The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has exercised its option to extend the contract for decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant at Piketon for a period of 30 months beyond the expiration date of March 28, 2016.
The estimated value of the option period is approximately $750 million. The initial five-year base contract with Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth, LLC commenced in March 2011.
The DOE says it’s objective in exercising its option is to fulfill DOE’s requirement for the continuation of services and execution of the D&D Project at the former uranium enrichment plant near Piketon.
Services that will continue during the new performance period include demolition and disposal of all gaseous diffusion plant (GDP) facilities, process equipment, related process buildings, and other ancillary GDP facilities.
In its determination, the Department found that the option execution is the government’s most cost-effective and advantageous alternative by allowing for continued uninterrupted services as well as continuing momentum on important projects such as waste management and deactivation of key plant facilities in preparation for demolition.
The option execution provides continuity of operations and supports workforce stability, and provides incentives and other provisions to ensure accountability for excellent performance.
The hiccups began to occur last year when the funding sources became off-kilter. The D&D had been funded by two sources – the open market sale of uranium and government appropriations, however, the bottom fell out of the uranium market and the funding was cut, leading to a near shutdown and a call by the Ohio delegation in Washington for complete funding through the DOE.
The Portsmouth (Piketon) site was constructed by the Atomic Energy Commission in the early 1950s for the purpose of enriching uranium for national defense purposes, and it later provided enriched uranium for commercial nuclear power fuel. The Environmental Management (EM) cleanup at the site commenced in 1989, and the GDP ceased enrichment operations in 2001.
According to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, its mission is to complete the safe cleanup of the environmental legacy brought about from five decades of nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.
The contract and information pertaining to FBP’s performance under the contract can be found at: http://www.energy.gov/pppo/contracts.