Hanford

Here's what's known about the next multi-billion-dollar Hanford cleanup contract

Workers remove waste items from the Hanford 324 Building as part of work assigned to CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. CH2M's Hanford contract expires in September.
Workers remove waste items from the Hanford 324 Building as part of work assigned to CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. CH2M's Hanford contract expires in September. Courtesy Department of Energy

The Department of Energy has released a preview of the work to be done under the next multi-billion-dollar contract for central Hanford cleanup.

It plans to release a draft request for bids for the new Central Plateau Cleanup Contract at the Hanford nuclear reservation within 15 to 45 days, DOE announced on Thursday.

A similar contract held by CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., which is owned by Jacobs Engineering Group, expires at the end of September.

CH2M's 10-year contract is valued at an estimated $5.8 billion, if $1.3 billion in economic stimulus money for work under the Obama administration is included.

The new central Hanford cleanup contract will include a new scope of work — the closure of underground waste storage tanks — according to a synopsis released Thursday.

In November, Hanford workers completed emptying waste from an entire tank farm for the first time. C Tank Farm has all 16 tanks emptied to regulatory standards, and attention is turning to closing the tank farm.

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CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. now operates the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, a huge landfill for low level radioactive waste, at the Hanford nuclear reservation. Courtesy Department of Energy

While a closure decision has not been reached, the tanks could be filled with concrete-like grout and left in place.

Other work mentioned in the synopsis sounds similar to the current CH2M contract, including decontamination and demolition of buildings and cleanup of waste sites.

It also includes managing transuranic waste — mostly debris contaminated with plutonium — until the waste is shipped to a national repository in New Mexico, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

CH2M began operating the huge central Hanford landfill, the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, when the contract for Washington Closure Hanford expired in September 2016.

Although the DOE synopsis did not mention the landfill, it said the new contract would include managing operations of cleanup facilities.

The announcement also did not mention groundwater cleanup, although it included the catchall "additional environmental cleanup tasks."

CH2M operates Hanford's six groundwater treatment plants, which treat contaminated water pumped out of the ground.

After DOE releases the draft request for bids — officially called a request for proposals, or RFP — it will have site tours and one-on-one sessions with interested parties, likely in late May or June.

The contract is expected to have a five-year base period with options for a total of 10 years, according to the Hanford contract acquisition strategy.

DOE also is working on new Hanford contracts for sitewide support services, tank waste cleanup, occupational medicine services and operation of the 222-S Laboratory.

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