Oak Ridge TRU waste contractor gets 68.5% of fee

tru1The Department of Energy’s Transuranic Waste Processing Center is located off Highway 95 on the southwest end of the Oak Ridge reservation.

In an Oct. 28 letter, the Department of Energy informed Wastren Advantage Inc. (WAI) that it would receive $405,601 in fees for its management of DOE’s Transuranic Waste Processing Center in Oak Ridge. The evaluation was for the six-month performance period, Feb. 1, 2014 through July 31, 2014.

The fee was 68.5 percent of the maximum available fee of $592,117.

The evaluation was broken into multiple categories, and WAI received a “good” rating for processing and disposal of TRU waste inventory, which accounted for 35 percent of the available management fee. WAI received “very good” ratings for business management and facility operations. The contractor got “satisfactory” ratings for cost performance and project management systems.

The letter was signed by Sue Cange, DOE’s acting environmental chief, and sent to Robert McKay, WAI’s general manager.

According to the letter, WAI processed 62 percent of the planned volume of contact-handled transuranic waste during the performance period and shipped offsite 14 percent of the planned volume. DOE said processing of waste was “primarily impacted” by the ongoing analysis of hazards associated with these wastes, as well as technical issues with the puncturing of overpacked drums. The disposal of waste was affected by DOE’s delay in approving the resumption of waste characterization by the federal CCP team and the suspension of waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

“Although the delays in approval of CCP certification and the suspension of shipments to WIPP were outside of the WAI’s control, WAI quickly developed a plan to minimize related impacts,” the letter stated.

As for the remote-handled TRU waste, WAI processed 67 percent of the planned volume and shipped off-site 21 percent of what had been planned for the six-month period. Again, it was noted that the processing was primarily affected by the WIPP shutdown, and noted that some activities had to be postponed because of the limited storage capacity available on-site. DOE said it took some of the limitations into consideration in determining the fee.

Facility operations are “very good” and the facility is “sufficiently maintained,” Cange wrote.

DOE said the cost performance index and schedule performance “deviated unfavorably” by more than 10 percent during the period, but said the contractor’s project to date cost index remains favorable. “It is noted that some changes outside of WAI’s control occurred during the evaluation period that affected their performance and will require negotiation and implementation of contract and baseline changes before the extent of impact on their performance will be fully known,” the fee determination official stated.

Other cost issues were noted as well.

The management contract for the TWPC is coming up for competitive bids, and DOE last month issued the final Request for Proposals. The proposals are due Dec. 1.

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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.