WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced and passed an amendment to the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which prohibits the Department of Energy (DOE) from terminating the MOX program at Savannah River Site.
The Graham amendment was approved by the full Senate Armed Services Committee during the committee’s consideration of the FY 19 NDAA. The legislation will be debated and voted on in the full Senate in coming weeks.
“By supporting MOX, I advocated for a mission that I thought was good for the world, the country and the state of South Carolina,” said Graham. “In good faith, we took weapons-grade plutonium with an understanding of what would happen to it. Now that agreement is being broken by DOE. And in terminating the MOX program, we will be tearing up the world’s largest non-proliferation agreement.
“DOE has abandoned MOX, but Congress hasn’t,” continued Graham. “The new plan from DOE is to take the material, dilute it and dispose of it in New Mexico. The problem with that approach is that it won’t work and the New Mexico delegation in the Senate does not support the material coming to their state. We have the opportunity to prevent DOE from repeating mistakes of the past. We know MOX works and we know dilute and dispose has problems that appear to be insurmountable.
“The impact of DOE’s decision is dire,” said Graham. “If the department allows MOX to fail, we already know dilute and dispose won’t work and it leaves us with weapons-grade plutonium – with a half-life of 24,100 years – without a clear pathway out of our state.
“Canceling MOX means our only pathway forward is gone,” said Graham. “We will have a $5.2 billion wasted investment that will become the most expensive deer stand in the history of the world.”
Audio of Senator Graham Discussing the MOX Program Earlier this Week is Available: