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Federal Report Blasts Hanford's Waste Treatment Plant Project

Northwest News Network | Jan. 18, 2013 5:04 p.m.

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RICHLAND, Wash. – A federal watchdog agency says work should stop on parts of Hanford’s troubled Waste Treatment Plant. That’s the complex factory in southeast Washington being built to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. A new report out Friday says the project will cost even more and take even longer.

The new report by the federal Government Accountability Office says the U.S. has paid contractors millions of dollars for work they didn’t do right. And the agency recommends trying to recoup those tax dollars.

The GAO called the U.S. Department of Energy’s management of the Hanford project “weak.”

“By just about any definition, [the] … project at Hanford has not been a well planned, well-managed, or well-executed major capital construction project.”

The report goes on to say that additional cost increases — beyond the current $12 billion price tag — and schedule delays of years are, “almost certain to occur.” The report adds some of these problems were identified years ago.

The Department of Energy points out that Energy Secretary Steven Chu and a hand-selected team of experts have been working to resolve technical and management issues with the project.

On the Web:

Hanford Waste Treatment Plant report (Government Accountability Office)

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