New Hanford contract worth up to $6 billion, with lots of work for small businesses

The new Hanford Mission Essential Services Contract will include operating the HAMMER training center.
The new Hanford Mission Essential Services Contract will include operating the HAMMER training center. Department of Energy

The Department of Energy is looking for bidders for a $4 billion to $6 billion contract to provide services at the Hanford nuclear reservation for a decade.

It put out a request for bids on Thursday for a contractor to provide basic services for the site once used to produce plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. About $2.4 billion a year is being spent on environmental cleanup.

In a requirement important to Tri-City businesses that rely on Hanford for work, the proposed contract requires that at least 40 percent of the total contract value be subcontracted out and that at least 50 percent of that work go to small businesses.

Mission Support Alliance, owned by Leidos and Centerra Group, has the current contract (10 years at $3.2 billion), but that expires May 25 of next year.

The new Hanford Mission Essential Services Contract is planned to cover many similar services, including security, firefighting, land management, information technology, management of the HAMMER training center and infrastructure.

Filter Bed 4 SSIM Pic 1 (1).jpg
A Mission Support Alliance employee checks a filter at a Hanford Water Treatment Plant. The contractor delivers 400 million gallons of water a year at Hanford.

Infrastructure work includes maintaining and upgrading infrastructure such as electric and water service and roads, plus building infrastructure that will be needed to support operations of the $17 billion vitrification plant under construction. Hanford covers 580 square miles, with about 76 square miles requiring environmental cleanup.

The contract adds a new scope of work not under the current deal — providing assistance to DOE with its small business contracts at Hanford.

Because the contractor will be providing infrastructure and other services to Hanford cleanup contractors, DOE has set conflict of interest requirements for the proposed new contract. It’s not unusual for a corporation to have financial interests in more than one Hanford cleanup contract.

But the site services contractor cannot work on other DOE prime contracts, including the central Hanford cleanup, tank farms, vitrification plant, occupational medicine or 222-S Analytical Laboratory contracts. There also are limits on what other work its subcontractors may do at Hanford.

DOE anticipates a contract structure that is similar to the current site wide services contract, reimbursing the contractor’s costs and providing incentive pay.

In evaluating bids, DOE will consider the proposed technical approach as most important, followed by key personnel and organization and then past performance.

The proposed price will be considered, but DOE is more concerned about picking a superior technical and management proposal than the lowest price, according to the request for bids.

Mission Support Alliance employs about 1,950 people.

Annette Cary; 509-582-1533; @HanfordNews