Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased U.S. and Russian negotiators had come to preliminary agreement on liability provisions which have slowed construction of the mixed oxide fuel (MOX) facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS). MOX is the process where weapons-grade plutonium is converted into fuel for use in commercial reactors to produce electricity.
“The preliminary agreement is very good news for the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, and the nation as it helps move our construction efforts forward,” said Graham. “I look forward to a formal agreement being reached in the coming weeks. MOX is a tremendous program and one that will pay dividends for years to come.”
Construction efforts at SRS have slowed as the liability provisions were negotiated. The liability provisions deal with American workers helping construct the Russian facility in Siberia.
“I recently spoke with Secretary Rice and told her I appreciate her hard work in addressing this issue,” said Graham. “MOX is a very important piece of our efforts to stop nuclear proliferation as it turns nuclear swords into plowshares.”
“To a terrorist like Osama Bin Laden, weapons-grade plutonium is more valuable than gold,” said Graham. “Under MOX, we’ll be able to take this material off the market and turn it into fuel to produce electricity in a commercial nuclear power plant.”
The agreement on liability requires a Russian presidential decree and then a formal signing of the pact by the two countries. The Russian Duma will then ratify the agreement.