Watchdog: Analysis needed of escalating MOX costs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A federal watchdog says officials overseeing a South Carolina project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into commercial nuclear reactor fuel should have a better handle on why costs have ballooned.

The General Accountability Office says in a report Thursday the U.S. Department of Energy needs to analyze cost increases for the mixed-oxide fuel program.

The MOX plant would be the first of its kind in the United States to create fuel from weapons-grade plutonium. It’s being built at the Savannah River Site, a former nuclear bomb plant whose reactors have been shuttered for years.

Construction began in 2007. Last year, the GAO said the project was more than three years behind its 2016 completion deadline and at least $3 billion over budget.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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