Construction on the 53,000-square-foot Integrated Waste Treatment Unit started in 2007.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management last week issued a draft request for proposals for the Idaho Cleanup Project procurement at the Idaho National Laboratory site and the Fort St. Vrain facility in Colorado.

DOE’s $1.4 billion contract with Fluor Idaho, the company responsible for nuclear waste cleanup at DOE’s desert site west of Idaho Falls, expires May 31, 2021. Fluor has had the contract since 2016.

The new Idaho Cleanup Project contract is anticipated to be an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract with an estimated contract ceiling of approximately $6.4 billion over a 10-year ordering period, a DOE news release said.

Some aspects of the Idaho Cleanup Project’s mission, such as the processing of waste by the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project facility, are winding down. However, major work also remains to be done before DOE can move ahead with its ultimate plans to remove the cleanup buildings and cover the site in the late 2020s, and a recent revision to the 1995 Settlement Agreement between DOE and the state of Idaho has set some new requirements for Fluor and whichever contractor has the job after mid-2021.

The terms of the revised Settlement Agreement deal would allow INL to bring in some spent nuclear fuel for research purposes if DOE meets several new cleanup goals, one major one being starting to treat 900,000 gallons of liquid radioactive waste that are supposed to be processed at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit. In a September report, the Government Accountability Office estimated that total project construction and re-engineering expenditures for the troubled treatment unit had reached nearly $1 billion as of February 2019. The IWTU, initially estimated to cost $461 million in 2006, was already more than $290 million over that initial estimate when Fluor Idaho took over the contract nearly four years ago.

DOE was supposed to start treating the waste at IWTU in 2012, but years of delays due to technical problems, as well as delays in shipping transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant due to accidents there, brought DOE into breach of the terms of the 1995 Settlement Agreement. In 2016, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden blocked shipments of research fuel to INL, the state’s recourse under the agreement. Fluor has been holding simulant runs there since 2018 and expects to be able to start treating the liquid waste soon.

Connie Flohr, the new head of the Idaho Cleanup Project, said earlier this month that IWTU should be processing waste by the end of the year.

Under the new contract work to be performed will include:

n Operations of the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit;

n Spent nuclear fuel management, including Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed for the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations located at the INL site and the Fort St. Vrain Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation near Platteville, Colo.;

n Transuranic and low-level waste disposition and management;

n Facility deactivation and decommissioning;

n Environmental remediation activities; and

n Facility infrastructure.

The Office of Environmental Management is pursuing a streamlined selection process under its end-state contracting model for this procurement, which “focuses on the most discriminating evaluation elements of key personnel, management approach, past performance, and cost to support a qualifications-based selection of the offer or team that represents the best value to the government,” the release said. The streamlined model also shifts focus on post-award partnering to determine the most appropriate requirements and technical approach to achieve the greatest amount of cleanup progress.

A dedicated webpage has been established for the Idaho Cleanup Project procurement. All news/announcements, documents (including the Draft and Final RFP), questions/answers, pre-solicitation conference information, and related links will be posted online to emcbc.doe.gov/SEB/icp/. The draft and final request for proposals also will be posted to the Fedconnect website fedconnect.net.