Nuclear Clean Up Contracts Cleaning Up On Stimulus

Last Updated Sep 14, 2009 5:52 AM EDT

There has been a great deal of criticism of how the "Stimulus" funds are being distributed to the states, which companies are winning them, and the lack of small business participation. These criticisms are all valid and continue to be highlighted in newspapers articles and blogs. One of the earliest complaints was that the money seem to be flowing arbitrarily and haphazardly to the states.

For the longest time the state of Washington was the largest recipient of these monies. It still is in the top three of the fifty states with a total value of just over $8 billion so far executed. Only California and Texas have received more money.

This disparate amount of money is solely driven by the need to clean up the Hanford Nuclear site. The Department of Energy is responsible for this long term project and already had contacts in place to do this. This has made it fairly easy to ad funding and execute the work.

The Department is also cleaning up the Savannah River site in South Carolina. That state has received little total funding but the majority of it will go to this contract. According to the state has a total of $2.89 billion in projects so far and about $2 billion is for work at the Savannah River facility.

These two sites along with the one at Oak Ridge, TN were key to the whole development and production of nuclear weapons in the United States. They certainly do need to be cleaned up and this operation was planned for years. The use of "Stimulus" funds for this is not really the proper use. Like the contracts building infrastructure on military bases it is work that had to be done anyway. The Obama Administration is just using the "Stimulus" funds to make up for general funding.

There is no doubt that the effect and implementation of the Democratic Congress "Stimulus" bill will be analyzed and discussed for years to come. It so far is not showing much positive effects as has happened in other countries where a less ambitious programs have taken place. The sheer size and the management alone will provide fodder for all sorts of research and commentary not even taking into account its effect on the economy.

The use of the funds for the purpose of cleaning up the nuclear sites while a good use of the money from an environmental and stewardship point-of-view does not necessarily equal the best stimulus. Because these are existing programs there may not be many new jobs created. The addition to money already budgeted may speed the clean up along but since the whole goal of the stimulus was to quickly flow funds to create jobs and economic growth this might not be the optimum way to do it.

  • Matthew Potter

    Matthew Potter is a resident of Huntsville, Ala., where he works supporting U.S. Army aviation programs. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he began work as a defense contractor in Washington D.C. specializing in program management and budget development and execution. In the last 15 years Matthew has worked for several companies, large and small, involved in all aspects of government contracting and procurement. He holds two degrees in history as well as studying at the Defense Acquisition University. He has written for Seeking Alpha and at his own website,