Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) voted in support of and applauded the Senate Armed Services Committee's markup of the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act.
At Senator Graham's request, this legislation contains important provisions that reverse the Obama Administration's reckless decision to put the MOX Fuel Fabrication at Savannah River Site (SRS) in ‘cold standy.'
Graham, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been a long-time supporter of the MOX program. He noted several reasons the Senate legislation is notable:
• Additional MOX Funding: The Senate Armed Services Committee authorized $145 million more than President Obama requested in his budget (total $341 million);
• ‘Cold-Standby' Option Dismissed: The Committee clearly states the money needs to be used for construction of the MOX facility and not place the facility in ‘cold standby.'
"The Obama Administration's decision to suspend construction on the MOX facility is both ill-conceived and dangerous," said Graham. "The Senate Armed Services Committee took the first step in rejecting the Obama Administration's reckless efforts to put MOX in ‘cold standby.'
"The Obama Administration refuses to face the reality there is no viable alternative to MOX," said Graham. "In 2000 we first signed an agreement with the Russians where we identified the MOX program as the disposition path for the 34 metric tons of weapons grade plutonium held by the U.S. in excess of our defense needs. The Russians have agreed to reduce their plutonium stockpile by the same amount. Now is not the time to change course on the MOX program and try to renegotiate anything with the Russians.
"We are working in a collaborative way to reduce the life cycle cost of the MOX program," said Graham. "It is possible to reduce costs, but scrapping the MOX program is a non-starter."
The legislation is expected to be considered by the full Senate later this year.