URS-CH2M Hill team wins Oak Ridge EM contract

A team headed by URS and CH2M Hill won the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge environmental management contract, with a potential value of about $2.2 billion over nine years, DOE announced today.
The contract, which has an initial five-year period and a four-year option, is supposed to complete the remaining cleanup work at the East Tennessee Technology Park, as well as perform other related missions in Oak Ridge.
Sixty percent of the work is to be subcontracted by the management team, DOE said in its announcement.

The URS/CH2M team will succeed Bechtel Jacobs Co., which has been DOE’s cleanup manager in Oak Ridge since 1998.
In a statement, DOE Assistant Secretary Ines Triay said, “Today’s contract announcement means that we can continue to meet our commitments to the state of Tennessee and surrounding community to clean up the legacy of the Cold War.”
John Eschenberg, DOE’s environmental chief in Oak Ridge, said, ”This work is critical to the future of Oak Ridge. The way I see it is as we complete the cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park (a former uranium-enrichment plant), we make way for new business venues and reindustrialization.”
Also, the new contractor will handle “critical services,” such as waste-treatment processes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and management of landfills at the Y-12 National Security Complex, he said.
Eschenberg, acting deputy manager of the federal agency’s Oak Ridge office, said the transition of contractors would begin on Monday and continue over about a 90-day period.
The transition will be a “full team effort,” with the two contractors and DOE working together to ensure that the transition takes place smoothly and efficiently, Eschenberg said. He said he did not know the number of BJC employees that would be transferred to the new company but it’s expected to be most of them.
He praised that DOE team that worked on the contract, including Jay Mullis, who was chair of the Source Evaluation Board.
The new EM contract will be an award-fee style contract, with performance-based incentives, Eschenberg said. The contract allows DOE to incentivize the fee in multiple ways, such as individual milestones or certain behaviors or performances, he said.
For example, there could be a period with additional focus on safety or additional focus on productivity, the DOE official said.
“It gives us as a customer a wide latitude in what objectives we want incentivize,” he said.
Every six months there will be a Performance Evaluation and Management Plan, and that can be adjusted based on the level of federal funding that’s available or other factors, Eschenberg said. “Every six months we’ll be able to reset what our objectives are, and if there are ebbs and flows in funding, we can adjust upward or downward,” he said.
He said there were five very qualified teams that competed for the DOE contract, providing DOE with a challenge in picking the one that provided the best value for the government and a “superior approach” to completing the remaining cleanup work.
The URS/CH2M Oak Ridge LLC team was the choice for those two reasons, Eschenberg said.
Asked about the potential for a protest of the contract award, Eschenberg noted that’s a feature of government contracting. But he indicated that he didn’t see that as likely given that the five offerors have a lot of experience in government contracting. He said he thought the DOE team did an outstanding job in proceeding deliberately and dilligently and following the procurement rules.
“The winner has been vetted through the process and up through the leadership in this Department, so I don’t see where we’re going to have (a protest),” he said.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.

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