Bechtel has formed a partnership with Westinghouse Electric Company to provide decontamination and decommissioning services for nuclear plants in the United States.

The alliance provides customers a single contracting group to manage and deliver their decommissioning projects. It will offer a full range of services including: pre-shutdown planning, characterisation, licensing, project development and management, dismantling, demolition, waste handling, and site closeout.

Westinghouse says that the alliance will approach nuclear plant decontamination, decommissioning and remediation through a strategic, management-of-actions, resources and technology, or SMART, method. Focus will be on the efficient handling of highly radioactive materials to provide the lowest-cost, lowest-risk solutions for each plant, with the end goal of maintaining a positive environmental impact.

"The alliance between Bechtel and Westinghouse represents a strong and proven set of solutions to the industry’s need for safe and reliable D&D execution," commented Michael Graham, general manager of Bechtel’s global environmental business.

Westinghouse said the team would provide the most fully-integrated range of decontamination and decommissioning services available to the US nuclear energy market.

"The deployment of consolidated, proven technologies and processes from this alliance will meet the needs of US nuclear power plants that are coming off-line, ultimately allowing the opportunity to return the land to useable property," said Mark Marano, Westinghouse president, Americas.

The United States currently has 99 reactors in operation, with an average age of 33 years. In 2013 and 2014, five units were permanently shut down and are now preparing for decommissioning.

Bechtel has more than 30 years of experience in cleanup, decommissioning, remediation, and closure at more than 500 contaminated sites across the world, including Three Mile Island.

Westinghouse provides fuel, services, technology, plant design, and equipment for the commercial nuclear electric power industry. In September, company CEO Danny Roderick said that decommissioning would be one of the growth areas for the company over the next five years.