The Savannah River Site's waste contractors both received “excellent” ratings on their Department of Energy performance fee evaluations for the last fiscal year.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions – or SRNS – received more than $30 million out of a possible $32 million in available fees from the Department of Energy for environmental management missions on Site. The amounts equals a 96 percent performance rating.

“We are pleased with DOE's recognition of our employees' excellence in the areas of safety and security, our strong operational performance in environmental management and clean up, our tritium-related missions, and our safe and secure handling of nuclear materials,” said Barbara Smoak with SRNS communications.

Savannah River Remediation – or SRR – earned $29.7 million out of a possible $31.3 million for a 95 percent performance rating for environmental missions.

The Energy Department cited several achievements for both contractors. For SRR, FY13 achievements included a record operational performance year in salt and sludge processing and continued completion of the salt waste disposal unit.

Deficiencies cited for SRR included engineering conduct issues which resulted in “self-evaluation and corrective actions to address weaknesses.”

For SRNS, achievements included 20 million safe hours; $36.8 million in savings through its Continuous Improvement program; and international recognition for the national lab.

Deficiencies for the contractor included a trend of adverse events in the H Area of the Site and value certification suspension due to not meeting certain project management standards.

Friends of the Earth responded to the information by stating that the performance fees inspire efficient cleanup; however, contractors should be more transparent about where the fees go.

“Given the large amounts of the taxpayer-funded awarded fees, both SRR and SRNS should reveal where the money goes and if it is directed into corporate profits, to management or staff, or back into clean-up work,” said Tom Clements with Friends of the Earth.

SRNS serves as the Savannah River Site's largest contractor, with more than 4,500 workers on its staff. The contractor assists in environmental cleanup of the Site through various missions such as the salt waste program. SRR is the liquid waste contractor for SRS and is primarily responsible for the cleanup of nuclear waste tanks.

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.