BWXT wins potential $45B DOE contract
Lynchburg contractor to oversee radioactive waste cleanup
A joint venture led by BWX Technologies Inc. has won a federal contract worth up to $45 billion — its largest ever — from the U.S. Department of Energy to clean up a decommissioned nuclear production site in southeastern Washington state, the Lynchburg-based nuclear components and fuel supplier announced Monday.
The Hanford Site Tank Farms has 177 underground waste storage tanks with 54 million gallons of nuclear waste produced by plutonium production, according to a 2021 federal report. The Department of Energy awarded the 10-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity Hanford Integrated Tank Disposition Contract (ITDC) to Hanford Tank Waste Operations & Closure LLC (H2C), a joint venture led by BWXT’s Technical Services subsidiary that includes Amentum Environment & Energy Inc. and Fluor Federal Services Inc.
“This is the largest single contract award in our company’s history and is a stair-step achievement as we strengthen our leadership position in environmental restoration at highly technical projects across the nation,” BWXT President and CEO Rex Geveden said in a statement.
The federal government produced plutonium for more than 40 years, from 1943 to 1987, at the Hanford Site, near Richland, Washington. The DOE is repurposing the site to treat tank waste from the production period in an environmental cleanup. The site has 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste stored in 159 underground tanks, according to the DOE.
Low-activity radioactive waste will be removed and treated and eventually turned into a glass product through the vitrification process, which mixes the waste with glass-forming materials and heats it to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit so the waste bonds with the glass. Vitrification will occur at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, which contractor Bechtel National Inc. is constructing. Bechtel completed construction on the first phase of the facilities in January 2021, and the multiyear testing and commissioning period has begun.
Under the ITDC contract, H2C will operate tank farm facilities; design, construct and operate waste-receiving facilities and treatment capabilities; operate the eventual Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant; and oversee core project functions, including project management and environment, safety, health and quality functions.
Fortune 1000 company BWXT has roughly 7,000 employees and 14 major operating sites across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.