Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Chair, I oppose the amendment shifting funds from the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX).
On September 1, 2000, the United States and Russia signed the US-Russia Plutonium Disposition Agreement, with each nation agreeing to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium. Since that time, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has made the decision to disposition the weapons-grade plutonium by means of a Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) which is currently under construction at DOE's Savannah River Site (SRS), near Aiken, South Carolina.
In addition to providing a means to enable the United States to honor its international obligation to Russia, MOX will generate nearly $50 billion worth of nuclear fuel rods over its lifespan which will be sold by the federal government.
The facility, which is more than halfway completed, currently employs 2,600 individuals at the site and is responsible for over 2,000 additional jobs across 42 states which are directly related to the project.
Finally, the MOX facility plays a great role in the energy future of the United States. The nuclear fuel rods MOX will produce will provide power to the homes of millions of Americans.
The MOX facility is a vital asset to our country and I stand committed to taking every measure necessary to ensure that this worthwhile program is fully funded.