Energy agency tells Hanford contractor to return $48 million

YAKIMA – The U.S. Department of Energy has notified the contractor hired to build a waste treatment plant at the Hanford nuclear reservation that it must return $48 million the company has been paid as a performance fee for the project, which has been mired in cost overruns and delays.

The so-called vitrification plant will convert highly radioactive waste into glasslike logs for permanent disposal in a nuclear waste repository. The plant has long been considered the cornerstone of cleanup at the highly contaminated Hanford site.

Under its complex contract with the federal government, contractor Bechtel National could have earned as much as $445 million for building the plant. About $200 million was tied to a so-called cost-performance fee, paid out over the course of the contract, for meeting the plant’s estimated $5.4 billion budget. That budget has since skyrocketed.

So far, the company has been paid $48 million under the cost-performance fee provision. The Energy Department notified company officials by letter Wednesday that it wanted the money returned, saying it is now clear that Bechtel will not qualify for any cost-performance fee. The company has 45 days to respond.

John Britton, Bechtel spokesman, said company officials were still reviewing the letter but would respond in writing later. He also said the cost-performance fee is based on the current contract, which will have to be renegotiated.

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
No right turns on red gets a look, a bid to expand sports betting arrives

It’s a new week. Here’s what’s happening on Day 22 of the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

A man was injured and a woman found dead Sunday night after an RV fire in Marysville. (Marysville Fire District)
Woman dead, man burned in Marysville RV fire

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and Marysville Police Department were investigating the cause of the fire.

The final 747 is revealed during a celebration in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. The plane was rolled out Dec. 6 from the Everett assembly factory and delivered to the customer, Atlas Air. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Still jaw-dropping’: Last Boeing 747 takes the stage in Everett

Thousands, including actor John Travolta, gathered at Boeing’s Everett factory to bid goodbye to the “Queen of the Skies.”

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Lobbyist barred from WA Capitol after ruling he stalked representative

State Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline, obtained a domestic violence protective order against longtime lobbyist Cody Arledge.

(Lake Stevens School District)
Charges dropped for Lake Stevens teacher accused of harassing student

Prosecutors won’t pursue misdemeanor sexual assault charges against Mark Hein, who “has been absolved of wrongdoing,” his attorney said.

Karla Wislon holds a champagne glass while celebrating the closing sale of her home in Palm Springs, Ca. on May 14, 2021. (Family photo)
Former state Rep. Karla Wilson, 88, remembered as ‘smart, energetic’

Wilson served the 39th Legislative district from 1985 to 1991. She died Dec. 31.

Federal agents seized many pounds of meth and heroin, along with thousands of suspected fentanyl pills, at a 10-acre property east of Arlington in mid-December 2020. (U.S. Attorney’s Office) 20201223
Leader of Snohomish County fentanyl, meth ring gets federal prison

A search of Cesar Valdez-Sanudo’s property in Arlington unearthed kilos of drugs and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Port of Coupeville to make offer on Oak Harbor airport

The Port of Coupeville continues to pursue ownership of the A.J. Eisenberg Airport near Oak Harbor.

James Lewis
COVID still ‘simmering’ in the county, while booster uptake remains low

Meanwhile, flu and RSV cases have plummeted, suggesting the “tripledemic” could — emphasis on “could” — be fading.

Most Read