The Department of Energy is planning to extend its current contract with Savannah River Remediation for liquid waste cleanup at Savannah River Site for five months as the process of bringing in a new contractor continues.
In October, the department awarded the liquid waste contract, estimated at about $4.7 billion, to Savannah River Eco-Management LLC, a consortium of BWXT Technical Services Group Inc., Bechtel National Inc. and Honey-well International Inc.
Savannah River Remediation was selected for the contract in 2008, and it ran from April 2009 to March 2015, with an optional two-year extension. The Energy Department announced in April that it would extend the contract for another six months to Dec. 31. Now the department wants to extend the contract again because “to DOE’s knowledge, only SRR has the requisite knowledge, experience and capability to provide these critical, highly specialized services without interruption during the acquisition cycle for transition to a new contract,” according to a news release.
“Essentially, SRR is the only company qualified to show a new contractor the current operational parameters of the LW system,” according to the release.
The Energy Department can extend the contract without opening it to competition because there is “only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements within the limited time frame.”
The agency could not provide an estimate of how much the extension or the new contract will cost.
“The operations and goals of the proposed extension of the liquid waste services contract have not been formalized at this point,” the Energy Department spokesman said in an email response to questions.
The agency also is taking into account that companies that sought the liquid waste contract might file a protest with the Government Accountability Office.
“Once those activities are complete, DOE will issue a Notice to Proceed to the new contractor and the 90-day transition phase will begin,” the spokesman wrote. “As stipulated in their current contract, SRR has agreed to furnish phase-in training and to exercise its best efforts and cooperation to effect an orderly and efficient transition to a successor.”
The liquid waste contractor is responsible for disposition of millions of gallons of highly radioactive liquid waste, stored in massive carbon-steel tanks. The so-called tank farms hold waste primarily leftover from legacy Cold War operations. Some of the waste material was also generated by ongoing reprocessing missions at the nation’s only active nuclear materials chemical separations facility, H-Canyon.