CH2M Hill Hanford contract to be extended

April 26, 2012 

The Department of Energy notified CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. on Wednesday that it plans to extend its contract for five years.

The contract extension is valued at about $2.2 billion.

"We determined CH2M Hill remains the best value to the government on the basis of price and other factors," said Matt McCormick, manager of the DOE Hanford Richland Operations Office, in a statement. "Extending the contract ensures continuity in cleanup as we finish major projects over the next five years."

CH2M Hill won the contract to perform central Hanford cleanup in 2008 after a competitive bid process.

Then the contract was valued at about $4.5 billion over 10 years, including the base period and an option to extend the contract for another five years. The contract ended up being worth more because of $1.3 billion in economic stimulus money that DOE used for environmental cleanup performed by CH2M Hill.

"We are very happy with the announcement and that DOE has the confidence in us to continue the great work we have achieved in protecting the Columbia River and cleaning up the Hanford site," said John Lehew, CH2M Hill president. "We look forward to maintaining our momentum in safely achieving the DOE's 2015 Vision and beyond."

CH2M Hill has about 1,800 employees and is responsible for demolishing facilities once used in plutonium production, cleaning up contaminated soil, managing solid radioactive waste and monitoring and cleaning up contaminated ground water. Hanford is contaminated from the past production of weapons plutonium during World War II and the Cold War.

In considering the contract extension, DOE looked at factors such as CH2M Hill's performance on meeting cost and schedule goals, how well it has performed work and the extra work it took on as part of federal economic stimulus spending under the Recovery Act, said DOE spokesman Cameron Hardy.

"It was a huge challenge to take on Recovery Act work and double the work force in the first year of the contract," Lehew said. "The team handled the work extremely well."

CH2M Hill exceeded expectations on 18 of 19 Recovery Act goals set by DOE, Lehew said. However, a decision was made to slow work at some large, complex and highly contaminated glove boxes at the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

Hanford officials have called the plant the nuclear reservation's highest-hazard facility. However, if federal funding for the project is consistent, DOE and CH2M Hill expect the plant to be torn down by a legal deadline in 2015, which is part of DOE's 2015 Vision for work to be completed by that year.

CH2M Hill's overall contract also is on schedule and work is being done below the projected cost, Lehew said.

Among the major projects that CH2M Hill plans to see to completion under a contract extension in addition to demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant is removal of radioactive sludge now held in underwater containers at the K Reactor's West Basin not far from the Columbia River.

CH2M Hill also is close to starting up Hanford's largest and most sophisticated treatment plant for contaminated ground water in central Hanford, the 200 West Pump and Treat Facility. In addition, the ground water treatment plants it has added along the Columbia River soon should stop chromium from entering the Columbia River, meeting another legal deadline, Lehew said.

CH2M Hill also has supported the Tri-Cities community, including making a $1 million donation last year to Washington State University Tri-Cities for its science and engineering programs.

According to a clause in the current CH2M Hill contract, DOE must wait until at least April 2013 to officially extend the contract, but has given notice of its intent to do that now.

The CH2M Hill team for the contract also includes Areva Federal Services, East Tennessee Materials & Energy Corp. and Fluor Federal Services as major subcontractors.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service