The National Nuclear Security Administration was warned the cost of a plutonium-processing plant at Savannah River Site was at a high-risk of steeply increasing before construction.
Piece by piece, Savannah River Site's old P-Area powerhouse is coming apart. A subcontractor cut a deal to dismantle the 47-year-old building in return for the scrap metal, and all that will be left there a few months from now is a grass field. That won't be true for P-Reactor, a drab concrete structure a few yards away, or for most of the other 130 surplus buildings SRS spends an estimated $25 million a year to maintain. At least not for several more years.
Federal investigators found no evidence that Westinghouse Savannah River Co. officials accepted kickbacks in return for a proposed computer services sub-contract. But the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General's five-month investigation unveiled several other flaws with the $265 million proposed deal. Rumors of illegalities ran rampant at Savannah River Site last fall as Westinghouse was finalizing an agreement to let California-based Computer Sciences Corp. provide computer support to the plant.
Savannah River Site consistently underestimated worker injuries and illnesses that were significant enough to be reported to the Department of Energy, a government audit revealed. Nearly 28 percent of 93 selected employee injury and illness cases in 1995 were underreported or incorrectly classified as non-work related, the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General said. Other federal defense sites were found to have the same problem. But an SRS official on Friday blamed confusing federal regulations for the inadequate reporting.