A Tennessee lawmaker said plans for a bomb-uranium plant in his state would proceed, despite a pending review, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
Representative Charles Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) told the newspaper he was confident that plans for the Uranium Processing Facility will move forward after discussing the multibillion-dollar project with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and House Appropriations Committee members.
"There is no opposition to UPF being built. It is going to be built. The nation needs it, and it’s going to be built in Oak Ridge," Fleischmann said this week. The uranium plant is slated for construction at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, where it would assume the responsibilities of the facility's aging "9212" building.
UPF expense projections have increased over the years, and a forthcoming report would examine options for keeping the costs of any replacement uranium capabilities between $4.2 billion and $6.5 billion. That cost range is currently the replacement facility's official estimated expense, but other projections for the project have ranged between $10 billion and $19 billion.
When asked whether he opposed alternative means of meeting U.S. uranium needs, Fleischmann said he hopes "to see [the Uranium Processing Facility] built the way that it best serves the needs of our nation."
"But, as I say, there is no backing off from the fact that UPF is going to be built," he added.
"We have all got to be fiscally responsible in the way that we do this ... [but] after consultation with countless others, [what] is clear is UPF is going to be built and fulfill its mission," the lawmaker said. "Do I want that done in the most cost-effective way? Obviously."