Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417
– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased the Senate Armed Services Committee had fully funded the U.S. MOX program for Fiscal Year 2007.
Construction of the MOX facility at Savannah River Site (SRS) is scheduled to begin in fall 2006. Earlier this week, Graham announced that an estimated 500 jobs related to construction of the MOX facility will be coming to the Site.
“I’m pleased and grateful to the committee for fully funding the MOX program,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “With full funding we’ll be able to start construction in the fall and move toward completing the facility. The MOX program is vital to our national security and we will continue to work together to ensure it is adequately funded. The citizens of South Carolina, along with the Savannah River Site workforce, should be proud of the role we are playing in making the world a safer place.”
The Senate’s full funding for the MOX facility at Savannah River Site totals $368.2 million. $289.5 million will go toward construction of the facility. Additionally, the committee approved $78.7 million in funding for the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility to be constructed at the Site.
Last week, a House panel slashed $150 million in construction funding for the MOX facility at the Site. On Wednesday, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) successfully added $34.7 million in the House Armed Services Committee back to the MOX program.
The Site is also scheduled to receive $1.16 billion in cleanup activities at the Site. Graham was able to secure $80 million over the president’s original budget request. This is also $50 million more than the current House Armed Services Committee figure.
“I believe restoring $80 million will help the site continue its cleanup work,” said Graham. “It hopefully will also create stability for the workforce at SRS throughout the budget cycle.
“I will continue meeting with the Department of Energy, along with members of the South Carolina and Georgia congressional delegations, to make sure our accelerated cleanup efforts are adequately funded,” said Graham. “We must protect the local environment and the taxpayer’s wallet by cleaning up these tanks in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The Site has done its part to embrace reforms that allow for sound environmental polices to be implemented at a substantial savings to the taxpayer. Now we need DOE to keep its funding commitments to the Site.
“I hope these numbers can hold in the House-Senate conference,” concluded Graham.