As the fallout from a July 28 security breach at the Y-12 National Security Complex continues to roil the plant, federal officials announced Monday they have canceled part of a proposal to combine protective force services at Y-12, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office, and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.
The current contract competition will be revised to remove the National Nuclear Security Administration’s portion of the protective force services from the solicitation, according to an NNSA announcement. That includes the part of the contract competition that would provide protective force operations at Y-12 and Pantex.
The security services, or protective force operations, are now expected to be included in a consolidated management and operating contract covering both Pantex and Y-12.
But that amendment will only be issued to those who have already submitted proposals, and the due date for revised proposals will be extended to an undetermined date.
The portion of the contract competition that solicits security services for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Oak Ridge Office, and the East Tennessee Technology Park will remain active.
“Further information regarding this change will follow via an amendment,” the NNSA said in an announcement posted online.
The NNSA had expected to combine protective force services at Pantex, Y-12, and ORO to improve performance, transition to a consolidated contract and merge protective force operations at geographically dispersed nuclear facilities, cut costs, and increase efficiencies.
That proposal presumably changed after the July 28 intrusion into the high-security Protected Area on the west end of Y-12 by three anti-nuclear weapons activists, including an 82-year-old nun, a 63-year-old Catholic worker, and a 57-year-old house painter. Sneaking into the plant in the early morning, the trio allegedly crossed fences, cutting through three of them, before splashing human blood and spray-painting slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored.
The penetration of the Protected Area, where deadly force is authorized, has raised questions about security at Y-12, the nation’s main production facility for many nuclear weapons components. It’s also led to a string of personnel changes, including at the plant’s management and operating contractor B&W Y-12 and security contractor WSI Oak Ridge. Nuclear operations have been temporarily halted, and all employees have had to undergo more security training.
WSI Oak Ridge is the current security contractor at Y-12, but the company’s contract ends Nov. 30.
Under a separate contract, WSI Oak Ridge also provides security services for ORNL, ETTP, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office.