Lydia Dennett in The Hill: A Recipe for Wasteful Spending
By: Lydia Dennett | October 7, 2016
In an oped in The Hill, POGO Investigator Lydia Dennett details how Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal with the US will affect a multi billion dollar construction project and how that boondoggle has been kept alive by politicians determined to put personal interests over good policy:
Question: What happens when a senator is determined to keep the money flowing into his state for a budget-busting boondoggle that’s wasting billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money?
Answer: You end up with a monstrosity like South Carolina’s Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) - a building that was supposed to cost $1.6 billion and take five years to construct. More than a dozen years later, it’s still not ready, and won’t ever be, and the Energy Department has already poured $5 billion into construction. Independent estimates found it may require a preposterous $110 billion to complete the whole MOX project. The latest estimated date of completion is 2048 - about eight presidential election cycles from now.
Now the last potential justification for continuing to fund the MOX project is gone. This week Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia would be withdrawing from a bilateral agreement signed in 2000 in which both Russia and the U.S. agreed to dispose of excess weapons grade plutonium. MOX was designed to turn that plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors but in addition to being preposterously over budget, the technology is questionable at best and lacks even a single potential customer.