US Department of Energy intends to extend contract with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions

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Jul. 29—The U.S. Department of Energy intends to extend its contract with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions for the management and operation of the Savannah River Site.

The department issued a notice of intent to extend the contract Wednesday.

Department of Energy contract specialist Janette Gonzalez said in the notice that the contract is anticipated to be extended for four years from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2026, with an option for an additional year.

"This proposed extension will enable DOE-SR to continue critical requirements for management and operating (M&O) at SRS while DOE fosters competition for award of a new M&O contract," Gonzalez said in the notice. "To DOE's knowledge, only SRNS 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, SRNS is the only company qualified to show a new contractor the current operational parameters during the acquisition cycle for a new contract."

The notice of intention to extend the contract comes nine months after the Department of Energy announced that it was delaying the final request for proposals for the management and operations contract at SRS.

In that notice, the Department of Energy said, was delaying to allow for the best possible mission execution at the site especially in light of the National Nuclear Security Administration's growing presence at the site.

The National Nuclear Security Administration is the office with the Department of Energy that will execute the strategy for the development of plutonium pit production at SRS.

The current plutonium pit production plans call for the development of the failed Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility into a pit production facility and the production of 50 pits per year beginning in 2035.

It is also the agency involved with the extraction of tritium at the site.

The Office of Environmental Management is the other Department of Energy office involved with SRS.

Plutonium pits and tritium are both essential components of nuclear weapons that need to be replaced periodically. Pits are the material that generate the nuclear fission chain reaction, and tritium is used to enhance the yield of nuclear weapons.

SRNS has managed SRS for the Department of Energy since 2009. It took over for Washington Savannah River Company, the company that managed the site from 1989 until 2009.

Also in 2009, the contract for liquid waste operations was split from the main management and operations contract and awarded to Savannah River Remediation. In February, Savannah River Mission Completion took over the liquid waste operations from Savannah River Remediation.

In 2020, the contract for operation of the Savannah River National Laboratory was split from the main management and operations contract. In 2021, Battelle Savannah River Alliance began management and operations of the laboratory.

Washington Savannah River Company (known as Westinghouse Savannah River Company until September 2005) took over management and operations of the site from original operator DuPont.

SRNS is a partnership between Flour, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) and Honeywell.