By Harry Keaney
The U.S. Energy Department is to cancel a contract with British Nuclear Fuels Inc. for nuclear waste cleanup at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington State.
Last week, the energy department said it had failed in its attempt to save money on the cleanup by privatizing the task of solidifying radioactive liquid wastes at the Hanford plant. According to the contract, BNFL was to finance and build a waste-processing factory and run it for almost 20 years, receiving most of its pay only when it produced a product. U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said BNFL’s proposal was "outrageously expensive and inadequate in many ways."
BNFL said that while it was disappointed that the Department of Energy had decided to recompete the entirety of the contract, it was pleased that the department had determined that the design and technical solution was still sound and would be basis for proceeding with the cleanup.