Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is blocking a vote on the nomination of Ernest Moniz to be energy secretary over proposed funding cuts to a nuclear processing facility in his home state.
The U.S. Energy Department’s budget requested $503 million in fiscal year 2014, down from $667 million in 2012, for a program that includes a plant being built in South Carolina to convert weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear power plants.
The project is being led by a consortium that includes Paris-based Areva SA.
Tate Zeigler, a spokesman for Graham, confirmed that the senator had placed a hold on Moniz’s nomination. Bloomberg BNA earlier reported Graham was upset about reduced spending for the processing plant, which is behind schedule and over budget.
Graham planned to meet with Moniz, who serves as the head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tomorrow, Bloomberg BNA reported.