Whither stimulus contracts?
The Washington Post’s Kimberly Kindy reports that the Dept. of Energy is awarding stimulus funds to companies specializing in nuclear clean-ups that have a mixed track record:
A private company was being paid $300 million by the federal government to clean up radioactive waste at two abandoned Cold War plants in Tennessee when an ironworker crashed through a rotted floor. That prompted a major safety review, which ended up forcing work to an abrupt halt, and the project was shut down for months. The delay and a host of other problems caused cost estimates to rise, eventually hitting $781 million.
Now, President Obama’s stimulus package is opening a bountiful stream of new funding, and the same contractor, Bechtel Jacobs, is slated to get $118 million to help complete the job.
The Energy Department has begun releasing more than $6 billion in stimulus money to clean up 18 nuclear sites from New York to California, more than doubling the typical yearly funding for the program. Contractors helped shape the stimulus package and are lined up to get the work, including many that have been cited for serious safety violations and costly mistakes.
Interestingly, I can’t find any Bechtel Jacobs awards when I search FedBizOpps.gov and USASpending.gov (the former, as I reported previously, is currently the primary source for stimulus contract information, not Recovery.gov. Obviously, there are still huge holes in what data is available on stimulus contracts.