Advanced Technologies and Laboratories International will continue to operate the 222-S Laboratory in central Hanford after winning a second contract.
The Department of Energy announced that the contractor submitted the winning bid for a five-year contract valued at $48.6 million. The contract covers costs plus an award fee for the contractor.
The contract, under DOE's Hanford Office of River Protection, was reserved for a business with fewer than 500 employees. ATL is based in Maryland and has been in business since 1989.
ATL's present contract is set to expire Jan. 3; the new contract will take effect unless there is a protest by a losing bidder. DOE did not release information on how many companies submitted bids.
The 222-S laboratory complex, the primary laboratory for highly radioactive samples at Hanford, includes a 70,000-square-foot laboratory and several support buildings. It has 11 hot cells.
Annually, the lab performs about 15,000 analyses on inorganic, organic and radiochemical samples, most of them from the 53 million gallons of radioactive waste held in underground tanks. The waste is left from the past chemical processing of irradiated fuel to remove plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program.
The testing and analysis are needed to determine the waste composition, maintain control of the chemistry of wastes in the underground tanks and prepare to turn the waste into a stable glass form at the vitrification plant under construction.
Work at the lab requires at least 70 employees, but employment could increase to meet a larger work load.
ATL was the first business to operate the laboratory after DOE decided to split the work out of the Hanford tank farm contract to create a small-business opportunity. The first five-year award was valued at $58 million, but no information was available Friday afternoon about why the current award is valued at nearly $10 million less.
In 2008, ATL was awarded the DOE Voluntary Protection Program Star, DOE's highest safety recognition. It was the first small-business prime contractor in DOE's nationwide complex to win the honor.
Washington River Protection Solutions will continue to act as landlord of the lab. The lab was built in 1951 as the process control laboratory for the REDOX plutonium separations plant but has undergone a series of upgrades and expansions. More improvements will be made with federal economic stimulus money.