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Wyden Demands Investigation on Hanford Contractors

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden had to give up chairmanship of the US Senate energy committee, but he's not giving up his role as chief scold of the US Department of Energy. Wyden is demanding that the Energy Department's Inspector General investigate contracting practices at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington, along with lax oversight of the lengthy and costly cleanup of the old facility.

Wyden pulled no punches. He said - quoting here - The DOE has been mismanaging the cleanup at Hanford for three decades. I am outraged that the Department claims it doesn't have enough money to clean up Hanford, yet it allows such an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars - end quote.

The waste he referred to concerns work orders issued by Hanford's chief contractor, Bechtel National, Incorporated, which have not been completed. Wyden said it costs more than five million dollars a year to keep contracts in place for just one part of the cleanup called the Pre-Treatment Plant which is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Work has been halted on the plant since 2012 because of unresolved design and construction problems.

Wyden told the Inspector General that hundreds of millions of dollars have been mis-spent on components and services because of questionable actions by the contractor and lax oversight by the Department of Energy.

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