By Derrek Asberry
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and several other members of the state congressional delegation asked the U.S. Department of Energy to follow through on building the MOX facility at the Savannah River Site.
In a letter to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, Scott asked for completion of the facility to uphold the country's agreement with Russia to dispose of 68 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
The letter was signed by Scott, as well as other leaders, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C.
"As you are aware, the President's Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposes significant cuts to the MOX program, which if enacted undermines America's ability to uphold the PMDA (Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement), abandons our international commitment to dispose of 68 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, places additional burdens on the taxpayer that could reach over $1 billion, and violates commitments made to the state of South Carolina," Scott wrote in the letter.
Scott also cited recently reported figures on employment impacts in the letter. According to an economic impact study commissioned by the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, the 500 MOX layoffs could strip $42 million from the local payroll in five surrounding counties. These include Allendale, Barnwell and Aiken counties in South Carolinena, and Richmond and Columbia counties in Georgia.
"With this unfortunate news in mind, we would like to take this opportunity to extend an official invitation to visit SRS in person to see firsthand the critical programs underway at SRS that rely on support from the Department of Energy," Scott added in the letter. "This visit will give you an opportunity to gain a better appreciation of not only the work being done at SRS but also the site's significance to the surrounding communities."