South Carolina Official Press Trump to Save Nuke Plant Project

(CN) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and state’s Republican congressional delegation have asked President Donald Trump to reconsider a plan to shutter a half-built nuclear fuel facility in the state.

Thethe multibillion-dollar facility at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina, known as the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication or “MOX” Facility, was intended to reprocess weapons grade plutonium fuel for commercial reactors.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruling the Energy Department to go forward with plans to close it.

But McMaster and his fellow Republicans argue closing the facility would cost hundreds of jobs and waste more than $7.6 billion already spent.

A spokesman for the Republican governor said after the meeting that McMaster appreciates Trump’s time and attention “and his commitment to resolve this matter in a manner favorable to South Carolina.”

McMaster “advocated on behalf of South Carolina and brought to light an important issue that our people are facing, and he made it clear that he will not allow our state to become a dumping ground for the world’s nuclear waste,” spokesman Brian Symmes said..

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the delegates told President Trump that the state continues to “violently disagree with the decision to terminate the MOX program without a viable pathway forward.

“We also told him the proposed plan by the Department of Energy of dilute and dispose in New Mexico is not viable and simply will not work,” Graham said in a statement.

Graham blames the long-planed nuclear plant’s troubles on lack of adequate federal funding and the contractor which allegedly embroiled the program in corruption.

Construction of the MOX facility began in 2007 and the President Barak Obama administration first proposed canceling the program and the current administration followed in suit.

In July of this year, South Carolina Electric and Gas abandoned the project following a legacy of mismanagement of the facility’s development.

Graham hopes to get the MOX program back on track.

“Stopping a program that is seventy percent complete and replacing it with a new half-baked program that won’t work is yet another example of what is wrong with Washington,” Graham said. “DOE has badly mismanaged this program, but they should bear the responsibility for that mistake, not South Carolina.”

He stated that if the DOE moves forward with scrapping the program, he will push back hard.

“I will view it as the federal government breaking its commitment to South Carolina.”

South Carolina’s other senator, Republican Tim Scott, called the meeting productive and said he was hopeful that Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry were listening to the concerns expressed by state officials.

“We wanted to make sure that we make very clear that keeping weapons-grade plutonium in the Palmetto State is a non-starter,” Scott said in a statement. “The bottom line is, we need to figure out how to make this energy either commercially viable or get it out of our state.”

He said the President was open to the officials’ comments and concerns.

“Overall, we had a very productive conversation with the President and are hopeful that he is listening to our concerns and that we will hear better direction heading in the next few weeks,” Sen. Scott said.

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