The National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office and Consolidated Nuclear Security have completed one of the largest and most complex contract transitions in the history of the U.S. Department of Energy.
On July 1, Consolidated Nuclear Security, or CNS, assumed the responsibility for managing and operating the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. CNS replaces B&W Y-12, which had operated Y-12 since 2000, and B&W Pantex, which also had operated Pantex since 2000. The contract includes a total annual operating budget of $1.5 billion and employment of about 8,000 in Tennessee and Texas.
“The new contract will allow NNSA to continue the safe and secure maintenance of the nuclear weapons stockpile; provide enriched uranium for naval, research, and isotope production reactors; and, support nonproliferation activities to reduce the global nuclear threat,” said Steve Erhart, NNSA Production Office manager. “The conclusion of this transition will bring much needed stability to the thousands of men and women who play an important role in our enduring national security mission. All contract transitions create some change and uncertainty. But, throughout this process, the highly skilled professionals at Pantex and Y-12 have remained focused and dedicated to the safe and secure completion of the mission.”
The consolidated contract will yield significant savings to the U.S. taxpayer over the life of the contract as NNSA and CNS develop more efficient ways of doing business, a press release said. A portion of the generated savings are to be reinvested into aging infrastructure at both sites to improve the working conditions for the Pantex and Y-12 workforce.
“Our people are NNSA’s greatest asset,” Erhart said. “We intend on improving the quality of life of the workforce by investing in upgrades that better equip them to do this important work well into the future.”
Pantex is responsible for nuclear weapons surveillance and life extension programs; nuclear weapons dismantlement; the development, testing and fabrication of high explosive components; and the interim storage and surveillance of plutonium pits. Y-12 is responsible for uranium storage, processing and manufacturing operation, and the production of uranium feedstock for the U.S. nuclear navy, and the 811-acre plant supports international nuclear nonproliferation programs.
Transition activities during a four-month period have included extensive facility walk-downs, procedure reviews, staffing and benefit plan development, and other transition plans. NPO has confirmed the readiness of the new contractor to assume responsibility of management at both facilities.
Oversight of the new contract will be the responsibility of the NPO. In June 2012, the former Pantex Site Office and Y-12 Site Office were merged into NPO in anticipation of the award of a single management and operating contract for the operation of both Pantex and Y-12.
Successful completion of the transition would not have been possible without the support and efforts of the entire team at Pantex and Y-12, the press release said.
“I am very pleased with the efforts of all three companies in supporting the extensive transition workload,” Erhart said. “Special thanks go to B&W for supporting the transition while maintaining day-to-day production operations and keeping the workforce focused on getting the job done in a safe and secure manner. As this transition is now complete, I want to thank B&W for their many achievements at both sites over the past 14 years, all in support of our essential national security mission.”