SEN. GRAHAM: …
So my state, Madame Chairman, years ago accepted 34 metric tons of plutonium with the promise we would dispose of it in a way to make the world safer, create jobs in South Carolina and Georgia and at the end of the day not be stuck with this stuff. So we’re halfway through building the MOX facility and I want to compliment the Obama administration. You’re the first people to ever actually build anything. We’ve been talking about it forever. Now we’ve got about a $2 billion cost overrun. Is that correct?
MS. MILLER: Oh no. It’s much larger than $2 billion.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: It’s huge.
SEN. GRAHAM: Are you sure?
MS. MILLER: Well, the estimate a year ago was that the cost to — the full cost of construction would be about $4 billion. We are now entertaining a baseline change proposal from the contractor for nearly $8 billion.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Oh my goodness.
SEN. GRAHAM: Is that right? The last numbers we were given were around 6 (billion dollars). Let’s say it’s — let’s say it’s 8 (billion dollars). We’re saying it’s 6 (billion dollars).
SEN. FEINSTEIN: (Off mic.)
SEN. GRAHAM: Yeah. Yeah. Let’s just — let’s just live on the edge here.
MS. MILLER: I think the contractor is hoping they can save money. They’re now talking about —
SEN. GRAHAM: Mm-hmm.
MS. MILLER: — what they might do. But that’s — there’s no proposal to us for a $6 billion amount.
The above exchange amongst Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and acting National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Neile Miller took place at the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee’s April 24 hearing on the Fiscal Year 2014 NNSA budget request.
Just, wow. Not sure which is more stunning: The cost growth of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel project or Sen. Graham’s ignorance of it. For a realistic assessment of the program you’re unlikely to see generated by Sen. Graham’s press shop, Ed Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists is your man.