Cincinnati – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded a competitive small business task order to Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The award is a $22 million, time and materials task order with a three-year performance period and two one-year extension options.
Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. will provide engineering and operations technical support services to the DOE Portsmouth Paducah Project Office (PPPO) in Lexington, Kentucky and the Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride (DUF6) Conversion Project in Paducah, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio.
For several decades DOE was responsible for uranium enrichment, the uranium hexafluoride depleted in the 235U isotope (typically down to 0.2 - 0.4 %) was stored as a solid in large steel cylinders. The containers accumulated over time in outdoor storage areas called "cylinder yards". DUF6 is a co-product of the uranium enrichment process that increases the proportion of the uranium-235 (235U) isotope found in natural uranium, making the uranium suitable for use as fuel for nuclear reactors or in national security applications.
About 60,000 cylinders comprise the DOE inventory--about 700,000 metric tons of uranium (MTU). About 39,000 cylinders are stored at the Paducah Site. Another 22,000 are stored at the Portsmouth Site. DOE has completed transfer of about 5,000 cylinders from the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge to Portsmouth for conversion.
The current DUF6 conversion will be completed within 25 years at Paducah and 18 years at Portsmouth.