Weapons Complex Monitor Vol. 34 No. 41
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Weapons Complex Monitor
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October 27, 2023

Hanford tank contract rivals file revised bids with DOE; AtkinsRéalis seeks appeals court delay

By Wayne Barber

Two teams fighting over the prized $45-billion Integrated Tank Contract at the Hanford Site in Washington state, filed updated proposals with the Department of Energy during the past week, according to legal filings Thursday.

BWX-Technologies-led Hanford Tank Waste Operations & Closure as well as AtkinsRéalis Nuclear-led Hanford Tank Disposition Alliance filed their revised contract proposals with DOE Oct. 23. That is according to a new status report filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the other parties in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Hanford Tank Disposition Alliance, which in addition to Atkins, also has Jacobs and Westinghouse as partners, filed a new protest filed “an agency level protest to the contracting officer” on Oct. 10, according to the monthly status report in claims court.

Also Thursday, attorneys for Hanford Tank Disposition Alliance filed an unopposed motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to extend the deadline for its reply brief there to Jan. 16, 2024 from Nov. 14, 2023.

These are the latest milestones in the battle over the mega-dollar liquid waste contract playing out in two different federal courts as well as at DOE. 

Federal Claims Court Judge Marian Blank Horn ruled in June DOE’s award to the BWXT-led group two months earlier was improper. The judge agreed with the losing bidder that the winner’s lapsed registration with the government’s System for Award Management was a major error.

Hanford Tank Waste Operations & Closure, which besides BWXT includes Amentum and Fluor, filed written arguments with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that said the registration lapse was a minor error that should not sink DOE’s April award of the $45-billion contract.

Judge Horn sent the matter back to DOE for reconsideration. A status report to the Claims Court unsealed in September said a DOE contracting manager has concluded a lapse in the electronic registration system is a correctable error.

The Justice Department has said both bidders had System for Award Management registration errors. At one point, Hanford Tank Disposition Alliance failed to disclose Atkins’ ultimate owner was Montreal, Canada-based SNC-Lavalin. In mid-September parent SNC-Lavalin changed its name to AtkinsRéalis and the U.S. subsidiary became AtkinsRéalis Nuclear Secured. 

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