An Atkins joint venture has been awarded a major nuclear contract by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Atkins, along with manufacturer Westinghouse and construction company Fluor, has been appointed to operate the depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) conversion facilities at DOE’s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Kentucky, and the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.
The contract with the Mid-America Conversion Services (MCS) joint venture is valued at $318M (£244M) over a five-year period beginning this year.
The project includes the operation of DUF6 conversion facilities for the purpose of processing DOE’s inventory of stored DUF6, a co-product of the uranium enrichment process. The facilities convert DUF6 to depleted uranium oxide for possible future reuse, storage or disposal. A co-product of the conversion process is hydrofluoric acid (HF), which can be reused in industrial processes.
“Atkins has a long history of success on energy projects around the world, and we look forward to bringing our extensive experience in nuclear operations and high-level waste management to these key facilities in the US nuclear infrastructure,” said Alan Parker, president and project manager in Atkins’ Energy Americas business.
“We’ve been involved at the Portsmouth and Paducah sites for over 10 years and managed construction of the DUF6 plants. We’re pleased to resume our involvement in these important projects.”
MCS is a fully integrated team led by Atkins which will operate the two DUF6 conversion facilities to continue the conversion of the DOE’s inventory of approximately 765,000t of depleted uranium hexafluoride to depleted uranium oxide.
The team will also broker the sale of the aqueous hydrofluoric acid (AqHF) product and provide surveillance and maintenance services for the DUF6 cylinder inventory.