HANFORD — A team led by BWXT Technical Services has been awarded a contract valued at $13 billion over 10 years to manage the Hanford nuclear reservation tank farms.

The new contractor, named Hanford Works Restoration, will take over work now being done under the Washington River Protection Solutions contract that expires in September.

The winning team for the new Tank Closure Contract includes BWXT of Lynchburg, Virginia, with Fluor Federal Services of Freeville, South Carolina. The primary subcontractors on the team are INTERA of Austin, Texas, and DBD of Richland.

"The proposal submitted by Hanford Works Restoration was determined to provide the best value to the government considering key personnel, technical and management approach, past performance and cost," the Department of Energy said in its announcement of the contract award.

About 2,350 employees work at the tank farms. Many are expected to transition to working for the new company, with the winning bidder bringing in its own management team.

A 60-day transition period is planned, with the current contractor possibly leaving the site before the end of September.

However, the contract award may be appealed by the bidders who were not awarded the contract.

Amentum, the parent company of Washington River Protection Solutions and its majority owner Atkins, had formed a team to bid on the project.

Jacobs Engineering also is believed to have bid on the project.

The appeal process and the current status of the nuclear reservation because of the COVID-19 pandemic could delay the transition to the new contractor.

Only 10 to 15 percent of the workforce is now reporting to the site to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

BWXT brings experience to Hanford from DOE's Savannah River Site in South Carolina, where it is a partner on the team responsible for processing and stabilizing liquid radioactive nuclear waste and closure of tanks.

The company has 12 major operating sites in the United States and Canada and its additional joint ventures provide management and operations at more than a dozen DOE and NASA facilities.

Fluor is best known at Hanford for being the site's main cleanup contractor from 1996 to 2008.

The new contract covers management of underground tanks in the center of the Hanford site that hold 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste from the past production of plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program. Some of the tanks have held waste since World War II.

The new contractor will empty waste from leak-prone single shell tanks into newer double shell tanks and could be assigned to permanently close tanks after they are emptied to regulatory standards.

It will pretreat and feed low activity radioactive waste from the tanks to the vitrification plant, where it will be turned into a stable glass form for disposal.