June 2015 the Secretary of Energy assembled a Red Team to assess options for the disposition of surplus weapon-grade plutonium. These analyses confirm that the MOX fuel approach will be significantly more expensive than anticipated and will require approximately $800 million to $1 billion annually for decades. As a result, the FY 2017 budget proposes that the MOX project be terminated. The Department will complete pre-conceptual design for the dilute and dispose (D&D) option to establish critical decision-0 (CD-0), Approve Mission Need, and begin conceptual design in late FY 2017.

The administration expressed its intent to terminate the MFFF construction in 2014, when it was put on "cold standby". However, later that year the Nuclear Regulatory Commission extended the construction license until 2025 and Congress continued to fund the construction activities. The decision to terminate the MFFF construction is likely to face continuing opposition from supporters of the project.