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Former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson says SC nuke fuel project needs to continue


COLUMBIA, South Carolina — A former U.S. Energy Secretary wants the U.S. Senate's top Democrat to push the Obama administration to keep alive a South Carolina project to turn weapons-grade materials into commercial nuclear reactor fuel.

In a letter dated Aug. 21, Bill Richardson told Nevada Sen. Harry Reid the mixed-oxide fuel project under construction at the Savannah River Site is the best way to fulfill an agreement with Russia.

Richardson was secretary when the countries agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium. Officials say that amount is equal to 17,000 warheads.

The project known as MOX is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. But Richardson says several reports proposing an alternative method to dealing with the plutonium were "made-to-order" by opponents of the project.

Kinnard can be reached http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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