The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Environmental Management (EM) on 2 June issued the Final Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Management and Operating (M&O) Acquisition. WIPP, in southern New Mexico, is the only US deep-geologic repository to isolate defence-related TRU mixed waste from the environment, approximately 2,150 feet underground. In 2017, WIPP began accepting shipments following a nearly three-year closure that resulted from a radiation release in one of the underground disposal rooms.
The new WIPP M&O contract will be a Cost-Plus-Award-Fee (CPAF) M&O contract with Indefinite Delivery/ Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) Contract Line Item Number (CLIN). The contract will include a four-year base period and six one-year option periods. The total estimated contract value is $3 billion over the 10-year period of performance, including all option periods. The Final RFP will be conducted as a full and open competition. Work to be performed under the contract will include the centralised characterisation project, transportation activities, WIPP operations, projects (capital asset projects and non-capital asset projects), experimental and testing activities, and WIPP programme support. Proposals are due by 19 July.
Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), a joint venture between Amentum and BWX Technologies, currently manages the WIPP as well as DOE’s National Transuranic Waste programme under a $296 million contract extension awarded in October 2020. NWP began work at WIPP in 2012 and its contract will expire in September 2021, with an extension carrying the contract through September 2022. Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Amentum, Keith Wood, said the company will not be bidding on the next contract.
The repository has been in operation for more than two decades, during which time it has received some 12,900 shipments of waste for deposition in underground vaults mined out of a salt formation.