Bechtel’s SIMCO assumes WIPP operations

February 14, 2023, 3:02PMRadwaste Solutions
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico. (Photo: EPA)

Salado Isolation Mining Contractors (SIMCO), a single-purpose entity comprised of Bechtel National and Los Alamos Technical Associates as a teaming contractor, has assumed responsibility for managing and operating the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

After completing contract transition activities, SIMCO took over management and operations of the deep underground repository for defense-related transuranic nuclear waste from Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) on February 4. NWP, a subsidiary of Amentum, had held the WIPP M&O contract since October 2012.

According to SIMCO, nearly 1,100 WIPP employees were retained with no workforce reductions. Union contracts and vendor agreements are continuing without interruption, the company said.

The contract: In July 2022, the Department of Energy awarded Reston, Va.–based Tularosa Basin Range Services, doing business as SIMCO, the 10-year, $3 billion M&O contract for WIPP. Two protests over the contract award were subsequently filed with the Government Accountability Office but were denied in early November 2022.

They said it: “We successfully completed the transition and kept WIPP’s ongoing mission of safe nuclear waste disposal the highest priority,” said Ken Harrawood, SIMCO president and program manager. “Our joint team is dedicated to safely disposing of the decades-old waste and fulfilling WIPP’s mission.”

In a February 2 thank-you message posted to the WIPP site, Sean Dunagan, NWP president and project manager, wrote, “Over the last 10 years, NWP and our employees have never wavered in our commitment to the area and to the important mission of WIPP. NWP crews emplaced 28,912 payload containers during that time, reaching 40 percent of WIPP’s capacity of 6.2 million cubic feet.”

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