Note: This story was updated at 10:48 a.m. Oct. 1.
WSI Oak Ridge, the company that has guarded the Y-12 National Security Complex for about a dozen years, will lose its contract, B&W Y-12 announced Friday evening.
The announcement came two months after an unprecedented security breach. It occurred on the same day that the National Nuclear Security Administration recommended a contract termination.
“B&W Y-12 fully supports NNSA’s recommendation in this matter and will work diligently to further enhance the security at Y-12 and make the transition for former WSI Oak Ridge employees as seamless as possible,” said B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Chuck Spencer. “We recognize that our focus on safety and security at Y-12 cannot be compromised, and we remain committed to continuing to drive improvements in both areas.”
B&W Y-12, which manages and operates the plant for the NNSA, will now be responsible for Y-12 security, a press release said. The transition will start Monday.
Y-12 manufactures parts for every weapon in the nation’s nuclear arsenal, and B&W Y-12 said it wants the transition to be orderly, ensuring that “safe and secure operations remain the highest priority.”
A company press release said active Y-12 security police officers and other active union WSI Oak Ridge employees at Y-12 and the Central Training Facility in Oak Ridge will be offered employment with B&W Y-12 at their current wages and benefits. Collective bargaining agreements with union employees will be honored.
B&W Y-12 will also conduct an evaluation and hiring process for non-union WSI Oak Ridge employees who supervise and support Y-12 guards, the release said.
It said WSI Oak Ridge employees at Y-12 and the Central Training Facility should continue reporting to work as scheduled.
There are about 500 guards at Y-12. WSI, also known as Wackenhut Services and G4S Government Solutions, has provided security services there since 2000.
WSI became a subcontractor to B&W Y-12 after the July 28 security breach. Before that highly publicized intrusion, which has brought the plant much unwanted attention and punctured its aura of invincibility, WSI had operated under a separate contract with the NNSA.
Officials said the subcontractor status would result in a “single-point accountability for security.”
During the security breach, three anti-nuclear weapons activists sneaked into the plant, cut through fences with bolt cutters, and spray-painted slogans and splashed human blood on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored.
On Friday, NNSA Public Affairs Director Josh McConaha did not say what evidence was used to recommend a WSI contract termination.
The B&W Y-12 press release said the company began making changes quickly after the July 28 intrusion to prevent any future occurrences.
“These actions included the removal and replacement of key leadership personnel, restoration of critical security system elements to service, and refining and recalibrating of alarm system components to enhance reliability,” it said. “Through multiple corrective measures, daily site-wide alarms have been significantly reduced, and protective force alarm responses have improved.”