sdu complete (copy)

Savannah River Remediation successfully completed its first mega-volume Saltstone Disposal Unit on a 2½ acre site in August.

Another contract extension for Savannah River Remediation, the Savannah River Site contract consortium handling the site’s liquid waste mission, may be in the works after the Department of Energy crossed an announcement deadline.

SRR is currently led by AECOM, with partner companies Bechtel, BWXT and C2HM. The liquid waste contract handles the approximately 35 million gallons of high-level liquid nuclear waste stored in million-gallon, carbon-steel tanks.

To date, eight of those tanks have been closed and filled with grout. The liquid waste is processed based on its type and is either turned into glass for permanent storage or is turned into a grout like material for permanent immobilization.

SRR’s contract was originally set to expire in June of this year, but was extended to Dec. 31 while the DOE reviewed bids for the new contract. AECOM, Fluor and Bechtel are three of the primary bidding companies. Fluor is the leading company in Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the consortium that holds the management and operations contract, including Tritium production at SRS.

In bidding for the liquid waste contract, Fluor partnered with Westinghouse, whose March bankruptcy brought the South Carolina commercial nuclear expansion project at VC Summer to a halt.

Westinghouse pledged to continue all other operations, including a small subcontract it holds with SRR.

Westinghouse operates the tank closure cesium removal project, known as TCCR. TCCR aids in waste removal to facilitate more efficient closure of liquid waste tanks.

During industry and community meetings about the bidding process, the DOE said it would build a 90-day transition period into the new contract to ensure a smooth passing between companies. As of Oct. 3, less than 90 days remain on the current SRR contract.

Neither a new contract announcement nor an extension has been released by the DOE, but to comply with its 90-day policy, the Energy Department would need to extend the current contract. In an email statement Wednesday, a DOE spokesperson said the federal department will adhere to its transition policy. It is not yet clear when an announcement will be released.

Thomas Gardiner is a freelance contributor to the Aiken Standard. He graduated from USC Aiken in 2016.