Australian news, and some related international items

USA Energy Dept scathing at failure of costly CB&I Areva MOX nuclear project

MOXFlag-USAEnergy Department issues scathing evaluation of nuclear project  February 28 The Energy Department has delivered a blunt assessment of the work done by one of the world’s biggest companies in the nuclear business: “Unsatisfactory.”

For a decade, CB&I Areva MOX Services has been under contract with the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration to design, build and operate a facility near the Savannah River in Aiken, S.C.

Yet the project — designed to convert weapons-grade plutonium and uranium into a mixed oxide fuel for commercial nuclear power plants — has been running far beyond budget and way behind schedule. Estimates now put the price tag at $17 billion.

On Dec. 5, the NNSA completed a scathing evaluation that branded several of the company’s claims about the state of the project “misleading” and “inaccurate.” The agency said CB&I Areva’s claims that the project is 70 percent complete “are patently false.” A separate September 2016 Energy Department report said construction was only 28 percent complete……

CB&I Areva is a venture created as a combination of Chicago Iron & Steel and the French nuclear giant Areva. The company did not return calls for comment……

One of the project’s sharpest critics Tom Clements, director of the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch, obtained the December NNSA assessment through a Freedom of Information Act request. He called the evaluation “devastating.”

“I have never seen an asessment like that. It all but calls them liars,” he said……

the Obama administration continued to say the MOX plant at Savannah River wasn’t practical. What started as a $620 million project in 1999 with a 2006 starting date has become a $17 billion project still decades away from a start state. By some estimates, it would require a $1 billion a year appropriation, which the Obama administration said was unlikely at best…..

The assessment said that while the contractor boasted of “zero order non-compliance,” in fact the NNSA found evidence of non-compliance.

Overall, the NNSA awarded nothing from the $2.7 million available for a bonus payment to the contractors. It said, “there continued to be a lack of transparency and openness in external communications with key project stakeholders by the contractor including continued release of misleading and inaccurate project information.”


March 1, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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