Bechtel suing over Connecticut Yankee decommissioning

3 August 2003

Bechtel is suing Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company (Cyapco) for breach of contract, claiming that cost overruns and delays in decommissioning the plant were the fault of the owners. Cyapco has terminated the $300 million contract.

Bechtel has asked a Connecticut court for damages to cover losses and protect its rights against any legal action by the owners. The two parties had disagreed over project milestones and costs, and for over a year they had been trying to work out a dispute resolution process. Although more talks were scheduled, Cyapco announced that it was terminating Bechtel's fixed-price contract because the company had missed some key milestones. Cyapco said that the project is 2.5 years behind schedule.

Bechtel claims that there was much more work to be done than Cyapco had indicated in its December 1998 request for proposals for the decommissioning work. The suit claims Cyapco either failed to disclose or misrepresented some crucial information about site conditions, and later provided Bechtel with "erroneous information" on other conditions.

The suit reads: "Bechtel has discovered contamination conditions that would not reasonably be expected at a prudently operated nuclear power plant." Bechtel said in the suit that Cyapco had represented the cable construction at the plant as "asbestos free" and said there were no PCBs in the paint outside of the containment building. Bechtel claims that both of these claims were false. Bechtel also said that Cyapco had said in its bid request that five of the 1024 fuel assemblies had leaking spent fuel rods. However, after testing, Bechtel said it found an additional 149 failed fuel assemblies.

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