Navy anticipates SSSB disposal RFP later this summer

By Justin Katz / May 30, 2019 at 3:21 PM

The Navy plans to issue a solicitation for dismantling and disposing of a surface ship support barge by August and awarding a contract in April 2020, according to a May 30 Federal Business Opportunities notice.

"The Navy intends to award a firm-fixed-price with incentive fee contract for preparing the SSSB for transport, transporting the vessel from the Hampton Roads, Virginia area to the dismantlement site, and completely dismantling and disposing of the SSSB," according to the notice.

"Additionally, the Navy is establishing a process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for technical and contractual implementation of NRC regulations governing the disposal of the SSSB," the notice continues.

The NRC's involvement in the effort is necessary because the barge was an oil tanker "converted into a dockside refueling facility with a water pool used to disassemble spent nuclear fuel for shipment," an NRC spokesman told Inside Defense. While that fuel has been eliminated, there are still "residual, low-level, activated corrosion products" within the ship's support systems and the water pool, he said.

Inside Defense previously reported the precedents the service establishes with the NRC while dismantling the barge will inform the process of dismantling the much larger and more complex aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65).

"I won't go as far as to say that it's a blueprint for an Enterprise disposal, but we're going to learn some things that potentially could inform the way that we approach the Enterprise disposal," Adm. James Caldwell, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program chief, said of the barge dismantlement in October.

The Navy plans to host an industry day in July and conduct a full-and-open competition.