April 28, 2015

Wyden Blasts DOE Hanford Contractor for Wasting Millions of Taxpayer Dollars, Demands Investigation


Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today demanded an investigation into questionable contracting practices at the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Washington State and blasted the DOE for its lack of oversight, citing an internal report from a project management contractor obtained earlier this year.

The report from Bechtel National, Inc., dated January 9, 2015, shows that about $277 million of taxpayer money has been spent on work orders that have not been completed at the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant. It also shows that it is costing roughly $5.3 million a year to keep the contracts in place for just one portion of the plant known as the Pretreatment Plant. The Waste Treatment Plant is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Work on the Pretreatment Plant has been halted since 2012 because of unresolved design and construction problems.

In a letter today, Wyden asked Department of Energy Inspector General Greg Friedman to investigate Bechtel’s activities at the Hanford site and what role the DOE played in potential mismanagement of taxpayer funds.

“The DOE has been mismanaging the cleanup at Hanford for three decades,” Wyden said. “I am outraged that the Department claims it doesn’t have enough money to clean up Hanford yet allows such an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers deserve to know how their money has been spent and the citizens of the Pacific Northwest deserve to have this place cleaned up.”

Wyden has repeatedly called on the Department of Energy to improve oversight and safety practices at Hanford, starting with a law he wrote more than 20 years ago while in the House of Representatives that required the DOE to monitor risks of leaks from single-shelled storage tanks.

Read Wyden’s letter to the DOE’s inspector general here and find the Bechtel report here.

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