Note: This story was last updated at 10:22 a.m. March 4.
The transition to a new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Texas is already under way and could be completed in four months, federal officials said Monday.
The transition to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va., had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 2013, but it was delayed by three rounds of protests. The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and possibly final protest by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, of Lynchburg, Va., on Thursday.
On Monday, the National Nuclear Security Administration said CNS will start managing and operating the weapons production plants at Y-12 and Pantex at the end of the four-month transition period.
“We have received direction to resume transition activities,” CNS said Tuesday. “We are mobilizing our transition team now. Over the next four months, we intend to conduct an orderly and efficient transition that prepares us to perform from Day One of the contract. Among our transition activities, we will be meeting with employees and community stakeholders to communicate our plans as they progress.”
The NP2 team is led by Babcock and Wilcox Co., and it wasn’t clear what steps B&W might still take. On Monday, the company said it cannot comment on the team’s future plans. However, NP2 could still appeal to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.
NP2 is one of the two teams that unsuccessfully bid on the $22 billion consolidated contract to manage Y-12 and Pantex, which is near Amarillo, Texas. The NNSA’s contract award to CNS was first announced in January 2013 and reaffirmed by the NNSA in November.
The five-year extendable contract could be worth up to $22.8 billion during a 10-year period. Besides the management and operation of Y-12 and Pantex, it 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.
B&W is now the lead management and operating contractor at Y-12 and Pantex. Y-12 is 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, and Bechtel 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 CNS team is led by Bechtel National Inc.
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 bidding team, 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.
More information will be added as it becomes available.