Today, the Department of Energy announced modifications to the baseline and contract with Bechtel to implement Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Vit Plant. Bechtel has been part of the Tri-Cities community for more than 40 years. We are committed to the mission of delivering a vitrification plant that will operate with quality and safely – and ultimately protect the Columbia River and our friends, family, and neighbors who live and work along its shorelines. Below is the message that I shared with employees today.
-Peggy McCullough, Project Director
DOE, Bechtel finalize contract modifications to enable DFLAW Clear path set with new milestones, incentives
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced today it has approved modifications to the WTP contract and baseline to formalize and implement Direct Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW), the sequenced approach that allows for low-activity tank waste treatment to begin no later than December 31, 2023. I signed the contract modification yesterday.
The approximately $3.1 billion contract change formalizes the work that began in January 2014 when DOE directed Bechtel National, Inc. (BNI) to shift to the sequenced approach. We’ve made significant progress since then on the Analytical Laboratory, Balance of Facilities, and Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility, for which construction will be finished in 2018. The modified contract covers the completion of these facilities and the new DFLAW capabilities, cold and hot commissioning of LAW, and project services such as facility leases, human resources, and other functions.
The $4.5 billion figure noted in the Department’s news flash reflects the increase to the total project cost, and includes contingency as well as other costs associated with federal project support, services, and management.
DFLAW and the new contract modification afford the clearest and most expeditious path towards beginning tank waste treatment as soon as possible. Our contract incentivizes us to complete LAW hot commissioning by January 2022. Our team has been and will continue to work toward realizing this important goal.
For the first time in nearly three years, we will have clear milestones and schedules – with fee incentives and disincentives – aligned with current activities. Clear expectations allow us to better plan and prioritize our work. Our priority will be meeting these milestones on or before schedule while staying vigilant with quality and safety as our core values.
Operationally, we expect the sequenced approach will provide us with valuable experience bringing these facilities online through startup, cold commissioning, and hot commissioning, which can then be applied to the Pretreatment (PT) and High-Level Waste (HLW) facilities. In parallel with our focus on DFLAW, we will continue executing work scope as planned for PT and HLW.
By meeting or beating our new milestones, we will set a strong foundation for success with PT and HLW.
I’m excited about the path ahead of us. I will be communicating more details about the changes over the next few weeks and at a future all-employee meeting.
In the meantime, let’s celebrate the path forward and work diligently to achieve these milestones. Our success means we will protect the Columbia River and its rivershore communities against some of the world’s most complex hazardous nuclear waste.