Tank farm contractor rated 'very good'

By Annette Cary, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 22, 2014 

The Hanford tank farm contractor has received a rating of "very good" from the Department of Energy for its work in fiscal 2013.

Washington River Protection Solutions received 81 percent of the pay available based on a performance evaluation of programs. It earned about $6.5 million of almost $8 million available.

The percent of pay is lower than the 88 percent earned in fiscal 2012 for performance.

However, the DOE contractor received 100 percent of the money possible for specific scopes of work, such as tank leak assessments and pressure testing of pipes. The total came to $12.6 million.

In fiscal 2013, the contractor received ratings of "very good" for conduct of operations, general management, quality assurance compliance, nuclear safety, environmental regulatory management and safety program implementation.

However, two subcategories of general management -- business systems management and contract administration and compliance -- fell to a rating of "good" from "very good" in the previous year.

Neither DOE nor the contractor would comment on the the rating drop in those subcategories.

DOE noted in a letter to Washington River Protection Solutions that it gave fair consideration of the significant funding turbulence in fiscal 2013. Because Congress passed no budget, the contractor's funding was based on a continuing resolution at the prior year's spending levels, with more money switched to the tank farms later in the year. Mandatory federal budget cuts, or sequestration, also hit the contractor in the spring.

Washington River Protection Solutions was pleased with DOE's recognition of strong performance overall, said Wyatt Clark, the contractor's project operations manager, in a statement.

"Progress continued in tank waste retrieval, as did the modernization of equipment and important infrastructure and improved stewardship and overall management of risk," he said. The company also hit a milestone of 7 million hours worked without a lost-workday injury.

Washington River Protection Solutions also recognizes that it has opportunities for improvement and will challenge itself to better its performance, he said.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews

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