Bids submitted for a new $ 45 billion contract in Hanford

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The Department of Energy this week launched a tender for a massive new contract in the Hanford Nuclear Reserve.

It’s capped at $ 45 billion for work over 10 years.

That’s a significant jump from the proposed contract’s $ 26.5 billion cap, which the DOE gave its first look at its proposed new contract in February.

It then published a draft call for proposals and now a call for tenders has been requested through a definitive call for proposals.

The new contract includes the operation of the $ 17 billion vitrification plant, or waste treatment plant, under construction since 2002 to treat radioactive waste in underground tanks. The plant is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2023.

It will be the first order for the operation of glazing plants.

The new contract would also take over the current responsibilities of the current tank waste contract, which is expiring.

DOE had previously proposed a separate contract just for the works in the tank farms with a proposed value of up to $ 13 billion, which is less than a third of the estimated value of the current expanded contract.

DOE will be prevented from spending more than the $ 45 billion cap on the new contractor’s work, with the cap set to take into account any contingency that may range from being awarded stimulus funds to doing work that are necessary to deal with emergencies.

The work could also extend over 10 years, including work commissioned by the DOE from the new contractor towards the end of the decade-long contract period.

The proposed new contract will use the DOE’s new contract model for the final state, where the DOE awards a contract and then negotiates certain tasks to be performed.

Currently, Congress is allocating approximately $ 2.5 billion per year for environmental clean-up at the Hanford site.

DOE usually does not comment on pending contracts beyond the prepared announcement.

Proposed contract work

In addition to the operation of the vitrification plant, the tendered contract also includes work in the tank farm for the pre-treatment of radioactive waste so that it can be brought into a stable glass form for disposal in the Vit plant. This also includes emptying leak-prone single-shell waste holding tanks and sealing emptied tanks.

The current tank storage operator Washington River Protection Solutions employs around 2,450 people.

2-Capture Hanford tank card (1) .PNG
Environmental cleanups are ongoing on the 580 square mile Hanford Nuclear Reserve. In the center of the site are the underground tank farms, in which waste from the earlier plutonium production is stored. Courtesy of the Department of Energy

Hanford has stored 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste in underground tanks, some of which have contained waste since World War II.

The approximately 580 square mile Hanford facility in east Washington produced about two-thirds of the plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons program from World War II to the Cold War.

DOE requires the new contractor to subcontract 18% of the work to small businesses.

The orders for the tasks to be carried out under the contract will be openly negotiated in order to reduce DOE the greatest possible risk and financial liability and to do as much environmental remediation as possible during the term of the contract, so the announcement of DOE.

A contractor will be selected on the basis of the selected key personnel, this criterion being more important than past performance and management approach, which is considered to be equivalent.

DOE also takes into account the labor costs and profits proposed by the bidders.

Bids for the new integrated tank disposal contract are due on December 20th.

The last multi-billion dollar contract awarded by the DOE for work at Hanford was a $ 10 billion contract with Central Plateau Cleanup Co., which began work about a year ago.

This contract covers much of the site’s environmental remediation work, with the exception of the disposal and treatment of Hanford’s tank waste.

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Senior writer Annette Cary covers Hanford, Energy, Environment, Science, and Health for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a news reporter in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years.


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