|published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 ||36 Views :: 0 Comments|
By Frank Munger
From the Knoxville News Sentinel
May 21, 2013
|From B&W Y-12: The latest conceptual image of the Uranium Processing Facility released by the National Nuclear Security Administration.|
For the past couple of years, the government has stood behind a cost range of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion for the Uranium Processing Facility, but that range may not be able to contain the giant project's growing costs as the schedule gets pushed into the future and funding gets stretched out.
Todd Jacobson of Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor this week reported that, based on a Government Accountability Office briefing prepared for congressional committees, the cost of UPF could go beyond the $6.5 billion estimated cap and perhaps go well beyond it.
According to information in the GAO's 27-page briefing package, the "space/fit" problem that forced the UPF team to re-do the building's design to accommodate more equipment is a big part of the cost escalation. The GAO cited NNSA documents that say the space problem will add $540 million to the project's cost, delay the start of construction and delay the start of facility operations by 13 months.
|published Friday, March 01, 2013 ||618 Views :: 0 Comments|
By Matthew Daly
The Associated Press
It was not clear Thursday whether cleanup of the leaking tanks would be affected by the spending cuts. Overall cleanup efforts at Hanford — one of the nation’s most contaminated sites — would be curtailed, Energy Department spokesman Dan Leistikow said.
A report by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee said more than 1,000 mostly private workers at Hanford could be furloughed. Hanford and other Energy Department defense sites where radioactive waste is stored would be forced to suspend or delay cleanup activities and even shut down some facilities, the report said.
|published Friday, January 04, 2013 ||2596 Views :: 0 Comments|
Jan 04, 2013
By Thomas Clements
From the Aiken Leader Blog
|Photo by: High FlyerThis is what a $7-billion+ government-funded project being protected by big-spending politicians looks like at the end of December 2012. The plutonium fuel (MOX) MOX factory - in lower right in photo - now under construction at the Savannah River Site by Shaw AREVA MOX Services, was presented by DOE as costing $1.6 billion in 2004, with a completion date in 2007. Now, costs have skyrocketed and start-up remains speculative, underscoring concerns by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that DOE does not have in place proper management controls over costly, complex construction projects. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) estimates the overall remaining cost of the MOX project, including construction and the yearly operating cost of a stunning $500 million, is around $18 billion. A virtual blank check for MOX means that urgent clean-up projects at SRS and other important parts of the DOE budget are under growing stress. The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has hidden both the cost of construction of the MOX plant and the life-cycle cost of the project from the public and Congress. The big question remains: how long can this deceptive tactic hold? |
The Department of Energy (DOE) has formally announced the next meeting of the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB) – on Monday, January 28, 2013; 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, January 29, 2013; 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Double Tree, 2651 Perimeter Parkway, Augusta, Georgia.
The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and make comments on SRS issues of concern. See below for text of Federal Register notice of Friday, January 4, 2013.
While a detailed agenda will be released soon, it is expected that the lengthy delay in a key high-level waste facility, the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), will be discussed. Delays in the facility were outlined in an article in in Columbia, South Carolina newspaper on January, 2, 2013:
“SRS factory years behind schedule, millions over budget” (The State, January 2, 2012)
Cost impacts due to the 5-year delay in SWPF start-up will likely have severe impacts on the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) budget. A full explanation of how the project will be financed, a detailed presentation on the reliability of the design, who is accountable for the costly delay and design problems and when the facility will start up must be presented at the meeting, according to the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA).
Also to be raised at the meeting will be the controversial idea being promoted by special interests to bring the nation’s highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors sites to SRS for "consolidated storage." This scheme will likely be widely opposed by residents in the Aiken-Augusta area and throughout South Carolina.
Those concerned about SRS becoming a spent fuel dumping site are encouraged to attend the meeting and voice their concerns. To facilitate Aiken residents in expressing their concerns and learning about spent fuel dumping schemes, a “Don’t Waste Aiken” Facebook page has been established: https://www.facebook.com/DontWasteAiken
|published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 ||2990 Views :: 0 Comments|
Nov 21, 2012
By Thomas Clements
From the Aiken Leader
Photo by: Tom Clements, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
CEO-designate Bill Johnson address the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board meeting on November 15. The issue of TVA's testing and use of plutonium fuel (MOX) was notably absent from the board's agenda. Based on cost, technical and public relations problems, Mr. Johnson will have an easy decision before him to terminate TVA's consideration of weapons-grade MOX, a new fuel form never before commercially used. According to the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, the MOX turkey must not be pardoned and Congress must put it on the chopping block.
Columbia, SC – The Tennessee Valley Authority, the main nuclear utility that the Department of Energy is pursuing for use of plutonium fuel (MOX) made from surplus weapons plutonium, continues to stand up to DOE pressure to test and use the experimental MOX fuel.
The TVA board met at the Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville, Alabama on November 15 and the controversial MOX issue was avoided during board deliberations. In attendance was Bill Johnson, the new TVA CEO set to begin in January 2013. Even though DOE is now preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on MOX use, the MOX issue has not yet appeared on the agenda of the TVA board and TVA continues to maintain its stated position against MOX use.
In the public “listening session” at the start of the board meeting, the Alliance of Nuclear Accountability and several other organizations and individuals spoke about the foolishness of MOX testing and use by TVA and urged the agency to withdraw its consideration of MOX. ANA delivered a letter to board members pointing out problems with pursuit of MOX.
|published Monday, November 26, 2012 ||1848 Views :: 0 Comments|
By the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
Nov 25, 2012
It’s past time to take a hard look at what to do with the U.S. agency that manages the nation’s nuclear weapons complex.
In a rare bit of bipartisan common sense, New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, and Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican who is retiring at the end of the year, have introduced an amendment to the pending Defense Authorization Bill seeking to establish an advisory panel to take just such a look at the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Udall wants the panel to come up with ways to reform the NNSA, which is responsible for the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs. It oversees the U.S. nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. Together they employ about 20,000 people here.
The New Mexico labs and other NNSA installations have been plagued with untenable cost overruns, spiraling budgets and bureaucracies mired in red tape.
|published Tuesday, November 06, 2012 ||1975 Views :: 0 Comments|
Nov 4, 2012
By John Fleck
From the Albuquerque Journal
Pictured is a B61 nuclear bomb. The National Nuclear Security Administration has underestimated by billions more how much it will cost to refurbish the nation’s stockpile of B61s, according to an independent cost assessment. (COURTESY OF wikipedia)
The National Nuclear Security Administration, already under fire for billions of dollars of cost overruns, has underestimated by billions more how much it will cost to refurbish the nation’s stockpile of B61 nuclear bombs, according to an independent cost assessment commissioned by the agency.
Already juggling its budget to cope with existing problems, the agency will likely need to come up with another $1 billion per year for the next few years if the project is to go ahead as currently envisioned, according to a summary of the assessment obtained by the Journal.
|published Friday, October 26, 2012 ||2570 Views :: 0 Comments|
Oct 26, 2012
By John Fleck
From the Albuquerque Journal North
After more than seven years’ work and $213 million, the new security system at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s most important nuclear weapons manufacturing site doesn’t work.
A lab spokesman acknowledged the project suffered from construction problems, and an internal government memo suggests longstanding concerns by the federal government about the way Los Alamos has managed the project.
The project, intended to provide tighter security at the lab’s Technical Area 55, where plutonium research is done and nuclear bomb parts are made, was scheduled to be finished early next year. Instead, it will be delayed indefinitely.
|published Friday, October 12, 2012 ||3423 Views :: 0 Comments|
Oct. 11, 2012
By Rob Pavey
From the Augusta Chronicle
Environmental groups asserted this week that design changes and other factors will add at least $2 billion to the cost of the government’s mixed oxide project at Savannah River Site.
The one-of-a-kind MOX plant, which has been under construction six years, is designed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium by blending small amounts with uranium to make fuel rods for commercial power reactors – a process that forever renders the plutonium unusable for weapons.
In joint comments responding to a revised supplemental environmental impact statement addressing changes in the MOX program, 40 environmental groups said updated budget figures are needed – both for construction and operating costs.
|published Thursday, October 11, 2012 ||2861 Views :: 1 Comments|
October 11, 2012
Yesterday, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), in conjunction with over 40 other public interest organizations, submitted comments
opposing the MOX plutonium fuel program to the Department of Energy (DOE). The Mixed Oxide Plutonium fuel, or MOX, program would dispose of surplus weapons plutonium by turning it into experimental plutonium fuel (MOX). The groups oppose MOX for both fiscal and technical reasons and instead endorse preparation of a new analysis to review cheaper and safer options to manage plutonium as nuclear waste.
The groups’ comments were submitted as part of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) on plutonium disposition
. The Draft SEIS is required by the National Environmental Policy Act before the MOX program can move ahead. The comments focus on DOE’s poorly formulated plan for testing experimental MOX fuel and for its use in commercial nuclear power reactors. The cost of DOE’s plutonium fuel program, which has been poorly received by utilities, has soared, with about $17.5 billion yet to be spent. This figure is more than three times the cost of disposing of plutonium as nuclear waste.
|published Tuesday, October 02, 2012 ||1983 Views :: 0 Comments|
October 2, 2012
By John Fleck
From the Albuquerque Journal
Efforts to refurbish the U.S. stockpile of aging W76 nuclear warheads are falling behind schedule and threatening to bust the project’s budget, according to an internal Department of Energy investigation.
The problem “could have national security implications” as the federal budget crunch collides with the need to upgrade the nation’s aging arsenal, according to a report from the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General.
Built in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the warheads are carried aboard U.S. missile submarines. An estimated 768 are deployed, according to nuclear weapons analyst Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists. That number is more than any other nuclear weapon type in the U.S. arsenal.