The US Department of Energy's (DOE's) multi-billion-dollar project aimed at disposing weapon-grade plutonium, the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF), will continue construction despite DOE asking to terminate the programme and Russia suspending the arms control agreement underpinning the project.
In its fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017) national defence authorisation bill, passed by the House on 5 December and Senate on 8 December, Congress requires the DOE to "carry out construction and project support activities" relating to the Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) facility, which has struggled with massive cost growth and schedule delays, leading the DOE to seek alternatives.
About USD4.5 billion has been spent on the MFFF so far, and supporters' and detractors' estimates to complete and then operate the facility vary widely, from USD15 billion to USD30 billion or more.
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