DOE-EM awards $5.87 billion Portsmouth D&D contract

July 17, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Portsmouth’s X-326 Process Building undergoes demolition in 2022. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a 10-year contract worth up to $5.87 billion to Southern Ohio Cleanup Company (SOCCo) of Aiken, S.C., for the decontamination and decommissioning of the DOE’s Portsmouth site in southern Ohio. SOCCo is a newly formed limited liability company comprising Amentum Environment and Energy, Fluor Federal Services, and Cavendish Nuclear (USA) Inc.

The new indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, awarded under the DOE-EM’s end-state contracting model, will replace the Portsmouth D&D contract currently held by Fluor–BWXT Portsmouth, a joint venture of Fluor and BWX Technologies, along with engineering company Jacob. Fluor–BWXT Portsmouth was first awarded the contract in August 2010. The new contract includes a 120-day transition period.

The Portsmouth site was home to the third gaseous diffusion plant in the United States, which enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and commercial nuclear power from 1954 to 2001. Cleanup of the site began in 1989 and D&D of the plant has been ongoing since 2011.

Selection process: The DOE-EM received two proposals in response to its request for contract proposals, both of which the office said complied with the solicitation instructions. According to the agency, “through a healthy and rigorous competition,” the SOCCo proposal was determined to provide the best value to the U.S. government considering key personnel, past performance, management approach, and cost and fee.

The scope: According to the DOE-EM, work to be performed under the new Portsmouth D&D contract will include but not be limited to demolition and disposal of facilities, process equipment, related process buildings, and other ancillary facilities. The contract also includes remediation of contaminated soils and groundwater, and disposition of uranium material.

Requirements for meaningful work to be performed by small businesses is included in the contract.

Parallel contracts: Some Portsmouth operations work currently covered by the Fluor–BWXT Portsmouth contract—including utilities, emergency management, physical security, uranium transfers, and nuclear material control and accountability—will be excluded from the new D&D contract. Instead, it will transfer to a forthcoming operations and site mission support (OSMS) contract being issued through the Portsmouth Paducah Project Office. According to the DOE-EM, this will allow SOCCo to focus on the end-state completion of site remediation at Portsmouth.

The transfer of work scope from the existing Portsmouth D&D contract to the new OSMS contract, the agency said, will not result in an overall reduction in work being done at the Portsmouth site. To help ensure a smooth transition of scope and workforce, the transition periods for the new OSMS and D&D contracts will be aligned and occur after the award of the OSMS contract.

A final request for proposals for the 10-year, $2.9 billion OSMS contract was issued in March 2022.

Workforce impacts: With continued stable funding for the Portsmouth site, the DOE-EM does not expect any impacts to the workforce with the transition to the new D&D and OSMS contractors. Competitive and comparable benefits will also continue under the new contracts, the agency said.

The D&D contract aims to promote community commitment and engagement, including support to site reindustrialization by the local community. Submission of a community commitment plan to the DOE is required and the contract also provides for a 5 percent preference for small business subcontract proposals from regional small businesses.

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