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Department of Energy Cites Bechtel Jacobs for Classified Information Security and Worker Safety and Health Violations

July 16, 2010 - 12:00am


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Energy (DOE) today issued two Preliminary Notices of Violation (PNOV) to Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC (BJC) as part of an ongoing effort to ensure DOE contractors maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees  and maintain stringent information security standards.  One PNOV cites BJC for violations of the Department's classified information security program requirements.  The second PNOV is issued for violations of DOE's worker safety and health regulations. 

The classified information security PNOV cites three violations stemming from the unauthorized removal and unlawful attempt by a former BJC employee to sell classified matter to a foreign government.  Although DOE found it is unlikely that any sensitive information or materials fell into the hands of a foreign government, the Department is taking this enforcement action to help prevent future breaches of security.  BJC is cited for failure to comply with DOE requirements contained in 10 C.F.R. Part 1045, Nuclear Classification and Declassification, and the 470.4 series of DOE Manuals.  The three violations are associated with the absence of effective and integrated security systems; ineffective self-assessment processes that failed to identify any of the broad classified information and physical security noncompliances disclosed by this event; and the lack of classification markings.  The PNOV includes a proposed civil penalty of $562,500. 

This civil action follows aggressive investigation and enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested the BJC employee on January 26, 2007, during an undercover operation.  On January 26, 2009, the former employee pled guilty, was charged with unlawful disclosure of Restricted Data under the Atomic Energy Act, and was sentenced to six years in prison.  Following the security event, BJC in consultation with the Department immediately implemented effective corrective actions, including an improved integrated security system and enhanced protection measures to ensure that classified matter was no longer subject to additional risk.

The worker safety and health PNOV cites four violations of DOE regulations governing electrical safety and hazardous energy control requirements that are applicable to electrical power distribution operations.  On March 19, 2009, a BJC electrician was preparing to work on 13,800 volt electrical equipment that had not been deenergized and caused a high voltage electrical arc.  No workers were injured, but the electrician narrowly missed electrocution.  BJC is cited for failures to comply with 10 C.F.R. Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program, and 29 C.F.R. Part 1910, Occupational Safety and Health Standards.  The violations involve deficiencies in identifying and controlling worker exposures to electrical hazards, providing required training, and implementing effective electrical safety program procedures.  Earlier this year, DOE's Oak Ridge Office administered a contract fee reduction in the amount of $1,200,000 for the violations associated with this event and other electrical safety performance deficiencies.

Following the electrical event, BJC conducted a thorough investigation and implemented a comprehensive set of corrective actions that included senior management approval to perform electrical work and more rigorous electrical work planning and control procedures.  The Department has determined that the corrective actions for both the security and electrical events address the violations cited in the PNOVs to prevent recurrence.

Section 234B of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 authorizes DOE to take enforcement action under Title 10 C.F.R. Part 824, Procedural Rules for the Assessment of Civil Penalties for Classified Information Security Violations, against DOE contractors that violate classified information security requirements.  The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 authorizes the Department to take enforcement action against contractors for violations of its worker safety and health requirements.  DOE's Enforcement Program encourages contractors to identify and correct classified information and worker safety and health deficiencies at an early stage, before they contribute to or result in more serious events.

BJC is the environmental management and integration contractor for East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  ETTP, formerly known as the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was originally established to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons until facilities were permanently closed in 1987.  Plans to restore the site for general industrial use went into effect in 1996, and activities since then have focused on environmental restoration, legacy waste management, and decontamination and decommissioning of some of the largest buildings in the DOE complex.

Additional details on these and other enforcement actions are available from the Office of Enforcement.

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