The Department of Energy named a new contractor, Savannah River EcoManagement (SRE), but that decision was protested. Now the transition of the mission is at a standstill, and it could be months before the Department of Energy resolves the issue.
A notice obtained by WJBF NewsChannel 6 was sent to employees letting them know that Department of Energy intends to extend the Liquid Waste Mission contract with Savannah River Remediation for until March 31, 2019.
DOE-SR Update: DOE extends Liquid Waste Services Contract sent to NewsChannel 6
The Department of Energy Savannah River Operations Office intends to extend the current contract with Savannah River Remediation that ends on May 31, 2018. The extension is anticipated for up to 10 months from June 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. This extension will enable Savannah River Site to continue critical requirements for treatment and disposal of liquid waste at the site while the Department supports the Government Accountability Office protest process and fosters competition for award of a new liquid waste contract.
More than 30 years of nuclear weapons material has been produced in South Carolina. The mission is to take that by-product and properly dispose of it in these underground tanks. The Liquid Waste Mission is one of the Department of Energy’s biggest projects.
Savannah River Remediation, which is lead by AECOM, has operated the mission since 2009, successfully closing 6 tanks at the site.
“Savannah River Remediation has done a real good job out there as evidence by their award fee scores have been very good.,” said James Marra, the Executive Director of Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness. “In fact, their most recent one was classified as excellent.”
However, the contract went up for rebid and Department of Energy named a new company, Savannah River EcoManagement, as the winner of the mission.
That decision raised eyebrows when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a review concluding the process submitted by Savannah River EcoManagement, to operate the state’s biggest environmental hazard, had never been tried before.
“I think the end result will be that the Department of Energy will be directed or is directed to go back and do a little bit of look into that technical approach.” Marra told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
Now the Department of Energy is back at square one reevaluating all the submissions for the Liquid Waste Contract as suggested by the Government Accountability Office.
While it works out the specifics, it’s sticking with Savannah River Remediation to continue operating the mission in the meantime according to a Federal Business Opportunity notice.
Notice of Intent to Extend the Period of Performance for Contract DE-AC09-09SR22505 for Treatment and Disposal of Liquid Waste at the Savannah River Site
The Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Operations Office (SR) intends to extend the current contract with Savannah River Remediation, LLC (SRR) at the Savannah River Site (SRS). The current contract with SRR ends May 31, 2018, and is anticipated to be extended for up to ten (10) months, from June 1, 2018, through March 31, 2019. This proposed extension will enable DOE-SR to continue critical requirements for treatment and disposal of liquid waste at SRS while DOE supports the Government Accountability Office protest process and fosters competition for award of a new Liquid Waste (LW) contract.
The proposed extension is based upon the exclusion found at Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1 and 41 United States Code 3304(a)(1), which authorizes other than full and open competition when there is only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements within the limited time frame. To DOE’s knowledge, only SRR has the requisite knowledge, experience and capability to provide these critical, highly specialized services without interruption during the acquisition cycle for transition to a new contract. Essentially, SRR is the only company qualified to show a new contractor the current operational parameters of the LW system.
“I think it’s really important that the Department of Energy takes their time and really thoroughly evaluate all the proposals, all the bid proposals and come up with a decision that makes sense in the long run.” Marra said.
The contract extension would allow Savannah River Remediation to operate the mission until March 31, 2019.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.