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Energy Department begins search for next Savannah River Site management team

Savannah River Site, High Flyer, Aerial (copy)

An aerial view of a portion of the Savannah River Site. In the distance is Plant Vogtle, near Waynesboro, Georgia.

The U.S. Department of Energy's remediation office has kicked off what's likely to be an extensive search for the next Savannah River Site management-and-operations contractor, the team that will ultimately oversee a breadth of nuclear waste and national security missions south of Aiken.

Environmental Management on Wednesday took the initial step of issuing a request for information, a means of soliciting input from potential bidders or those who think they can satisfy the requirements of the expected multibillion-dollar assignment.

Submissions, known as capability statements, are due before the end of the month.

The current management-and-operations contract is held by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a Fluor-led company. SRNS's term, however, expires Sept. 30, 2021, with a one-year extension available beyond that.

The next team, as is the case now, will manage both Environmental Management and National Nuclear Security Administration ventures, including the growth of tritium and the proposed buildout of plutonium pit production at the pitched Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility, a preliminary statement of work shows. The Energy Department in its announcement described both facets – Environmental Management and NNSA – as "national interest programs that must be" continued at the site.

The contract detailed Wednesday does not involve the liquid-waste mission, its Defense Waste Processing Facility, its in-the-works Salt Waste Processing Facility and its tank farms; operation of the Savannah River National Laboratory; or paramilitary protection of the site, its nuclear material and its personnel.

The Energy Department is pursuing a discrete, standalone contract for the national lab, and liquid-waste cleanup and security are handled by two separate contractors, Savannah River Remediation and Centerra.

Some finer details of the procurement process and final contract, including length, are in limbo, the Energy Department noted.

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