❝ Imagine you have a contractor working on your house. They quoted you a price and told you the project would be done in no time. Sure, you realize costs will probably go up some and the schedule will slip due to an unexpected problem or two.
But months turn into years, years turn into a decade, and now, 14 years later, you find that they’ve already spent five times their original estimate and they aren’t even halfway done!
That’s the situation the Department of Energy is facing with the contractor building a nuclear fuel facility in South Carolina.
❝ The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, known as MOX, is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that is behind schedule, over budget and will never be able to complete its mission.
Now the Army Corps of Engineers has released an independent cost estimate for the project that reveals things are even worse than we thought…
❝ MOX was originally conceived as part of an agreement between the United States and Russia in which each country pledged to dispose of weapons grade plutonium. But that was back in 2000.
As cost overruns and technical failures have become clear, the Department of Energy asked Congress to cancel the program in 2016. The South Carolina delegation, defending jobs in their districts, pushed back and claimed doing so would violate the agreement.
Last week, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin announced he would be withdrawing from the agreement. Without Russia being party to the agreement, the last remaining pretense for this boondoggle is shattered…
❝ While the facility was supposed to be fully constructed in 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers stated that MOX won’t be finished and ready for operations until 2048 — putting it 41 years behind schedule.
But even if Congress decides to accept spending $17 billion in taxpayer dollars and waiting 41 extra years for the facility, the project will never work…
Moreover, even if the facility were to work perfectly and produce the mixed oxide fuel as intended, there aren’t any commercial nuclear reactor companies interested in purchasing it. In 2008, the project lost its only potential customer and hasn’t been able to find a single replacement.
RTFA for all the gruesome details. This is how Congress functions on a good day. Bilateral agreement to fund local make-work projects even if they are valueless and provide no benefit to that local community.
Or in this case, providing no benefit to anyone at all. Except the favorite contractors of each politician involved.