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Source : Dan Meyers at Unsplash
May 7, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
The Office of Environmental Management of the US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Hanford Tank Waste Operations & Closure, a consortium of three companies that includes Irving, Texas-based Fluor, BWX Technologies of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Amentum of Chantilly, Virginia, to perform work at the Hanford nuclear remediation site in Richland, Washington.
The Hanford Site is a decommissioned nuclear production facility operated by the United States government in Benton County, Washington. It contains approximately 56 million gallons of radioactive waste in 177 underground containers. The waste resulted from nuclear fuel production for the site's reactors, which previously produced plutonium for the country’s defense program.
This consortium for the nation's largest and most complex nuclear waste project consists of subcontractors, including DBD Inc., DSS Sustainable Solutions USA Inc., INTERA Inc., and Longenecker & Associates.
The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a 10-year ordering period and a value of $45 billion encompasses a wide range of work.
The contract scope includes the design, construction, and operation of waste-receiving facilities and treatment capabilities, operation of the Hanford tank farm facilities, including single-shell tank waste retrieval and closure, eventual management of the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant and management of other vital responsibilities like project management, security and emergency services, business performance requirements, and environment, safety, health, and quality.
According to Andrew Whitman, a senior research analyst at Baird, a Milwaukee-based financial services company, Fluor will have a 20% - 30% stake in the joint venture.
The group president of Fluor's Mission Solutions business, Tom D'Agostino, said, "We've been a proud member of the Tri-Cities community for more than 25 years, beginning with the Project Hanford Management Contract in 1996, through our role today on the Central Plateau Cleanup Contract."
The president further said the work scope covered by this new contract is crucial to the efforts of cleaning up Hanford, and they are excited to start building on the progress made so far by the tank farm facilities in terms of removing and processing tank waste. They are eager to assist the DOE and other side contractors in this endeavor and to strengthen Fluor's reputation as a corporate citizen within the community.
The new contract calls for local investment and requires subcontracting 18% of the work to small businesses, including educational outreach and regional purchasing.
Following protests by losing bidders Jacobs and Amentum, the federal agency canceled a $13 billion, 10-year contract awarded to a team headed by BWXT Technical Services and Fluor to manage the underground waste storage complex in December 2020.
The winning team will run the waste vitrification plant, which has been in operation since 2002 and is now being commissioned by Bechtel National. The startup of the vitrification plant was originally scheduled for late this year.
Still, it was delayed to 2025 due to the pandemic. DOE officials say the facility will operate next year following technical issues that arose in October 2022 as Bechtel began testing one of its enormous waste melters.
Bechtel will complete the vitrification plant's construction, startup, and commissioning, with the new contractor taking over after commissioning is completed.