All available workers with access to Hanford’s $17 billion vitrification plant were tested for drugs and alcohol last week as part of a contractor-led focus on the issue.
Many other workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation have been notified that they can expect an expanded drug testing program starting in July.
An increase in positive test results for drug and alcohol use at the massive plant’s construction site in recent months prompted the widespread testing last week, said Bechtel National spokesman George Rangel.
In addition, Bechtel is aware that local law enforcement agencies have reported that drug trafficking in the Tri-Cities area is increasing, Rangel said.
Usually, the vitrification plant project does random drug and alcohol testing, plus post-accident testing or if there is a suspicion of drug or alcohol use.
About 2,800 people have access to the plant site in the center of the Hanford nuclear reservation, including employees who work there daily and those who visit occasionally and have security badges that allow access.
They include workers for Bechtel, its primary subcontractor, Aecom, and other subcontractors.
Bechtel would not say how many workers in the testing sweep had suspicious results and DOE said it had not received the results.
Bechtel would say only that some workers failed the tests.
Those cases are being handled based on the policy of their employers and disciplinary action could include losing their jobs.
Random drug testing will be expanded to include more nonunion employees.