Sen. Graham will abandon hold on Moniz nod if Obama backs off MOX plant closure

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says he will abandon his hold on Obama’s pick to head the Energy Department, Ernest Moniz, if the president agrees to drop a search for alternatives to the MOX fuel plant in South Carolina, The Hillreports. 

Obama’s choice of Moniz to head of the DOE after the departure of Steven Chu received bipartisan support and is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate.

Graham’s hold stems from concern that the administration’s search for alternatives will lead it to ultimately abandon the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel processing plant at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The MOX program exists to reprocess plutonium once meant for use in nuclear warheads into fuel for nuclear plants. If the project is abandoned—due to its cost overruns amid belt-tightening in Washington—Graham fears his home state could be left holding the proverbial bag, in this case filled with weapons-grade plutonium.