Parsons Corp., Pasadena, Calif. protested Dec. 23 the U.S. Energy Dept.'s award Dec. 8 of a $3.3-billion contract to a URS Washington Division-led team for liquid waste cleanup at its Savannah River Site former nuclear weapons manufacturing complex in Aiken, S.C. The protest was filed to the U.S. Government Accountability Office by the firm's limited liability company, Savannah River Tank Closure. That unit, a venture that also included Fluor Corp. and Northrop Grumman, was the only other contract bidder.

GAO will have 100 days to decide on the protest of the contract, a six-year award at minimum that involves cleaning at least 12 of 49 tanks of high-level radioactive waste and operating three waste-processing facilities.

Erin Kuhlman, Parsons spokesperson, confirmed the protest but declined to elaborate on it. DOE says that while GAO is making its determination, the current contractor, Washington Savannah River Co., will continue to work at the site.

"Everything is on standstill until the protest is resolved either for or against," says DOE spokesman Jim Giusti "Depending on the outcome of the protest, DOE will determine what its next course of action is."

URS Washington Division teamed with Babcock & Wilcox, Bechtel National, CH2M Hill Cos. and AREVA to bid the contract. URS Washington Division spokesman Keith Wood says the company was confident it would retain the contract. "We're very confident in our proposal and we're very confident in the DOE acquisition process," he says.

The contract includes an option for a two-year extension to 2017. URS was scheduled to begin a transition at SRS on Jan. 2 and assume full responsibility for the cleanup on April 1.