Big Dig contractor working on nuclear waste facility

| 8/1/2006

Sen. Harry Reid’s concerns about the nuclear waste storage facility under construction at Yucca Mountain in Nevada extend beyond the normal concerns raised by such a project.

The Associated Press reported that the Democratic senator from Nevada is concerned because the facility is being constructed by Bechtel/Parsons-Brinckerhoff, the primary contractor responsible for Boston’s ill-fated Big Dig project.

Reid voiced his comments amid an ongoing investigation into a July 10 collapse in one of the Big Dig’s tunnels that left a woman dead. Bechtel is just one of many parties involved in the Big Dig that has come under fire in the investigation.

While Reid did not call for Bechtel’s removal from the Yucca Mountain project, he did say that the involvement of the company “should concern everyone,” according to The AP.

“If Bechtel can’t do a better job on the Big Dig than what they’ve done, I don’t see why they should be involved with Yucca Mountain,” he said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Energy told The AP that the department is doing all it can to assure the quality of the construction on Yucca Mountain.

The waste dump, which is scheduled to open in 2017, will hold at least 77,000 tons of radioactive waste.