The U.S. Department of Energy has selected a Bechtel company to manage and operate the nation’s only deep underground repository for nuclear waste: the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Tularosa Basin Range Services LLC, doing business as Salado Isolation Mining Contractors (SIMCO), is a single-purpose entity comprised of Bechtel National Inc. SIMCO will utilize Los Alamos Technical Associates as a New Mexico-based small business teaming subcontractor.
The work scope is valued at up to $3 billion over 10 years if all options are exercised.
“The mission to safely dispose of defense-related nuclear waste is vitally important for protecting people and the planet,” said Dena Volovar, Bechtel National executive vice president. “We’re honored to be entrusted with this mission and look forward to joining the WIPP team and the Carlsbad community.”
Photo: A shipment of radioactive waste arrives at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The waste will be entombed in rooms mined from an ancient salt formation more than 2,000 feet underground. (U.S. Department of Energy photo)
WIPP is a system of disposal rooms mined out of an ancient salt bed more than 2,000 feet underground. It has operated since 1999, accepting waste from 22 government sites across the U.S. The waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, debris, soil, and other items contaminated with small amounts of plutonium and other human-made radioactive elements, known as transuranic or TRU waste. The waste has been accumulating since the 1940s as part of the nation’s nuclear defense program.
Bechtel National, the U.S government services arm of Bechtel Corp., has more than 44 years of experience successfully managing Department of Energy sites in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
Through Bechtel’s global operations, the team brings world class mine construction, safety, and maintenance experience including cutting edge design and operations knowledge, and methods and tools to improve safety, schedule, and cost.
SIMCO will share additional information with the community in Carlsbad, New Mexico once the Department of Energy gives notice to proceed.