CWS 3.0: May 22, 2013

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US Agency Overpays $3.7 Million for Temps’ Living Expenses

Since 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy has overpaid $3.7 million for temporary workers’ living expenses at its Savannah River Site nuclear facility near Aiken, S.C., according to a report from the department’s Office of Inspector General.

Project contractor, Shaw AREVA MOX Services LLC, brought in contingent staff to fill professional, technical and administrative support service positions because of a shortage of qualified personnel in the local area, according to the report.

However, a policy by the contractor limiting cost-of-living expenses to the estimated cost of relocation was ended in July 2008 — resulting in an overpayment of $2.3 million, according to the report.

The remaining overpayment, $1.4 million, went to employees who may not have qualified to receive temporary living expenses — this includes those who didn’t demonstrate that they had dual residences, already lived within 50 miles of the jobsite prior to starting their assignments or did not obtain prior approval, according to the report.

The Office of Inspector General began an investigation at the site after receiving a complaint.

Shaw AREVA MOX is working on the design and construction of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s $5 billion “mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility” at the Savannah River Site. The facility will remove impurities from surplus weapons-grade plutonium and mix it with depleted uranium oxide to form fuel pellets for commercial nuclear power reactors.

To read the Office of Inspector General’s report, click here.

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