The Savannah River Site's largest contractor received $16.32 million – or 68 percent of a possible $24 million – in the last fiscal year as part of its FY13 performance fee.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions – or SRNS – was issued the performance fee by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which accounts for SRNS's role in various operations on Site. According to performance rankings, 68 percent puts the contractor's nuclear administration missions in good standing.

“In the total assessment, 68 percent represents 'good' performance, as defined by the U.S. Government's Federal Acquisition Regulation which covers government contracts,” said SRNS spokesperson Barbara Smoak.

Friends of the Earth viewed the assessment online and voiced its disapproval in a press release. Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator Tom Clements wrote that the 68 percent assessment points to major problems at SRS.

“The fee determination amount reveals that SRNS has major problems in its management and execution of its contracted responsibilities at SRS, especially related to the MOX project,” Clements stated in the press release.

Department of Energy spokesperson Jim Giusti countered by confirming the 68 percent ranking is satisfactory. He added Clements was incorrect in his statement about MOX.

“Contrary to Mr. Clements' assertions, SRNS is not responsible for the overall MOX program, although SRNS work on the Waste Solidification Building and plutonium feed stock in H Canyon will ultimately support the MOX program,” Giusti said. “SRNS has addressed the Department's concerns in the areas where lower grades were given.”

The 68 percent assessment is an average of five total assessment areas. Some of the higher percentages that make up the average include a 98 percent excellent performance in SRNS's tritium work and a 92 percent performance for its science, technology and engineering mission.

Both Giusti and Smoak noted the contractor's NNSA missions only represent a portion of its work at SRS. The rest of SRNS's work falls under environmental management missions funded by DOE. Giusti said environmental management missions will be evaluated by DOE as early as next week.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.