Energy tries again to award $45B Hanford tank contract

Workers demolish a decommissioned nuclear reactor at the Hanford site in March 2011.

Workers demolish a decommissioned nuclear reactor at the Hanford site in March 2011. Mark Ralston / AFP via Getty Images

The department wraps up its evaluation of revised proposals following a court challenge, but the outcome is the same for now unless another protest follows.

The Energy Department has again gone with a BWX Technologies-led joint venture as the winner of a 10-year, $45 billion contract for liquid waste management work at the Hanford site in Washington state.

This represents the second time that Energy has chosen Hanford Tank Waste Operations & Closure for the contract that covers the closure of underground radioactive waste tanks and operation of a new treatment and immobilization plant.

Amentum and Fluor are the other partners in the venture also known as H2C. Hanford was home to plutonium production in support of nuclear programs between 1943 and 1987, which has resulted in 56 million gallons of radioactive waste being stored underground.

Energy announced the re-award Thursday, approximately 10 months after the department initially chose H2C and eight months after a Court of Federal Claims judge invalidated the award following a protest from rival bidder Hanford Tank Disposition Alliance.

Judge Marian Blank Horn ruled the award was not proper because H2C was not continuously registered in the federal government's System for Award Management that houses information on contractors.

She told Energy to reconsider bids from H2C and HTDA, a a joint venture led by Atkins whose partners are Jacobs and Westinghouse.

Pending another protest, H2C will take over the work from incumbent Washington River Protection Solutions following a 120-day transition period. WRPS, a joint venture owned by Amentum and Atkins, has been moving the waste into newer tanks for storage until it can be treated.

Bechtel built the waste treatment and immobilization plant to treat and turn the waste into a stable glass form for eventual disposal.

Jacobs is undertaking a complex transaction involving its federal-facing business units, which are merging with Amentum to form a new government services company that they all expect to launch mid-year.