Feds to extend contract for Hanford company with 2,000 workers

The Hanford support services contract will be extended for up to six months.

Mission Support Alliance, owned by Leidos and Centerra Group, holds a 10-year contract valued at $3.2 billion that expires May 25. It has about 1,950 employees.

The Department of Energy plans to issue a new contract for support services for the 580-square-mile nuclear reservation, but does not expect to have a contractor in place by May 25.

The proposed new contract has a four-month transition period, which would have required a new contract to be awarded by Jan. 25 to meet that schedule.

The department accepted bids for the new contract through Nov. 19 and is now evaluating them, according to a message to Hanford employees from Brian Vance, the DOE Hanford manager.

It plans to award a new contract this summer, he said.

A Mission Support Alliance auto body worker at the Hanford Site prepares an electrical utilities bucket truck boom for refinishing. Courtesy Department of Energy

DOE said when it put out the request for bids in September that it expected the new contract to be valued at $4 billion to $6 billion over a decade.

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

Mission Support Alliance got good marks from DOE in its last annual evaluation released in late January. It received $21 million in incentive pay for its work at the site in fiscal 2018, or about 94 percent of the maximum possible.

A contract structure similar to the current support services contract is anticipated for the new contract, with DOE reimbursing the contractor’s costs and providing incentive pay.

Other contracts to be awarded

DOE also is preparing to award new contracts for central Hanford cleanup and for managing Hanford’s underground waste storage tanks.

In February, it advertised for bids for both.

The tank farm and central Hanford contracts will be indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts, which allow DOE to place orders for individual tasks to be completed by the winning contractors.

The work would be paid for either with a fixed price or by the traditional model of reimbursing a contractor for the cost of work and then awarding incentive pay for the quality and scope of work accomplished.

MSA crane.jpg
A Mission Support Alliance crane operator uses a 150-ton crane and a 256-foot extension to lift iron workers and electricians at the Hanford Site Cold Test Facility. Courtesy Department of Energy

The new tank farm contract will replace the current contract held by Washington River Protection Solutions, owned by AECOM and Atkins.

Its original 10-year contract valued at $7.1 billion has been extended for up to a year until Sept. 30. It employs about 2,300 workers.

The proposed new contract is valued at up to $13 billion over a decade. It includes operating and maintaining Hanford’s 177 waste storage tanks; closing emptied tanks; and preparing and operating equipment needed to pretreat and feed low-level radioactive waste to the vitrification plant for treatment.

The proposed central Hanford cleanup contract is valued at up to $10 billion over 10 years.

A similar contract is now held by CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., owned by Jacobs Engineering Group. It is finishing up a 10-year contract with a one-year extension that will expire on Sept. 30. It employs about 1,600 workers.

The new contract will include decontamination and demolition of contaminated buildings at the nuclear reservation, excavation of waste sites and groundwater cleanup.

It also will include management of transuranic waste — typically debris contaminated with plutonium — until it can be sent to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

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.