Private-sector nuclear energy providers will have a chance to bid on three projects – rather than just one, as previously intended – to help the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DoE) obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval to build a radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
TPR reported in late June that DoE was reaching out to industry to review, and possibly revise, a draft waste-disposal license application, the approval of which requires NRC blessing prior to allowing DoE’s prime contractor – Bechtel SAIC, Co. – to develop and open an underground storage facility. The license review and consultation, which initially was one segment of three distinct DoE audits of the repository project, has itself been tentatively divided into three contracting actions -- the overall goal of which involves the hiring a team of experts to review "the entire license application and repository design" and ensure the draft documents satisfy applicable NRC regulations.
DoE’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) late last week issued a revised "sources sought" notice to industry, explaining that it is "considering" obtaining these "license defense" services via three separate contracts whose potential value remains undisclosed. Nuclear transportation planning and implementation activities are among the areas that these contracts would support. Second is the provision of "expert support" to OCRWM in "completing, submitting and potentially defending a license application." The third segment involves assistance with professional and technical management and administrative affairs during the licensing process.
Potential contractors must have "significant experience and expertise" in NRC licensing, nuclear facility design and operations, tunnel design and operations, and working in an NRC regulated environment, the notice says..
Contractors specifically must be capable of assisting DOE by:
(1) Ensuring the sufficiency and readiness of licensing documents for filing with NRC.
(2) Carrying out technical reviews of design documents and operating plans for surface nuclear facilities;
(3) Technical reviews of tunneling plans and underground facility designs;
(4) Technical review of operating plans for subsurface facilities;
(5) Technical reviews of science and performance assessments;
(6) Preparing an organization to be an NRC licensee'
(7) Explaining highly technical subject matter to a non-technical audience.
Work will be performed at DoE headquarters in Washington, D.C. as well as in Las Vegas.