Note: This story was last updated at 8:43 a.m. March 20.
After more than one year and three protests, a team led by the Babcock and Wilcox Co. will no longer oppose the transition to a new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.
The team, Nuclear Production Partners LLC, had challenged the National Nuclear Security Administration’s decision to award the consolidated contract to another team, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS. That decision was first announced in January 2013 and reaffirmed in November. The contract could be worth $22.8 billion during a 10-year period.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and final protest by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, on Feb. 27, but it wasn’t clear if the B&W-led team might continue to challenge the contract award. The case could have been appealed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.
In the meantime, federal officials and CNS said they had started the four-month transition to CNS at Y-12 and Pantex. The transition had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 2013, but it had been delayed by protests. Among other things, the protests had led the NNSA to seek additional cost savings information from the three bidding teams.
In a press release Wednesday, B&W, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., said the NP2 team, based in Lynchburg, Va., does not plan to take any further action on the decision to award the management and operating contract to CNS.
“The current B&W-led teams at Y-12 and Pantex are fully engaged in supporting a smooth transition to the new contractor,” B&W said in the release.”B&W is dedicated to ensuring this process is completed on time, safely and securely, with minimal disruption to current missions.
“B&W looks forward to continuing to work with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration and wishes to thank the employees at Y-12 and Pantex for the extraordinary work they have done in support of national security. The company also appreciates the support it has received from the communities of Amarillo, Texas, and Oak Ridge, Tenn.”
CNS is led by Bechtel National Inc., and the team also includes Lockheed Martin Services Inc., ATK Launch Systems Inc., and SOC LLC.
“We are pleased by the news that B&W will not take further action in regard to the Pantex/Y-12 contract award,” CNS spokesperson Jason Bohne said Wednesday. “Their decision is an important step because it allows the workforces at Pantex and Y-12 to move forward with confidence. CNS is working at full speed, and we look forward to continuing to work productively with the B&W-led management teams at both sites to ensure an effective transition.”
Besides calling for managing and operating Y-12 and Pantex, the five-year extendable contract could also include construction of the multi-billion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and the potential to manage and operate the NNSA’s Savannah River Tritium Operations near Aiken, S.C.
CNS, of Reston, Va., will use Booz Hamilton Inc. as a merger and transformation specialist and will use General Atomics for Savannah River Tritium Operations if that option is exercised after the first year.
In January 2013, federal officials said CNS had promised to save the federal government $3.27 billion during the next decade. They said the consolidated contract, the result of years of work, could save money in part by eliminating redundancies in such areas as human resources, purchasing, finance, and information technology.
The third team that bid on the contract, Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge, has remained relatively quiet since the contract award was first announced in January 2013 and an initial bid protest.
B&W-led companies have held the Y-12 contract since 2000 and the Pantex contract since 2001. Y-12 is currently operated by B&W Y-12, a partnership of the Babcock and Wilcox Co. and Bechtel Corp. Pantex is managed and operated by Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Pantex LLC. Bechtel, which has operational headquarters in Reston, Va., is a partner on that project as well.
More information will be added as it becomes available.