Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was very pleased Savannah River Site is in line to receive increased funding under the 2008 Defense Authorization bill.
Graham is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The bill passed committee unanimously and will now be sent to the full Senate.
“With this budget the federal government can live up to the commitments it has made to the state of South Carolina when it comes to cleanup and new missions,” said Graham. “I’m very pleased with the work of the committee and appreciate the support of my colleagues in recognizing and rewarding the hard work done at the Site. I will work with appropriators to fund the important work being done at the Site.”
Among the major Site highlights of the legislation:
- Overall the Site has been authorized to receive funding of $1.28 billion, $74 million above the President’s budget request.
- Soil and ground water remediation, nuclear facility demolition and deconstruction, and nuclear material stabilization authorized for $573 million, $74 million above the President’s request.
- Tank cleanup is fully funded at the President’s request of $706 million including $128 million for Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF).
- The MOX program at the Site is authorized to receive $487 million equal to the President’s request.
- Oversight of the MOX program has been returned to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is recognition of its role as a critical nuclear nonproliferation program and its strategic importance to the national security of the United States. Last year, oversight of MOX was transferred to DOE’s office of Nuclear Energy which has oversight of commercial nuclear power.
- The Russian fissile material program will receive an additional $10 million to continue the joint gas reactor technology demonstration program. The gas reactor is a more efficient burner of excess plutonium than conventional reactors. The committee also noted that the Russian Government and the U.S. jointly fund this effort and that Russia’s support for this program will exceed the U.S. contribution.
“MOX is and always has been a national security issue,” said Graham. “Keeping MOX under the national security umbrella will help in our efforts to obtain future funding and begin operation of the MOX facility. Turning weapons grade plutonium into nuclear fuel is the ultimate example of turning swords into plowshares. This budget plan makes clear that my colleagues and I who serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee remain strongly committed to the MOX program.”