Earlier this week, the Office of Environmental Management shared the news that a new enclosure at Oak Ridge that processes radioactive casks has saved nearly $20 million by putting the facility on a path to complete cleanup work two years ahead of schedule.
Small businesses were critical to making that happen.
The new enclosure, called the Cask Processing Enclosure, is operated by Wastren Advantage Inc., a certified 8(a) disadvantaged business. Wastren Advantage Inc. began over 20 years ago in Piketon, Ohio, and they now have over 300 employees between their eight district offices throughout the United States. In addition to operating the Cask Processing Enclosure and the entire Transuranic Waste Processing Center where the enclosure is located, the small business also has done projects at Hanford, Los Alamos, Nevada National Security Site, and Idaho National Laboratory – just to name a few of the Energy Department facilities they’ve done business with.
Wastren Advantage isn’t the only small business that made the Cask Processing Enclosure possible. The enclosure, which helped to double the processing rate of transuranic waste at the Oak Ridge Transuranic Waste Processing Center, was constructed and stood up with the aid of 24 different small businesses, including six women-owned small businesses and two veteran-owned small businesses.
Overall, through the management of the center and the work small businesses were awarded for the construction of the center, small businesses received an estimated $395,000 in contacts from this opportunity.
With the skills and resources of these 24 small businesses, and the management of Wastren Advantage, the Cask Processing Enclosure was able to open in July, and it now is able to process clothing, tools, residues, debris, soil, and other items contaminated with radioactive elements that have greater atomic numbers than uranium (like plutonium). Removing this harmful waste is a critical part of the Oak Ridge’s Office of Environmental Management’s cleanup efforts.
For more information about small business opportunities and assistance, visit www.smallbusiness.energy.gov, and learn about the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization at the Energy Department.