Less than two weeks before his retirement, a federal official celebrated the consolidated contract award announced Tuesday, calling it a key element in a long list of decisions and actions designed to reduce redundancies in national nuclear security work and make operations more efficient.
It reflects a change in how the National Nuclear Security Administration does business, NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino said during a Tuesday teleconference. The transition began several years ago.
“We embarked on a journey from an old Cold War nuclear enterprise to a 21st Century nuclear enterprise,” D’Agostino said. “I’m immensely proud of the team.”
The NNSA announced Tuesday that, after months of anticipation and three to four years’ worth of work, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS, had won a five-year contract to manage the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. The company will also manage construction of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and, after the first year, could manage tritium operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.
The company, which could have its contract extended up to five years based on performance, was to start the transition immediately and take over the work on May 1.
“It’s been a long haul,” said NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Neile Miller, who will become acting administrator after D’Agostino retires Jan. 18. “We’re committed to improving the way we do business throughout the nuclear security enterprise.”
NNSA officials cited CNS’ experience and said the company provided the best overall value.
Members of the CNS team—which includes Bechtel National Inc., Lockheed Martin, ATK Aerospace Group, and SOC LLC—said they look forward to starting the work.
“Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, ATK, and SOC have site knowledge, technical leadership, and experience with high-hazard operations that will lead Y-12 and Pantex to complete the critical mission,” said Jim Haynes, CNS president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to making a difference in management and operation of these important facilities and to continue our successful collaboration with NNSA.”
Bechtel said the Y-12 and Pantex plants both have missions to maintain a safe, secure, reliable, and effective U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. Y-12 has an emphasis on the processing and storage of uranium and developing technologies associated with those activities, while Pantex’s mission includes providing assembly and disassembly operations.
Bechtel said it has a proven track record at both sites. The company also provides management and operations for the NNSA at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, two of the nation’s premier research and development institutions.
In a brief statement, Lockheed Martin said it has a rich heritage of providing mission support and information technology at the U.S. Department of Energy site in Hanford, Wash., as well as operations management at the Sandia National Laboratory. The company also has 50 years of experience supporting the U.S. Department of Defense’s missile defense programs, Lockheed Martin said.
The CNS team will succeed B&W Y-12 and B&W Pantex, a partnership of the Babcock and Wilcox Company and Bechtel Corp.
During a Tuesday teleconference, NNSA officials declined to say how many teams bid on the consolidated contract, and they also wouldn’t name the bidding teams.
But Babcock and Wilcox Co., or B&W, released a statement suggesting it had been a member of one of the bidding teams. B&W said it was disappointed that its team was not selected to lead the management and operating, or M&O, contract.
“We will carefully evaluate information received during NNSA’s debriefing process and consider the options available to us within the procurement process,” B&W said in a statement. “We will continue to manage both facilities at the highest level of performance through the transition period.”
B&W cited its accomplishments at the two sites, ranging from the removal of 1.3 million square feet of aging facilities at Y-12 to meeting or exceeding all dismantlement and production goals during the past five years at Pantex while maintaining an “impressive safety record.”