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Draft request for joint SRS nuclear materials, liquid waste contract expected soon

DWPF, SRS New Contract (copy)

The Defense Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site, a plant that is involved in the liquid-waste mission.

A draft request for proposals for a contract that would significantly rearrange work done at the Savannah River Site should be issued in the next few weeks.

A Dec. 23 notice, posted on a government contracting and procurement website, states the draft RFP for the Savannah River Site Integrated Mission Completion Contract is anticipated in the next 15 to 45 days. That was 25 days ago.

The integrated contract – which in May 2019 was described as "in the very early stages" – targets the management of nuclear materials as well as millions of gallons of radioactive waste at the site in an effort to reduce environmental and financial liabilities.

Under the contract, a single team would handle responsibilities currently delegated to two: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Savannah River Remediation. The contract would combine portions of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions' management and operations deal with Savannah River Remediation's liquid-waste mission.

Both teams' contracts expire Sept. 30.

The assimilation was foreshadowed in February 2019 when the U.S Department of Energy, which stewards the Savannah River Site, nixed a years-in-the-making search for the next liquid-waste contractor. At the time, the department cited changes to the broader approach as well as the opportunity to intertwine nuclear materials management – namely at the H-Canyon processing plant and the L-Basin spent nuclear fuel hub – with liquid-waste work.

The Integrated Mission Completion Contract, an Energy Department spokesperson said last year, is meant to maximize Savannah River Site cleanup. A single contractor is in the government's best interest, the spokesperson added.

The site, about 30 minutes south of Aiken, is home to, among other things, more than 30 million gallons of nuclear waste.

Officials have described that waste as South Carolina's single largest environmental threat.

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