Business & Consumer

MOX facility layoffs

JACKSON, S.C. (WJBF) - The holiday season right around the corner and many people in the river region may face difficult times after losing their jobs. 

"When I first got here people were saying it could shut down," said Nuclear Safety Engineer Michael Fendler.

NewsChannel 6 first reported last month the MOX Project at the Savannah River Site would be shut down effective immediately. After spending almost two years on the job, Fendler received his pink slip.

He explained, "We got our warning letter today. Unfortunately, a lot of us were really disappointed. We kind of expected it to happen."

The completion goal of the MOX facility to convert nuclear grade plutonium into safe fuel to power homes-- no longer a reality.

"I'm very disappointed. The MOX was the first step in reprocessing for the country. Nuclear reprocessing is, you know, a multi-billion dollar industry and we're well behind pretty much every other nuclear-developed country in the world on reprocessing and MOX was the first step," said Fendler.

According to the Department of Energy, the MOX Project is costing taxpayers more than one million dollars a day and is about 3 decades behind schedule so the DOE pulled the plug. 

As for the future the MOX facility, Savannah River Watch Director Tom Clement recently told NewsChannel 6 that there is a discussion about it being turned into a plutonium bomb facility. Although, there is a long road ahead.

Fendler added, "Seeing another one of the titans fall its definitely a blow. Its something that we'll have to recover from for the next couple of years, decades, but I think as a nation people understand that nuclear is inevitable, you know. We are the future of clean energy in the country."

Between 1,800 and 2,000 people will be impacted due to the MOX Project closure.

NewsChannel 6 will continue to dig deeper into this story. 

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