Energy Dept. Accuses Bechtel of Botching Nuclear Cleanup in Washington

Sunday, October 23, 2011
Once a cornerstone of America’s nuclear weapons production, the former nuclear fuel factory at Hanford, Washington, is now a colossal clean-up project that has dragged on for decades, cost billions of dollars and sparked controversy between the federal government and the company in charge of the reclamation.
Since closing down in 1989, Hanford has become the most challenging environmental remediation in North America. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the Hanford site contains more than 130 million cubic yards of radioactive soil, thanks in large part to the dumping of 475 billion gallons of contaminated wastewater into the ground during the Cold War.
Complicating the cleanup project are accusations that Bechtel National Inc. has failed to do its job properly while implementing the tasks of removing radioactive soil and man-made materials. Some workers have turned into whistleblowers to draw attention to scientific assessments that have been dismissed and managers who have allegedly abused their power. Bechtel also has been accused of rushing procedures in order to get paid quicker.
The Department of Energy, which oversees the effort, has been criticized for not providing expert staff to monitor the work of Bechtel and subcontractors
Current estimates place the cost of remediating Hanford at $120 billion.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Hanford's Nuclear Option (by Joshua Frank, Seattle Weekly)

Plutonium Cleanup in Washington State Could Take Millennia (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


Leave a comment