SAVANNAH RIVER SITE, SC (WFXG) - Employees at the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) fabrication facility at the Savannah River Site will keep their jobs through the end of September.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham announced Tuesday that the federal government committed to continuing construction of the MOX facility through the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Construction of the plant, which would turn 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors, was put on "cold standby" earlier this year when President Barack Obama made a 2015 budget proposal.
Graham, who has been outspoken in his opposition to the Obama administration's decision to put the project on "cold standby," spoke with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz about the decision to continue construction through September.
"In the short term, this decision will save thousands of jobs," Graham said. "However, there is still a long, arduous fight ahead. The secretary's announcement does not change the fact the president's FY15 budget submission to Congress places the MOX program in cold standby."
Graham said he will continue to work to with his colleagues in the Senate and the House to push the MOX project forward.
Construction began on the project in 2007 and is reported to be $3 billion over budget and more than three years behind its 2016 completion deadline.