Weapons Complex Monitor Vol. 35 No. 13
Visit Archives | Return to Issue
Weapons Complex Monitor
Article 1 of 11
March 29, 2024

AtkinsRéalis team again protests $45B Hanford tanks contract award

By ExchangeMonitor

A team led by AtkinsRéalis Nuclear was back in federal court this week arguing that the Department of Energy improperly re-awarded a $45-billion liquid-waste-cleanup contract to a BWX Technologies-led joint venture.

In a new complaint with the Court of Federal Claims, Atkins-led Hanford Tank Disposition Alliance said DOE’s court-ordered re-competition of the Hanford Integrated Tank Disposition Contract, which ended Feb. 29 with a re-award to Hanford Tank Waste Operations & Closure (H2C), was designed for the “sole purpose” of allowing H2C to fix an “incurably ineligible proposal.”

DOE’s actions also clashed with legal precedents that suggest agencies should not “retroactively extend proposal deadlines,” said the Alliance, which also includes Jacobs and Westinghouse.

H2C, which also includes Amentum and Fluor, had not filed a response to the complaint at deadline for Weapons Complex Monitor. Amentum, the liquid-waste incumbent at Hanford, planned to merge with Jacobs in the second half of 2024.

This is the second time in nine months that Hanford Tank Disposition Alliance has gone to court to protest DOE’s award of the decade-plus Hanford Integrated Tank Disposition Contract in Washington state. 

The agency first gave the work to H2C in April 2023, but the Alliance got the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to throw out that award in June and order a do-over at DOE because the winner’s registration with a federal procurement database had lapsed during competition for the contract. 

DOE eventually ruled that the lapsed registration was a fixable error and reopened the competition, allowing H2C to reup the registration. 

But the Alliance said that If DOE wanted to depart from government procurement policy and make such lapses a fixable error and not a bid-dooming mistake, as the claims court said they are, the agency should have called for public comment through a Federal Register notice.

DOE has tried for almost four years to award a follow-on liquid waste contract at Hanford only to be stymied by protests that have kept the Amentum-led incumbent, Washington River Protection Solutions, on the job under a contract now worth about $10 billion through September 2025.

The new Hanford Integrated Tank Disposition Contract will combine management of the site’s underground tank farms, which hold some 56 million gallons of liquid radioactive waste leftover from making plutonium for U.S. nuclear weapons, with operation of a Bechtel National-built Waste Treatment and Immobilization plant that will solidify at least some of that waste for permanent disposal.

The indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery, end-state contract has a 10-year ordering period, though work could go on for as many as fifteen years after the award date; DOE’s Office of Environmental Management leaves its end-state contractors time to complete task orders that the agency issues late in the ordering period. 

The new contract also has an estimated transition period of about four months, according to DOE’s final request for proposals.

Comments are closed.

Partner Content
Social Feed

Tweets by @EMPublications