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MOX is a Golden Hammer of Waste

Photo of the Mox plant with the words Taxpayer Boondoggle over top

This week the Washington Times selected the Department of Energy’s Mixed Oxide Fuel Facility (MOX) for its Golden Hammer, the paper’s award for waste, fraud, and abuse in government.  POGO couldn’t agree more.

MOX is a total taxpayer boondoggle. It was designed to convert weapons-grade plutonium into mixed-oxide fuel for U.S. commercial nuclear reactors, but the facility is over budget, behind schedule, and lacking even a single customer. Its sole remaining purpose seems to be pork barrel spending for South Carolina. And even by that standard, it’s exorbitantly expensive. A conservative independent assessment by the Aerospace Corp. predicts that continued Congressional funding at the rate of $345 million per year will bring the lifecycle costs of this program to $114 billion.

To say it’s unaffordable is a gross understatement. But what also caught POGO’s eye was another instance of the revolving door that undermines taxpayer confidence in government. It turns out that Bryan Wilkes, formerly the spokesperson for the agency charged with overseeing the Golden Hammer, has moved on from the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) to become the spokesman for the MOX contractor CB&I Project Services group.

We always sensed Mr. Wilkes was actually working for the MOX contractors while he worked for the government, now it looks like he’s finally being paid to do so.

By: Danielle Brian
Executive Director, POGO

danielle brian Ms. Brian's areas of expertise include: National Security, Government Oversight, Wasteful Defense Spending, Ethics, Open Government, Whistleblower Issues

Topics: Energy and Natural Resources

Related Content: Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX)

Authors: Danielle Brian

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