Loretta Averna, head of media services for DOE, said the contract — called a "monstrous contract" by some already working in cleanup at the site — goes to Fluor-B&W Portsmouth LLC as the prime contractor.
The contract is valued at $2.1 billion over 10 years and will not only save existing jobs but create new ones.
"Over the next three years we're looking at 350 to 500 new jobs," Averna said. "The contractor has a transition phase of 90 days, so we expect to start the new contract by the end of this year and hiring would start then."
The Portsmouth GDP, built in the early 1950s on a 3,778-acre federal reservation just outside Piketon, was part of the nation's nuclear weapons complex and enriched uranium from 1954 until 2001, when it closed.
Limited cleanup activities have been conducted at the site since the 1990s, but this is the first contract at Portsmouth that includes decontamination and decommissioning of the three massive uranium enrichment process buildings.
The buildings, tagged as X-333, X-330 and X-326, each cover about 30 acres and they contain thousands of "stages" of uranium enrichment equipment.
"This new contract will allow the Department of Energy to continue accelerating our cleanup efforts in southern Ohio, adding good jobs to the local workforce while reducing the environmental risks to the American people," Ines Triay, DOE's assistant secretary for Environmental Management said in a statement released by Averna.
The contract awarded Monday calls for an initial time frame of five years with a potential five-year extension.
Fluor-B&W Portsmouth is a joint venture led by Fluor Federal Services Inc. and Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group Inc.
Averna said more than 30 percent of the total project value is expected to support work by small businesses.
The Portsmouth GDP is just one of the nation's diffusion sites DOE is responsible for cleaning up in accordance to the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992. All together, these cleanup efforts are part of the biggest nuclear environmental cleanup project in the world.