05 January 2011

What's the Penalty and Profit of the Washington Group Int'l Cleanup job?

At USDOE site in New York, a USDOE contractor, Washington Group International (a URS subsidiary), directed workers to cut corners in order to meet timeline for cleanup of highly contaminated building – leading to large scale, massive,  radioactive contamination release to Mohawk River and over 3 acres. The penalty? Just being docked $1.8 million of possible profit payments out of $7.6 million. USDOE still paid the company $5.8 million in profit on the contract for the year – despite deliberate conduct that was likely a criminal violation of environmental laws. Washington Group is also a major Hanford contractor. This is an illustration of the need for oversight, contract reform and prosecution of environmental crimes at USDOE sites. 
Posted by Gerry Pollet, Heart of America Northwest

Knolls leaks cost $1.8M
Department of Energy penalizes atomic cleanup firm for air, water releases
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NISKAYUNA -- The federal government has hit the private company in charge of the cleanup of radiation-tainted buildings at Knolls Atomic Power Labs with a $1.8 million penalty because of poor performance that
caused radiation leaks into the air and the Mohawk River.

The U.S. Department of Energy took that action last month against URS, which has been running the cleanup for about two years as part of a $69 million contract to demolish two Cold War-era research buildings.

DOE spokesman Bill Taylor said Tuesday the penalty would come out of the potential $7.6 million maximum bonus that the company could earn under that contract, which is a "cost plus" contract. Cost plus means that DOE pays URS for all its expenses to run the cleanup, and then provides an additional payment as an incentive for good work.

Withholding part of such bonuses is "one tool DOE uses to hold its contractors accountable for poor performance," he said. Taylor said DOE has held back $1.5 million so far from URS, and will hold back the rest from future payments.

Read the rest of the story here

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