Energy Nominee Moniz Fields MOX Project Questions

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing this morning on the nomination of Ernest J. Moniz to succeed Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy.

Moniz addressed a range of topics, including his support for nuclear energy, small modular reactors, and a consent-based process for managing used nuclear fuel.

He also engaged in a thorough and substantive exchange with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who posed a series of important questions related to the MOX Project under construction in his state.

Senator Scott’s focus on the fiscal and international consequences of failure to complete the MOX Project highlight the two choices facing the Congress:

1.) Secure funding to complete the 60% constructed MOX Project, delivering energy security and economic benefits while converting enough plutonium for 17,000 warheads into a form that can never be reusable for weapons or any other military purpose; or

2.) Suspend the MOX Project, diminishing U.S. credibility in future international negotiations and exposing taxpayers to the fiscal ramifications, including substantial costs to continue securing and storing weapons material on-site, payment of $1,000,000 a day in fines from the U.S. government to South Carolina for not meeting original project obligations, and the unknowable cost to pursue alternatives to MOX previously determined in the United States and throughout the world to be either inadequate or unproven.

Details in the video posted to Senator Scott’s site [direct link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/CaRxa1lms44?rel=0]…