DOE halts SRS management and operations solicitation, cites NNSA study

October 10, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy has paused its search for the next Savannah River Site management and operations contractor, according to a public notice published Oct. 5.

The pause – a postponement, according to the Federal Business Opportunities solicitation website – is to account for the joint National Nuclear Security Administration-DOE Office of Environmental Management review of NNSA activity at the site.

A decision on that matter, what the future of the site essentially is, is expected early 2019, according to the notice.

A DOE statement pushed out Friday says the results of the current discussions “may or may not impact” work scope for a future management and operations team.

The NNSA is a semiautonomous DOE agency in charge of the nation’s nuclear outfit. NNSA work at the site includes the tritium mission and oversight of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility project.

At the end of June, NNSA chief Lisa Gordon-Hagerty issued an internal memo – later obtained by the Aiken Standard – instructing the Savannah River Field Office to spearhead the look into the NNSA’s site-specific future.

The NNSA is considering, according to the memo, three options at a minimum: taking over SRS landlord responsibilities, establishing separate contracts for work and relocating the SRS tritium mission entirely.

The review is driven by the NNSA’s and the U.S. Department of Defense’s desire to produce plutonium pits – nuclear weapon triggers – at SRS, more specifically at a repurposed MOX facility.

In July, Environmental Management leader Anne Marie White responded to Gordon-Hagerty via a memorandum, which the Aiken Standard also obtained. White said her wing would gladly help with the review, which SRS manager Michael Budney has since described as “routine.”

“I believe this is an opportunity to better focus both of our offices’ missions,” White wrote.

Environmental Management is the current SRS landlord. The site is an active remediation area.

The notice to halt the management and operations procurement process comes a little more than one month after the DOE issued a related draft request for proposals.

The draft RFP, which is designed to elicit feedback from interested bidders and companies, included tritium oversight in the management and operations scope of work.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is the current management and operations contractor at the site and has been since 2008.

Near the end of September, SRNS President and CEO Stuart MacVean said the company’s parents – Fluor, Newport News Nuclear, Honeywell International – were interested in SRS management post-2018.

MacVean, at the time, also predicted SRNS would get another contract add-on: “My guess is, based on the way solicitation is going, we’re probably going to get extended again.”

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