Contract for WIPP management

23 April 2012

A $1.3 billion contract to manage and operate the US Department of Energy's (DoE's) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for up to ten years has been awarded to Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC.

WIPP (DoE)_380
WIPP (Image: US Department of Energy)

The five-year contract, which contains an option to extend for an additional five years, will see newly formed limited liability company Nuclear Waste Partnership take over the management of the New Mexico transuranic waste disposal site from 1 October 2012. Nuclear Waste Partnership is led by URS Corporation, partnered by Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group, with Areva Federal Services LLC as the major subcontractor.

Located in a 655-metre-deep geologic salt formation, WIPP is the final resting place for transuranic waste - material contaminated with man-made radioisotopes that are heavier than uranium - from the US defence sector. The facility is the world's first underground repository for the permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste, and has been in operation since 1999.

In addition to managing the repository, Nuclear Waste Partnership will coordinate the transportation of materials to WIPP and characterise incoming waste.

URS has been involved in providing management and operations services at WIPP since 1985, URS president for energy and construction Robert Zaist noted. The facility is currently managed and operated through URS subsidiary Washington TRU Solutions. "We look forward to continuing to perform this important work at WIPP for the DoE," he said.

On behalf of Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group, president George Dudich said the contract would serve as a "natural extension" of the company's expertise in delivering environmental cleanup services of weapons and defence-related waste materials and would be "a valuable asset as similar repository needs are identified around the globe."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News