DOE starts planning for new Hanford tank farm contract

An obsolete exhauster in the Hanford SY Tank Farm is being dismantled and removed.
An obsolete exhauster in the Hanford SY Tank Farm is being dismantled and removed.

The Department of Energy took an initial step Thursday toward picking the next contractor to be in charge of the Hanford tank farms, asking for information from businesses interested in the work.

Washington River Protection Solutions holds the contract to manage up to 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste held in underground tanks at the nuclear reservation. Its contract runs through September 2016, but DOE is expected to exercise its option to extend it to September 2018.

The type of contract and period of performance have yet to be determined. The request for information released Thursday is “market research” only, DOE said.

DOE is interested in hearing about potential contracting alternatives and any suggestions for breaking out portions of the work for smallbusiness contracts, including those in such federally recognized categories as women- or veteran-owned small businesses. It also will listen to innovative approaches for doing the work covered by the contract, DOE said.

The contract or contracts to be awarded would cover operation of the tank farm, the 242-A Evaporator, the Effluent Treatment Facility and the 222-S Laboratory, where a separate contractor provides analytic laboratory services.

Tank farm and central Hanford cleanup contracts are expected to expire in 2018 and the support services contract in 2019.

They also could cover retrieval of waste from underground tanks, installing temporary barriers over tanks and continued implementation of a program to protect workers from chemical vapors.

Construction could include several facilities to support the vitrification plant being built to treat the waste, including a Low Activity Waste Pretreatment System Facility, a Tank Waste Characterization Staging Facility and possible facilities to support feeding high-level waste directly to the vitrification plant for treatment, bypassing the plant’s Pretreatment Facility.

Businesses with the specialized capabilities for the work may take a tour of the tank farms on March 29 and meet with officials one-on-one March 30-31. More information is posted at 1.usa.gov/1TcEG80.

In fall 2015, DOE sent out a similar request for information for other key Hanford work, including cleanup of central Hanford and groundwater, the remaining cleanup along the Columbia River and sitewide infrastructure and services.

The contract for Washington Closure Hanford, which is doing cleanup along the river, ends in September, with most work completed. A new river corridor contract is not planned.

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. is responsible for central Hanford and groundwater cleanup and its contract expires in September 2018. The contract for Mission Support Alliance, which provides sitewide services, expires in September 2019.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews