The U.S. Department of Energy said Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC has been awarded a $1.3 billion operation and management contract at DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, N.M. Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC is comprised of URS Energy and Construction Inc., Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group Inc., and Areva Federal Services LLC.
The five-year contract contains an option to extend for an additional five years. The consortium manages the WIPP site and the Department’s National Transuranic (TRU) Waste program. After a transition period, the consortium will assume responsibility for operations and management of the WIPP facility on October 1, 2012.
DOE said the mission of WIPP and the National TRU program is to protect human health and the environment by safe management, retrieval, characterization, transportation and disposal of approved wastes. TRU waste consists of materials contaminated with radioactive elements that have atomic numbers greater than uranium, including tools, rags, protective clothing, sludge and soil.
The WIPP is a DOE facility designed to safely isolate defense-generated TRU waste from people and the environment. Waste temporarily stored at sites around the country is shipped to WIPP and permanently disposed in rooms mined out of an ancient salt formation 2,150 feet below the surface. WIPP began waste disposal operations in 1999.
Subscribe to Nuclear Power International magazine