Hanford

$868 million contract up for grabs at Hanford nuclear reservation

Radioactive waste work at Hanford site requires special equipment

A manipulator to remotely handle high-level radioactive tank waste is installed in one of the Hanford nuclear reservation's 222-S Laboratory hot cells.
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A manipulator to remotely handle high-level radioactive tank waste is installed in one of the Hanford nuclear reservation's 222-S Laboratory hot cells.

The Department of Energy has opened bidding for a contractor for the Hanford 222-S Laboratory at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Bidding is restricted to small businesses. Bids on the new contract are due April 9.

The estimated value of the contract is about $868 million over seven years, including two 12-month extension options.

The current 222-S Laboratory contract, held by Wastren Advantage, expires on Sept. 20. Wastren is also known as VNS Federal Services, a subsidiary of Veolia Nuclear Solutions.

The new contractor will be responsible for maintenance and upgrades of the lab facilities and for analyses done there.

It is a change from the current contracting system with the tank farm contractor acting as the landlord of the facilities and performing maintenance.

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The 222-S Laboratory is used to analyze Hanfords high level radioactive waste. Tri-City Herald File

The Hanford Site’s 222-S laboratory handles highly radioactive samples to conduct 15,000 to 25,000 radiochemistry and other analyses annually.

It has 11 hot cells, where workers operate handling equipment from outside the cells and look through thick, leaded glass to work with radioactive waste samples within the hot cell.

Information now is used to determine what wastes can be combined in Hanford’s underground storage tanks and to help plan how workers can best be protected while working at specific tanks.

In the future it will be used to support the Hanford vitrification plant, which could begin treating tank waste for disposal as soon as 2022.

DOE issued its request for proposals for the new contract on Thursday.

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Senior staff writer Annette Cary covers Hanford, energy, the environment, science and health for the Tri-City Herald. She’s been a news reporter for more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.
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