As expected, two losing contractor teams protested the U.S. Energy Dept.'s May 14 award to another bidder of a $13-billion, 10-year contract to manage operation and cleanup of the large waste storage tank farm at the agency's Hanford, Wash. complex. DOE awarded the contract to BWXT Technical Services teamed with Fluor Corp.

Tank Closure Partnership, which includes Jacobs Government Services and subsidiary CH2M filed its protest May 27. Hanford Tank Closure LLC, led by AECOM''s government services unit, now spun off as Amentum, filed the same day, according to the website of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which rules on federal bid protests.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract would cover cleanup and management of about 177 deteriorating underground tanks for nuclear and chemical wastes that were generated by decades of former nuclear weapons production at Hanford.

Other winning team members are INTERA Inc. and DBD Inc.

Andrew Wittmann, lead industry sector analyst at Baird Equity Research, said in a May 16 note, that a Jacobs bid protest was likely, noting the firm had “expressed higher priority/importance for picking up the tank farm contact” after losing its incumbency on Hanford's central plateau plutonium cleanup contract.

AECOM spun off its government services unit last year to private equity owners, which launched it in February as the independent company Amentum.

Jacobs declined comment on its bid protest.

The latest protests follow one filed earlier this year by Bechtel on its bid for the new $10-billion Hanford plutonium cleanup contract that GAO rejected on May 13.

A GAO ruling must by made by Sept. 4.

The protests could delay contract transfer at Hanford, but that transition already is delayed by the site's COVID-19 impacts. About 60% of its estimated 11,000 workers have been telecommuting, with return to site work now getting under way.