The Energy Department Office of Environmental Management has kicked off market research for a new contract to operate depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) conversion facilities at the Portsmouth Site in Ohio and the Paducah Site in Kentucky.
The Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center issued the request for information (RFI)/sources sought notice Monday. The Energy Department is seeking capability statements and feedback from contractors and other interested parties on options for innovative approaches to DUF6 conversion. Responses are due by 5 p.m. ET on April 16 by emailing DUF62020@emcbc.doe.gov.
Mid-America Conversion Services, a joint venture comprised of Atkins, Westinghouse, and Fluor, holds the existing five-year, $459-million contract through January 2022.
The plants, operating since 2011, convert DOE’s inventory of DUF6 at the two former gaseous diffusion plants to a more stable uranium oxide form for reuse or eventual disposal. The material is currently held on-site at the two locations, although the Energy Department is considering moving it to a low-level waste site in Nevada, Utah, or Texas.
The DUF6 at Portsmouth and Paducah was generated by uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons.
All DUF6 cylinders previously at the third gaseous diffusion site, now the department’s East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., have been shipped to Portsmouth for conversion. In fiscal 2019, Mid-America converted 11,116 cylinders into 14,113 metric tons of uranium oxides – an output roughly equal to the sum of the prior three years, according to its website.
The value and length of the new contract, along with other details, will be worked out through the course of the procurement process, DOE said in a news release.
One member of the incumbent team, Fluor, declined comment Friday on its DUF6 plans for the next round. But Virginia-based BWX Technologies, which once had the business, said it expects to pursue the next contract.