SRNL, A Area, Aerial

A portion of the Savannah River Site, south of Aiken, including the Savannah River National Laboratory.

The U.S. Department of Energy expects to award the new Savannah River National Laboratory management contract in early fiscal year 2021.

The timeframe was included in a Friday morning Energy Department announcement, which publicized the release of the final request for proposals for the multibillion-dollar contract. The Energy Department previously forecasted publishing the final RFP – among the last steps in the sometimes-protracted federal procurement process – this month.

The draft RFP was published in early April. Approximately 60 companies and organizations participated in related events and conferences, the Energy Department said.

The standalone Savannah River National Lab management contract, a notable shift away from the current contract structure, is valued at an estimated $380 million per year. The contract could run for a decade, 2021 through 2030. The base period of the prospective contract is five years.

Proposals are due within weeks.

The discrete contract is designed to let a new team take over and enrich the lab's research and development, long-term remediation, science, academic and national security chops. Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar earlier this year said "what we're here to do" is "maximize” the lab's potential and department-wide influence.

The lab is currently overseen by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the Fluor-led team that runs the Savannah River Site day-to-day and also manages a breadth of other national defense and nuclear cleanup ventures.

A separate contract, Savannah River Site manager Michael Budney said in February, is a solid step forward. It provides stability and flexibility, Budney explained, speaking at a Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness breakfast forum, and could certainly prove fruitful. 

Savannah River National Lab is one of 17 such labs scattered across the U.S.

Colin Demarest covers the SRS, DOE, its NNSA and government, in general. Support his crucial reporting and local journalism, in general, by subscribing. Follow Colin on Twitter: @demarest_colin.