- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama’s budget proposal would put on hold a South Carolina project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into commercial nuclear reactor fuel.

The proposed fiscal 2015 budget sent to Congress on Tuesday puts the mixed-oxide fuel project at the Savannah River Site near Aiken on “cold standby” while officials evaluate alternative ways to dispose of plutonium.

The U.S. Energy Department project known as MOX would be the first of its kind in the United States to create fuel from weapons-grade plutonium and represents an international nonproliferation effort.

Construction began in 2007, but the project has had years of delays as its costs have risen. Last year, the Government Accountability Office said MOX was more than three years behind its 2016 completion deadline and at least $3 billion over budget.

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