Less than a month remains for anyone interested in selling domestic uranium to the government for a congressionally directed reserve to submit their bids to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
In a 2021 spending bill, Congress appropriated $75 million to the semiautonomous Department of Energy Nuclear Weapons agency to set up a 1-million-pound natural uranium reserve and to work with DoE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to get the job done.
Now, the NNSA is seeking bids for what could be as many as four contracts or as few as two to acquire the necessary uranium. Any contracts cut will be for no fewer than 100,000 pounds of natural uranium and for no more than 500,000 pounds, the NNSA wrote in a solicitation posted online in June.
Bids are due Aug. 1.
Only domestic vendors that have produced uniradiated triuranium octoxide at a domestic recovery facility since Jan. 1, 2009, and that currently store that uranium at the Honeywell Metropolis Works in Metropolis, Ill., are eligible to bid, the NNSA said.
NNSA planned to take delivery of uranium no later than 60 days after it announced the winners of the competition, according to the solicitation. The appropriation for the reserve is part of the budget for the agency’s Weapons Activities account.
NNSA requested funding for the uranium reserve program for the 2021 fiscal year. Congress eventually approved and funded it, at about half the amount sought, but House lawmakers — in a report published along with their version of NNSA’s 2021 budget bill — chided the NNSA for being unable to justify its request for the reserve. Both chambers agreed that the NNSA should give Congress regular progress reports about the reserve, and that the weapons agency and other DoE branches should consolidate any uranium management efforts they had underway.