"U.S. Moves to Abandon Costly Reactor Fuel Plant"

"The Energy Department is moving toward abandoning a half-built factory that has cost $3.7 billion so far and was intended to make reactor fuel out of plutonium from retired nuclear bombs — part of an agreement with Russia to shrink the world’s supply of nuclear bomb fuel after the cold war."

"The department’s estimate of the cost to complete the plant, at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C., has jumped to $7.7 billion from $4.9 billion. The Obama administration is seeking to reduce the construction budget for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, and has proposed allocating no money at all in subsequent years. If the plant were to be abandoned, the government would owe its contractors a cancellation fee that is likely to run into the tens of millions of dollars, according to experts, although details are not public.

Other countries, including France, have successfully made reactor fuel out of plutonium for years, which was one reason that policy makers in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush liked the idea. But officials now acknowledge that they did not have an accurate idea of the cost."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times June 25, 2013.

Source: NY Times, 06/26/2013