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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today notified Bechtel National Incorporated (BNI) that it will fine the company $165,000 for violations of the Department's nuclear safety requirements.  BNI is the primary design and construction contractor for the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) located at the Hanford Site in Richland, Washington.

The Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV) issued today cited a series of violations that occurred during the design and construction of the WTP between October 2001 and February 2006.  Violations include failures in quality processes to control design changes, and to ensure vendor-supplied equipment met nuclear safety specifications.

The proposed civil penalty of $165,000 is based on the significance of the violations yet reflects substantial mitigation granted by the Department due to corrective actions taken by BNI to prevent recurrence of the deficiencies.  If left uncorrected, the design and construction problems could have adversely affected the operation of WTP to process radioactive waste being stored at the Hanford Tank Farms and posed potential safety and health risks to workers and to the public. Following this PNOV, BNI will have 30 days to respond with any objections to the notice.

The Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 1988 authorizes the Energy Department to undertake regulatory actions against contractors for violations of its nuclear safety requirements.  The enforcement program encourages departmental contractors to identify and correct nuclear safety deficiencies at an early stage, before they contribute to or result in more serious events.

Learn additional details on this and other enforcement actions.

Media contact(s):

Megan Barnett, (202) 586-4940