Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor Vol. 26 No. 21
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Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor
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May 26, 2022

Paducah contract with DUF4 for NNSA out for bids

By Dan Leone

The Department of Energy this week opened bidding for a pair of new long-term contracts to manage Cold War uranium-enrichment cleanup in Ohio and Kentucky, one of which includes some work for active nuclear weapons programs.

The agency’s Office of Environmental Management, the nuclear-weapons cleanup steward, posted final solicitations online. The scheduled last day for the incumbents at both sites was March 28, 2023.

The $5.87-billion Portsmouth Decontamination and Decommissioning Contract will be a successor to a pact now held by Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth.  The Portsmouth Paducah Project Office Operations and Site Mission Support Contract, worth an estimated $1.89 billion over 10 years, with options, will replace a deal now held by Mid-America Conversion Services for depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) conversion work at the Portsmouth Site in Piketon, Ohio and the Paducah Site in Paducah, Ky.

The new Portsmouth contract, for continued cleanup and demolition of old structures at the Cold War enrichment complex, is an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract in the Office of Environmental Management’s end-state mold. The contractor will have five years after the end of a 10-year ordering period to complete any task orders the government cuts, according to the final delivery schedule.

The new DUF6 contract will have a more traditional structure. After a four-month transition period, the contract will begin with five years of firm money, then a single three-year option followed by a single two-year option, according to the contract schedule DOE posted online Wednesday.

Aside from processing and packaging depleted uranium hexafluoride left over from the Cold War nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union, the Operations and Site Mission Support Contract contract includes construction through subcontracts of a depleted uranium tetrafluoride conversion line at Portsmouth’s X-1300 building for DOE’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

The NNSA will need about 800 metric tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride annually for ongoing nuclear-weapon refurbishments, according to the performance work statement for the final Operations and Site Mission Support contract. The new DUF6 contractor will have to submit its plans for construction of the NNSA’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion line within two months of taking over at Portsmouth and Paducah.

The U.S. in 2016 began a 30-year plan to keep existing its nuclear bombs, submarine- and ground-launched ballistic missiles and air-launched cruise missiles in service for most of the rest of this century by refurbishing the weapons themselves and acquiring new missiles and carrier craft to deliver them to targets.

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