DOE to extend 1 of the largest contracts at Hanford

The Department of Energy has announce plans to extend the Hanford tank farm contract held by Washington River Protectoin solutions.
The Department of Energy has announce plans to extend the Hanford tank farm contract held by Washington River Protectoin solutions. Courtesy Washington River Protection Solutions

The Department of Energy will extend the contract of Washington River Protection Solutions, the Hanford tank farm contractor, for up to another year.

The 10-year contract — valued at $7.1 billion when it was awarded in 2008 — is set to expire in six months.

DOE has not requested bids yet on a new contract.

DOE posted a notice late last week on a federal contracting website about the planned contract extension, but it has released no additional information.

Washington River Protection Solutions, which employs about 2,300 people, is a limited liability company owned by AECOM and SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business.

DOE is working on five new contracts for Hanford, with the contractors doing the work to be included in the new contracts employing about 5,900 workers.

Typically, many of the workers are retained by new contractors, but they bring in new managers with new ways of conducting business to lead the work.

The contracts are set to expire between this September and 2020. They cover most of the major projects at Hanford, with the exception of work to build and start up the $17 billion vitrification plant to treat radioactive waste.

Bechtel National holds that contract.

Sept. 30, 2018 Washington River Protection Solutions tank farm contract expires, if no extension

Sept. 30, 2018 CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. central Hanford cleanup contract expires

May 25, 2019 Mission Support Alliance site-wide services contract expires

The new tank farms contract will include the most significant change in work scope among the five planned new contracts, according to a report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s staff.

The tank farm contractor now manages 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste held in underground tanks. The waste is left from the past production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

Some of the underground tanks date back to World War II, and the tank farm contractor is responsible for emptying waste from leak-prone single-shell tanks to 27 newer double-shell tanks.

Under the new contract, work also could include feeding waste to the vitrification plant for treatment and operating part of the new vitrification plant.

The plan has long been that the tank farm contractor would operate the plant after Bechtel demonstrated its initial operation.

Under a federal court order, the plant is required to begin glassifying low-activity radioactive waste by 2023, while Bechtel continues work on parts of the plant that will handle high-level radioactive waste.

A federal acquisition strategy for the five proposed new Hanford contracts says the new tank farm contract will have a five-year base period with two option periods to extend it to as long as 10 years.

The first priority for new Hanford contracts will be a new site-wide services contract to be called the Mission Essential Services Contract, according to the acquisition strategy.

Mission Support Alliance now holds a contract for a similar scope of work that will expire in May 2019.

DOE released a draft request for bids in November for the new contract, which would be for up to 10 years and have an estimated value of up to $4 billion.

DOE also is making progress toward awarding two smaller contracts among the five that will expire by 2020, for occupational medicine services and for laboratory testing and analysis services at the 222-S Laboratory.

It released a draft request for bids in December for the new occupational medicine contract valued at $120 million over seven years.

DOE has asked for information from companies interested in the management and services contractor the 222-S Laboratory. The current contract is valued at about $45 million over five years.

Along with the tank farm contract, the central Hanford cleanup contract held by CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., will expire in September.

Bids for the new 10-year contract have not been requested yet.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews