DOE awards $13-billion tank closure contract

May 26, 2020, 9:10AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has awarded a $13-billion tank closure contract for services at its Hanford Site, near Richland, Wash. The 10-year contract was awarded on May 14 to Hanford Works Restoration, a joint venture of BWXT Technologies and Fluor Corporation that also includes DBD and INTERA, two preselected small businesses that provide specialized modeling and regulatory expertise, respectively.

Hanford Works Restoration will take over from Hanford’s current tank waste contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), whose contract expires at the end of September. The WRPS contract includes a clause that allows the DOE to end the contract earlier to align with a 60-day transition to the new contract.

The scope: About 56 million gallons of mixed chemical and radioactive waste are stored in 177 underground tanks at the site. According to the DOE, under the contract Hanford Works Restoration will “provide services to achieve significant reductions in risk and financial liability and provide the best overall solution to accelerate the closure of waste tanks.” The company will be responsible for overseeing the site’s tank closure mission, which includes the operation and maintenance of the single-shell and double-shell tank farms, including volume management and secondary waste treatment facilities; the completion of construction, operations, and maintenance of equipment necessary to pretreat and feed low-level waste to Hanford’s low-activity waste vitrification facility; and single-shell tank waste remediation and closure to support the environmental cleanup of the Hanford Site.

In announcing the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, the DOE said, “The proposal submitted by Hanford Works Restoration was determined to provide the best value to the government considering key personnel, technical and management approach, past performance, and cost.” The DOE added that it awarded the contract, which includes requirements for work to be performed by small businesses, under full and open competition.

The DOE solicited bids for the new tank waste contract using its new end-state contracting model. The DOE has transitioned to the new contract model in an effort to reduce risk and environmental liability as the department works to accelerate the cleanup and closure of the former plutonium production site.

What they’re saying: “This contract award demonstrates that BWXT’s nuclear operations and waste management capabilities are key differentiators for Hanford’s programs that are of critical importance to the nation and the state of Washington,” said Rex D. Geveden, BWXT’s president and chief executive officer. “Along with Fluor and our teaming subcontractors, we look forward to getting results under the DOE’s end state contracting model by working together with our customer, regulators, employees, and stakeholders.”

Tom D’Agostino, president of Fluor’s Government Group, added, “We’re pleased that DOE has given us the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new end-state contract approach to accelerate closing Hanford’s tanks and reduce DOE’s liability. Fluor began its 13-year tenure at Hanford in 1996 with a contract to manage most of the site’s cleanup work, and we have been an integrated part of the community ever since. We look forward to working with the incumbent tank farm employees, DOE, the regulators, and other Hanford contractors to shift to a unified closure mentality and safely accelerate the completion timeline.”

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