A small business contractor helped replace the roof at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory earlier this year as part of a series of projects to keep the building safe and stable as it awaits demolition in the years ahead.
A small business contractor helped replace the roof at Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory earlier this year as part of a series of projects to keep the building safe and stable as it awaits demolition in the years ahead.

Representing more than 15% of EM’s annual budget, small business prime contractors and subcontractors contribute significantly to the cleanup program’s success at every one of its sites.

That level of annual funding is a result of EM’s strong commitment to small business use and the DOE Small Business First Policy. According to the policy, DOE fosters a dynamic business environment for the small business community, widening the scope of opportunities for small businesses while also strengthening the Department and the American economy. The small businesses include veteran- and women-owned companies, among others.

“All of our partners, from the large management and operations contractors to the small business subcontractors, are integral to our progress as we work to clear the decks and tackle remaining hurdles in our cleanup mission," said Dae Chung, EM Associate Principal Deputy Assistant for Corporate Services. “We value the contributions of small businesses, and we will continue to rely on their unique expertise across the cleanup complex."

In an initiative to develop new markets for small businesses and increase their participation in EM’s larger contracts, the cleanup program has developed special contract clauses focused on optimizing small business use through subcontracting. Most recently, EM expanded small business participation in non-traditional areas through EM’s support of Naval Reactors cleanup work scope.

Small businesses are critical to the advancement of EM’s cleanup and closure efforts. Their focuses include engineering and technical support; installing, upgrading and maintaining site infrastructure; construction and transportation; and waste cleanup, treatment, and characterization.

EM small business prime contractors perform cleanup at locations such as the Nevada National Security Site, the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project in Utah, and the former Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) site in California.

At ETEC, the contractor teamed with DOE and the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to overcome cleanup challenges. Its work involved obtaining DTSC approval, partnering with stakeholders and demolishing all remaining DOE buildings at the site, meeting an EM priority for 2021.

Small business subcontractors helped complete cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park at Oak Ridge ahead of schedule and under budget. They played crucial roles by providing infrastructure support, welding, and metal fabrication, and delivering nuclear and industrial safety supplies.

A Small Business Administration certified 8(a) and small disadvantaged business construction firm was awarded a contract in 2021 to design and construct the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative Facility. The new facility, to be located on the campus of the University of South Carolina-Aiken, will support the missions of EM and the Savannah River National Laboratory while enhancing and expanding collaborations with academia, industries and other government agencies. 

The EM Carlsbad Field Office relies on safe and compliant transportation of transuranic (TRU) waste between various DOE sites to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) by a veteran-owned small business commercial motor carrier. Shipments of TRU waste to WIPP started in 1999, and WIPP has safely received more than 13,000 shipments to date.

At the Savannah River Site (SRS), small business subcontracts provided fly ash, a material used to form grout to dispose of decontaminated salt solution in Saltstone Disposal Units. Other critical components, such as enhanced commercial submersible mixer pumps for dissolving salt cake in SRS waste tanks, were procured through small business partners.