CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The bidding team led by the Babcock and Wilcox Co. has filed a third protest over the contract to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.
B&W announced the protest by the bidding team, Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, on Wednesday night. It was filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“This protest encompasses concerns identified in NP2’s June 17, 2013, protest of the revised Request for Proposals,” a B&W press release said. “The protest also reflects information received during the National Nuclear Security Administration’s debriefing session held on November 15.”
The June protest was the second filed by NP2, of Lynchburg, Va. The company had also filed one after the National Nuclear Security Administration announced in January that it had selected Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va., to manage the two nuclear weapons plants.
The GAO upheld one part of the first protest, and denied or dismissed three elements of the second. This month, the NNSA reaffirmed its decision to pick CNS for the five-year extendable contract, which could be worth up to $22.8 billion during a 10-year period.
The earlier bid protests delayed the transition to a new contractor, and the new protest would presumably delay the transition as well. The GAO has 100 days to decide bid protests.
“The protest filed today results from a continuation of concerns from our previous protests and new issues identified in the evaluation of our Final Proposal Revision,” said George Dudich, president of Babcock and Wilcox Technical Services Group Inc. “Our team values our relationships with NNSA and the overall mission of the nuclear security enterprise, but we believe this protest has merit and reflects new issues regarding the limited corrective actions that failed to resolve issues previously raised.”
The NNSA had said earlier this month that the transition to CNS at the two nuclear weapons plants could start this month—after the period for protests is over around Nov. 25.
On Wednesday, B&W said it remains focused on operating Y-12 and Pantex safely and securely during the protest period.
B&W is now the lead management and operating contractor at Y-12 and Pantex. Y-12 is currently operated by B&W Y-12, a partnership of the Babcock and Wilcox Co. and Bechtel Corp. Meanwhile, 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.
The B&W-led companies have held the Y-12 contract since 2000 and the Pantex contract since 2001.
The consolidated contract includes project management of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and an unexercised option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. Federal officials have 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. They said CNS had promised to save the federal government $3.27 billion during the next decade.
It hasn’t been clear if the second unsuccessful bidding team, Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge, would also file a protest. That team did file one earlier this year.
CNS, of Reston, Va., is comprised of Bechtel National Inc., Lockheed Martin Services Inc., ATK Launch Systems Inc., and SOC LLC.
Besides B&W, other members of the NP2 team are URS, Northrop Grumman, and Honeywell.
The Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions team includes Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and Fluor Federal Services Inc.
Note: This story was last updated at 10:20 a.m. Nov. 21.