Hanford Managers And Contractors Disagree Over $15 Million Fee

May 2, 2012

The Department of Energy says it’s considering whether to require a Hanford contractor to pay back a $15 million bonus. A new federal report says the bonus was for mixing tanks that managers have since been unable to prove are up to nuclear standards. Correspondent Anna King reports.

A new study from the Department of Energy’s Inspector General says that some important documents were lost at Hanford. Specifically, the paperwork that says whether some large mixing vessels at the waste treatment plant were built correctly. This is at the southeast Washington site’s treatment plant, meant to stabilize 56 million gallons of radioactive waste.

Now the question is whether$15 million should be returned to taxpayers. Bechtel – the government’s contractor building the plant – says it doesn’t plan on giving the money back. Bechtel director Frank Russo says in an all-employee letter that the $15 million bonus was awarded for a number of different milestones, including some work on the waste mixing tanks. And he says that only 10 of 2,000 mixing tank documents have been lost.

But a top federal Energy manager says in a letter to the Inspector General, the Department is looking into it and is still deciding.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio