The UCOR contract to clean up federal sites in Oak Ridge has been extended one year to July 31, 2021, and the consideration of a new cleanup contract won’t be considered until November 2020 at the earliest.
The UCOR contract could be extended one additional year, to July 31, 2022, using two six-month options, depending upon contractor performance and progress.
Before the extension, UCOR’s contract had been scheduled to expire July 31, 2020.
UCOR works on cleanup projects for the U.S. Department of Energy at the East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Y-12 National Security Complex. The work includes the demolition of old, contaminated buildings that are no longer used. The cleanup work is called environmental management, or EM.
The DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management announced the extension of the cleanup contract, a sole source modification, in February. UCOR (URS|CH2M Hill Oak Ridge LLLC) is comprised of AECOM and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
“This sole source modification will provide the continuity of services without interruption for environmental management activities to complete Y-12 and ORNL high-priority work, along with the continuation of East Tennessee Technology Park remediation activities and ongoing mission-critical EM operations,” the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management said in the February notice.
The notice said the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is part of DOE, and the DOE Office of Science have “robust plans” for modernization that depend upon the cleanup work at Y-12, an NNSA production site, and ORNL, a DOE Office of Science laboratory.
UCOR is mobilized to perform the work and has plans and procedures that are approved and in place to continue performing the work while a procurement for the new contract is being conducted, DOE said.
The extension of the UCOR contract will provide for the “continuity of environmental management services without interruption” and avoid impacts to NNSA and Office of Science modernization schedules, the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management said.
DOE said it had the authority to approve the sole source acquisition—contracting without a full and open competition—based upon an exception in the Competition in Contracting Act. That exception states that something other than a full and open competition is authorized when there is only one responsible source and no other supplies and services will satisfy agency requirements, DOE said.
The contract extension was the best alternative to meet the government’s needs, DOE said.
This month, the DOE Office of Environmental Management posted a special notice for seven requests for proposals across the United States, including the Oak Ridge cleanup contract. The procurement processes have been affected by COVID-19 and its impacts on business activities, DOE said. The department said it is sequencing procurements in a way that is safe and healthy, and the Office of Environmental Management generally expects to proceed in a way that does not require face-to-face interactions or travel, including though virtual (online) interactions.
“These actions will demonstrate the furtherance of the EM cleanup mission and competitive procurement process to the maximum extent practicable,” DOE said. “As the department focuses on safe resumption of operations at DOE-EM facilities, DOE-EM will continue to foster a competitive procurement environment to the greatest extent possible during this unique time.”
The schedules and processes could be affected by enhanced telework, social distancing, and travel restrictions that are in place due to COVID-19, DOE said.
DOE plans to stagger its releases of final requests for proposals, or RFPs. Here is the projected schedule, as of May 7, for the major RFP releases, showing the earliest potential release dates:
- Idaho cleanup project—mid- to late-May 2020
- Savannah River National Laboratory management and operating contract—June 2020
- Carlsbad technical assistance contract—June/July 2020
- nationwide low-level and mixed low-level waste treatment services—July 2020
- Savannah River Site integrated mission completion contract—September 2020
- Portsmouth infrastructure support services—October 2020
- Oak Ridge Reservation cleanup contract—November 2020
In July 2019, DOE announced an intent to issue a draft request for proposals for the Oak Ridge Reservation cleanup contract within 15 to 60 days. It’s not clear why there was a delay.
The Oak Ridge Reservation has 33,000 acres. It was established in the 1940s to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.
The cleanup work at East Tennessee Technology Park, which was closed in the mid-1980s, is expected to be mostly complete this year. The work will then shift to ORNL and Y-12, which are still operating and where some cleanup work is already under way.
Cleanup work that remains or continues in Oak Ridge includes:
- the decontamination and demolition of hazardous and radioactively contaminated facilities at ORNL and Y-12;
- the remediation of contamination across the Oak Ridge Reservation;
- operating and maintaining gaseous and wastewater treatment systems;
- treating and disposing of low- and mixed low-level wastes;
- building a new landfill for low-level waste;
- operating and maintaining new and existing landfills;
- implementing risk-reduction actions and surveillance and maintenance of EM facilities and sites at Y-12 and ORNL, including the Transuranic Waste Processing Center and related transuranic waste storage facilities; and
- conducting limited operations to support shipments of remaining transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.
Learn more about the Oak Ridge Reservation cleanup contract here.