The Department of Energy has lifted restrictions barring its contractor Bechtel National from making many large purchases at the Hanford vitrification plant without case-by case approval.
The restrictions were set this summer as the result of an audit covering all Bechtel National work, which extends beyond the $17 billion Hanford plant under construction to other DOE work at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Pantex, Texas, and at a chemical weapons destruction projects in Colorado and Kentucky.
The February audit found concerns with procedures for documenting purchases from subcontractors and promptly notifying the government of subcontract awards.
Bechtel spent nearly $211 million on procurements for the Hanford vitrification plant in fiscal 2017.
Of that $126 million was spent in Washington and Oregon, including $94 million spent in the Tri-Cities.
Bechtel National was notified on Monday that additional requirements have been lifted, said Fred deSousa, spokesman for Bechtel’s nuclear, security and environmental work.
“We experienced no negative impact to ongoing work at the Waste Treatment Plant or any other work,” he said about the Hanford vitrification plant.
“We completed minor updates to our purchasing procedures for the areas that the government believed could be improved,” deSousa said. “The government has now validated that we have implemented these changes to their satisfaction.”
The February audit found that required paperwork was missing in some subcontracts to document that the subcontractor had not been suspended or debarred.
Some subcontract files also were missing certification from the subcontractor that federal money would not be used for lobbying.
Other selected subcontracts didn’t have complete information about how the subcontractor was chosen, and the price.
In some cases Bechtel did not follow its policy of giving 24-hour notice to the government that it was awarding a contract.
Bechtel had updated its procedures by April, but more time was needed to show that the changes implemented would be effective.