December 21, 2005

Status of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility

The audit disclosed that the cost of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Facility (MOX) will significantly exceed the amounts reported to Congress. As of July 2005, the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA's) unvalidated estimate for the design and construction of the MOX Facility was about $3.5 billion, which is $2.5 billion more than reported to Congress in 2002. NNSA's previous estimate of $1 billion for the facility's design and construction was reported in the February 2002 plutonium disposition plan presented to Congress. NNSA reported that it had a high degree of confidence in the estimate because the MOX technology was well-established and based on proven processes used in Europe since the 1960s, and it expected modifications to the technology to be relatively minor. NNSA also stated that the facility's design was about 60 percent complete at the time of the 2002 report.