The startup of tank waste treatment activities at Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant took a step forward in April with the Department of Energy’s issuing a request for information for the operation of the WTP Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) facilities. According to the DOE, the RFI solicits input, via capability statements, from potential contractors with the specialized capabilities necessary to meet all of the major elements of scope for the upcoming competitive procurement for the operation of WTP DFLAW facilities, which will treat and vitrify for disposal low-activity waste from underground storage tanks at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.
Background: The DOE’s Office of Environmental Management is currently in the acquisition planning phase of a new contract to operate the DFLAW facilities. The DOE originally intended to treat both high-level and low-level radioactive waste at the WTP simultaneously. After technical issues delayed the construction of the WTP, the DOE settled on a sequenced approach that would treat LLW first.
According to the DOE, the DFLAW complex is in the process of startup and commissioning and consists of three primary components: the Low-Activity Waste facility (LAW), the Analytical Laboratory, and infrastructure and supporting systems collectively known as the balance of facilities. Operation includes receiving feed from the tank closure contractor, processing the feed through the vitrification process, and transferring the treated material back to the tank closure contractor for disposition. The DOE said that it remains on track to meet a milestone agreement with the state of Washington to commission the LAW by December 2023.
The RFI: The DOE said that the capability statements will provide feedback from contractors and other interested parties regarding options for innovative approaches to performing the major elements of scope and will provide insight into potential contracting alternatives that may maximize production without impacting safety.
The final contract type, period of performance, amount of funding, and set-aside possibilities will be determined through the acquisition planning process and will be informed by the responses to the RFI, the DOE said.
Information is available here on the RFI, which was issued on April 16.