"The Energy Department has begun releasing more than $6 billion in stimulus money to clean up 18 nuclear sites from New York to California, more than doubling the typical yearly funding for the program. Contractors helped shape the stimulus package and are lined up to get the work, including many that have been cited for serious safety violations and costly mistakes.
The contracts -- along with much broader problems in the department's nuclear cleanup program -- have prompted rare, sharply worded warnings from some government officials and lawmakers who say the stimulus funding is ripe for abuse.
The cleanup program has long been plagued by cost overruns and delays and is designated by the Government Accountability Office as "at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement." Over the past two years, estimated cleanup costs at all 22 sites have escalated from $180 billion to $240 billion, according to the Energy Department."