One of the two teams that did not win the $23 billion contract to manage and operate two nuclear weapons plants in Tennessee and Texas said newly released federal documents show it had the best bid.
The contract to manage the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, was awarded to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, of Reston, Va., on Jan. 8. The consolidated contract, the first ever for the National Nuclear Security Administration, is expected to save money.
But the two losing teams—Nuclear Production Partners LLC of Lynchburg, Va., and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge—filed bid protests. On April 29, the U.S. Government Accountability Office upheld those protests in part. The GAO questioned whether the NNSA had properly evaluated the expected savings, and the agency recommended that the contract procurement be re-opened and more information requested from the bidders.
The GAO has posted a redacted version of its decision online.
In a statement Friday, Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, one of the two losing teams, said it had reviewed the GAO decision and was pleased to see more information on the evaluation of the three competing proposals by what is known as the Source Evaluation Board, or SEB. Nuclear Production Partners is sometimes referred to as NP2 or NPP.
“It is now apparent that the SEB evaluated NP2’s proposal as the best choice for moving to the NNSA’s vision of a consolidated nuclear security enterprise,” the company’s statement said.
The protesting teams had raised several concerns, including a decision by a new official appointed eight days before the contract decision was made to raise the CNS rating from good to excellent under an evaluation of corporate experience.
But the GAO only upheld the questions raised about proposed cost savings.
“Specifically, GAO concluded that NNSA failed to meaningfully assess the majority of each offeror’s proposed cost savings, and based its source selection decision on the unsupported assumption that all cost savings proposed by every offeror would be achieved,” Ralph O. White, GAO managing associate general counsel for procurement law, said in a statement last month. “The protesters raised various other protest allegations, which were denied.”
Earlier this year, federal officials said CNS had promised to help the federal government save $3.27 billion during the next decade, but many of the details would have to be announced later. The expected savings of the other two bidding teams have not been publicly disclosed.
Last month, Jason Bohne, a spokesman for Bechtel National, which is part of the CNS team, said the company will provide more details on how it can save the $3.27 billion. It was a credible number, Bohne said.
“Based on the information we have, we’re encouraged,” Bohne said. “We feel that the opportunity to provide additional information will confirm that the NNSA made the right decision when it picked Consolidated Nuclear Security.”
The NNSA announced Wednesday that it will request more information from the three bidding teams. In its Friday statement, NPP said it is prepared to respond.
“We look forward to NNSA taking this opportunity to conduct a thorough re-evaluation,” the statement said.
CNS suggested it was also ready to respond. The company has submitted a “very credible and innovative solution for managing and operating both sites,” Bohne said April 29.
“We think additional information will only go to reinforce that,” he said.
The NPP team includes Babcock and Wilcox Co., the current lead managing and operating contractor at Y-12 and Pantex. The team also includes URS, Northrop Grumman, and Honeywell.
CNS, the team that initially won the consolidated contract award, includes Bechtel National Inc., which is a partner with B&W on the Y-12 management and operating contract. Other CNS members are Lockheed Martin Services Inc., ATK Launch Systems Inc., and SOC LLC.
The third team, Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC, is comprised of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and Fluor Federal Services Inc. A Jacobs spokeswoman did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Note: This story was updated at 12:23 p.m.