Note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m.
Federal officials have denied the third protest by one of the two teams that unsuccessfully bid on a $22 billion contract to manage the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.
In the protest, Nuclear Production Partners LLC of Lynchburg, Va., had challenged a November decision by the National Nuclear Security Administration to reaffirm its earlier decision, announced in January 2013, to award the consolidated contract to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va.
On Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office announced that it had denied the third protest. It’s the final GAO protest, but the case could be appealed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.
Statistically, that’s not likely; the GAO hears 2,500 protests per year, and the court has about 84. But there is a large amount of money at stake with this contract.