Bechtel received 48 percent of pay in second half of 2013

Bechtel National has been awarded 48 percent of the $6.3 million award pay possible for its work as the contractor for the Hanford vitrification plant in the second half of 2013.

That follows an award of 49.6 percent of the award pay possible in the first half of 2013. In the second half of 2012 it voluntarily gave up its incentive pay.

For the most recent award of $3.025 million, Bechtel was under a new performance and evaluation measurement plan developed by Kevin Smith, manager of the Department of Energy Hanford Office of River Protection. The new plan focuses on rewarding work to find and fix issues with the plant, which is being built to treat up to 56 million gallons of radioactive waste in underground tanks.

The performance plan dictates a significant change from previous pay periods and a high level of rigor was used in the assessment, according to a letter from Smith to Bechtel project director Peggy McCullough.

The letter said Bechtel had pronounced improvement toward the end of the pay period in being transparent and offering customer service to DOE. That includes steps such as involving DOE early as issues develop and providing full access to data for DOE officials managing programs.

"With continued emphasis on these, (Bechtel) should continue to improve performance during the next evaluation period," the letter said.

Almost half the possible award pay, $3.5 million, was related to self analysis, assessments, discovering issues and taking action. Bechtel earned 49 percent of that pay.

There is room to improve how it makes corrections, after many of the correction plans required significant reworking to be comprehensive, according to a DOE pay determination scorecard that was made public.

Bechtel's best score was for environmental, safety and health work, with 75 percent of the $1 million in pay available awarded to Bechtel.

The contractor continued to improve the safety culture related to future safe and efficient operation of the plant and had the best construction and site safety performance in the project's history, according to the scorecard.

The areas needing the most improvement were its quality assurance program and project leadership and management to control costs and find efficiencies.

Bechtel earned just 28 percent of the $1 million available for management of costs.

It needs to do a better job of preventing delays in the schedule for some activities and managing risks, according to the scorecard.

For its quality assurance program, Bechtel earned 35 percent of the possible pay of $800,000.

Quality assurance includes being able to prove that quality expectations were met during design and construction before the plant begins operating.

The scorecard said that Bechtel management is providing direct attention to the quality assurance program and is in the early stages of implementing improvements and correcting issues. Bechtel has provided DOE with a two-year plan that provides a road map to improve performance and sustain quality.

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