The Department of Energy on Tuesday gave Bechtel National a rating of “satisfactory,” and 47.9% of the maximum performance fee available for 2018, for its work on the Waste Treatment Plant at the Hanford Site in Washington state. That performance evaluation was good for $3.77 million out of a total available $7.87 million in the calendar year.
Bechtel National in 2000 received a DOE contract to design, construct, and commission the nearly $17 billion plant that will convert millions of gallons of radioactive waste into a glass form for disposal. The company is working now to begin treating low-activity radioactive waste by a federal court deadline of 2023. The court required the Energy Department to have the plant fully operational, including treating high-level waste, in 2036.
The fee percentage awarded by the Energy Department is in line with some of the weaker evaluations Bechtel has received since it voluntarily agreed not to take any fee in the second half of 2012 as a show of good faith. The Energy Department ordered construction stopped at the plant’s Pretreatment Facility and part of the High-Level Waste Facility in the second half of 2012 after technical issues were identified for parts of the plant handling high-level radioactive waste.
The Energy Department’s 2018 scorecard recognized key achievements that included improved project performance measurement capabilities related to schedule and collaboration with the Washington state Department of Ecology on permits for a new support facility at the plant, the Effluent Management Facility.
Areas needing improvements were related to quality assurance, documented safety analysis evaluations, and management of the Material Handling Facility laydown yard for construction materials.
Valerie McCain, the Bechtel project director, said in a message to employees that she has asked the contractor’s leadership team to review the areas needing improvement and identify actions that can be taken.