Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Battelle, DOE, extend INL operating contract to 2024

In December, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) decided to extend its contract with Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) to manage and operate Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This week, DOE officially approved the contract modification that enables a five-year extension through Sept. 30, 2024. This followed a successful negotiation between DOE and BEA on terms and conditions of the INL contract.

The contract extension complies with an executive order issued in February 2017, directing agencies to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens. “The agreed-upon terms bring clarity to what is expected of BEA and INL in the next several years,” INL Director Mark Peters said. “The ultimate outcome is that INL is even better-positioned to serve the American taxpayer by helping resolve the nation’s big energy and security challenges.”

DOE originally awarded BEA the management contract in November 2004, creating Idaho National Laboratory and separating the cleanup work to form the Idaho Cleanup Project. That contract ran from until Sept. 30, 2014, at which point, DOE exercised a five-year option period that was set to expire Sept. 30, 2019. With the new five-year extension, BEA is contracted to operate and manage INL through 2024.

Key INL initiatives during the term of the contract extension will include:

  • Revitalizing the nuclear energy sector in the United States through research conducted at the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT), and the Materials and Fuels Complex (MFC).
  • Continuing research and development on advanced reactor designs, including partnering with the private sector to develop and demonstrate microreactor technologies for potentially powering remote communities and military bases around the world. This work will also include partnerships with industry and other stakeholders to develop and deploy the next generation of nuclear reactors, including small modular reactors (SMRs).
  • Improving upon INL’s world-leading cyber security capabilities and expertise, including efforts to make the nation’s power grids, transportation and water systems more resilient from cyber, physical and natural threats.
  • Extending the electric vehicle corridor in the west, including longer-lived batteries and improved charging infrastructure.
  • Developing integrated energy systems to stabilize the power grid and increase energy storage capabilities.
  • Continuing support for biofuels research and turning captured carbon into usable products, something that could help the nation’s coal plants reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Promoting STEM education and working with college and university partners to fill the pipeline of potential future employees with talented scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel.
  • Productive partnerships with academia, industry, and federal, state and local governments that allow us to solve complex problems while driving economic growth and making American industry more competitive on a global scale, now and into the future.


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