A Bechtel-led bidding team is disputing the award of a multiyear, multibillion-dollar U.S. Energy Dept. nuclear waste management contract at the Hanford site in Washington state to a rival team. It’s the second apparent losing team to do so. Its Jan. 21 bid protest to the U.S. Government Accountability Office of a $10-billion, 10-year cleanup contract for the site’s heavily contaminated central plateau follows a Jan. 13 protest by a team led by nuclear services firm Huntington Ingalls of a $4-billion, five-year contract for site services. Both protests dispute December DOE awards, but neither GAO nor the firms will disclose why. The agency will rule in 30 days whether to accept the protests, and by April 30 on their merits.

Project W. Restoration, the Bechtel team whose other members were not disclosed, is challenging the contract award to a team led by AECOM Management Services that includes Fluor and Atkins units. The contract replaces one set to expire in September held for 12 years, with two extensions, by Jacobs’ subsidiary CH2M.

Tasks include cleanup and disposal of defunct buildings, groundwater, soil and debris long tainted by radioactive and chemical waste from past decades of nuclear weapons production. An unknown quantity of the 1,700 CH2M employees now performing work would transfer to the successor, says the Tri-Cities Herald.

DOE awarded the contract under its new “end-state” procurement  model, an initiative to streamline the acquisition process, include more industry transparency and narrow evaluation factors, said Aaron Deckard, a DOE environmental management official, in a briefing.

The earlier protest by Huntington Ingalls-led Hanford Integrated Infrastructure Services, whose other members are also unidentified, disputes the award to Leidos Integrated Technology, Centerra Group and Parsons Government Services. The first two firms are contract incumbents. DOE noted three bidders but did not identify them. Industry publication Weapons Complex Monitor said government contractor PAE is leading the third one. The contract includes security, emergency and IT services, as well as infrastructure construction to support Hanford’s waste vitrification complex. After 17 years of development, it is set to start testing before partial startup in 2023.