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Feds pick new company for $8M of Hanford nuclear site work, replacing 15-year contractor

By Tri-City Herald
Published: June 24, 2024, 8:28am

KENNEWICK — The Department of Energy has picked a California company for a contract worth up to $8.3 million to administer worker’s compensation claims at the Hanford nuclear site in Eastern Washington.

Innovative Claim Solutions will replace Penser North America, of Lacey, Wash., which has held contracts to do that work since 2009.

DOE is self-insured for state worker’s compensation for contractor and subcontractor employees at the Hanford nuclear reservation near Richland.

It hires an administrator to work closely with the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries, following state regulations for self-insured organizations as it investigates and manages workers’ claims of illness or injury. L&I makes the decision on whether to approve or deny worker claims.

The new contract has a one-year base period followed by options for one-year extensions up to a total of five years for the contract.

Innovative Claim Solutions will be paid a fixed price for most of its work, rather than being reimbursed for its costs, and a fixed hourly rate for document support of the federal Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation program.

Innovative Claim Solutions will provide all personnel, equipment, materials, supervision, transportation, training and other items needed to process claims.

The company has been in business for more than 20 years, according to its website.

The Penser contract, valued at $4.6 million when it was awarded, expires Sept. 30. A 60-day transition to Innovative Claim Solutions will begin on Aug. 1.

Washington state law for Hanford workers’ compensation changed in 2018, making it easier for workers at the site to be awarded compensation for injury or illness.

Hanford, adjacent to Richland, produced about two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program from World War II through the Cold War. Environmental cleanup of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste and contamination at the 580-square-mile site is expected to continue for decades.

For more information about federal and state compensation programs for ill current and past Hanford workers or their survivors, contact the Hanford Workforce Engagement Center in Richland at 509-376-4932.