WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar's recent comments in favor of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Project that will dispose of plutonium from nuclear weapons was praised today by former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, who helped launch key nuclear agreements with Russia.
"I've been saying that we need more respected nonproliferation and foreign policy figures supporting nuclear nonproliferation and fissile material disposition, and I'm pleased that Senator Lugar has joined me in supporting MOX.
Richardson said the MOX facility, which is more than two-thirds complete, is vital to the United States keeping its side of the landmark Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), which was signed in 2000 and amended in 2010. The agreement calls on both the United States and Russia to dispose of at least 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium each through MOX. The combined 68 metric tons of plutonium is equivalent to approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons, which he said continues promoting nuclear nonproliferation worldwide.
"When Senator Lugar says that stopping construction on the MOX facility now would derail one of the most important accomplishments in modern U.S.-Russian relations, Congress and the Obama administration should listen," Richardson said.
While in the United States Senate, Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn were instrumental in putting nonproliferation on the map while working together across party lines to keep America's national security strong. "These are the kinds of bipartisan voices we need supporting the MOX Project and nuclear threat reduction," Richardson said.
Richardson has long argued that the United States must keep its nuclear nonproliferation commitments and finish building the MOX nuclear fuel facility in South Carolina. "Let's finish the job building the MOX Project and keep nuclear material security as a part of U.S. national security policy," he concluded.
SOURCE Former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson