WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If it walks like pork and sounds like pork -- even with a French accent -- it's probably pork. And pork is what the Department of Energy's MOX Project is.
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As a key House subcommittee takes up funding for the problem-plagued, budget-busting nuclear fuel program, Senator Lindsey Graham's obsessive support of the project at the Department of Energy's Savannah River site in his home state of South Carolina is being targeted in an off-beat, on-target TV ad from Friends of the Earth. (See http://youtu.be/d2PTwods3Y4.)
The House Energy and Water Subcommittee is this week discussing Department of Energy funding for the MOX Project, which would make nuclear reactor fuel from surplus weapons plutonium. The Obama Administration has requested a large cut to the program both this year and in later years, possibly terminating the project. Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense and other environmental and public interest groups are campaigning for an end to MOX funding.The ad features pigs in lobbyists' suits with a twist at the end after it is revealed that one of the main beneficiaries of Graham's MOX madness is a French company, "sending tax dollars overseas." "We wanted to call out Senator Graham's determination to continue uncontrolled spending on a project that is $6 billion over budget, behind schedule and has no future market for its product," Tom Clements, Friends of the Earth's South Carolina-based nuclear campaigner. "MOX has become nothing more than a pork-barrel project used by Senator Graham to line the pockets of special interests." The French company AREVA is a main beneficiary of the MOX plant design and construction. (See http://www.taxpayer.net/library/weekly-wastebasket/article/mox-not-populi.) The 30-second "Oink" ad begins running today in Washington on FOX, MSNBC and on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, with a strong social media push including ads on Facebook and YouTube. It is also running on broadcast TV in South Carolina -- in the capital city of Columbia and in the Aiken- Augusta market, near the DOE's Savannah River site, where the $7.7-billion plutonium fuel MOX plant is under construction. The cost of constructing a factory at the Savannah River site to make mixed uranium-plutonium oxide fuel, or MOX, from surplus weapons plutonium has soared from $1.6 billion in 2004 to $4.8 billion in 2008 to $7.7 billion today. Clements, co-author of an upcoming article on MOX in Arms Control Today, said there are rumors in the Energy Department that the cost could reach $10 billion. In addition to being far over budget and more expensive than safer plutonium disposal options, there are no commercial nuclear reactors lined up to take any MOX fuel which might be produced if the plant can ever be finished or start up. MOX use in nuclear reactors makes the reactors harder to control and can contribute to higher radiation release in case of accident.