The federal government is demanding that the company building a giant nuclear waste treatment plant in Washington state provide records proving that the steel used in the nearly $17 billion project meets safety standards. The U.S. Department of Energy says in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that records needed to ensure that the structural steel used in the project is safe are either missing or of “indeterminate quality.” “This condition is a potentially unrecoverable quality issue,” said the letter sent March 6 from the agency’s Office of River Protection in Richland, Washington, to Bechtel National Inc., which is building the long-delayed plant to dispose of wastes created in the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. The agency gave Bechtel National 14 days to provide proof that work on the project should continue. The letter from the Office of River Protection, which is named for the Columbia River that flows through the Hanford site, did not contend that the structural steel in the Hanford Tank Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant was defective. Rather it says that records proving the steel can perform its safety function were missing or of poor quality. The agency directed Bechtel “to promptly investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the procurement, receipt and acceptance of materials installed … to justify the continuation of work,” the letter said.
Q13 Fox 16th March 2018 read more »
In the fall of 2015, inspectors discovered that improperly designed and installed machinery at a massive nuclear expansion project in South Carolina could allow radiation to escape into the surrounding community if problems were not corrected, according to once-secret SCE&G documents. Such problems weren’t isolated as workers scrambled to build two nuclear reactors northwest of Columbia. Similar flaws are detailed in tens of thousands of documents released recently by SCE&G to environmental groups, whose lawyers hope to use them to prove the utility’s customers deserve refunds for the now-abandoned project. The legal case, spearheaded by Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, could be the fastest route to refunds for SCE&G customers who unwittingly have been forced to pay $2 billion over the past decade for two nuclear reactors that won’t be built. If the groups can convince the S.C. Public Service Commission that SCE&G spent money foolishly, the commission could order refunds by the end of 2018, if not sooner, Sierra Club lawyer Bob Guild said.
The State 17th March 2018 read more »