RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - A strongly worded new report from a congressional watchdog agency questions whether an often-delayed and increasingly expensive waste treatment plant at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site can be built and operated successfully.
Released Friday, the report by the Government Accountability Office criticizes both the U.S. Department of Energy and its lead contractor for their performance during construction of the plant at the Hanford nuclear reservation in south-central Washington.
The analysis was prepared at the request of congressional leaders.
Earlier this week, Washington state and federal officials said construction can begin to be ramped up again. That word came nearly seven months after a new cost estimate and construction schedule were delayed to address technical problems and safety concerns.
Design of the $12.3 billion plant is 85 percent complete while construction is more than 50 percent complete.