A pair of university systems plus just about every major contractor to run the sites in the last decade-plus were among the 49 entities whose representatives toured the Y-12 National Security Site and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, last month as part of a competition to find a new site manager for those nuclear-weapons production sites.

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) held site tours Sept. 22 at Y-12 and Sept. 24, after which some industry people said there appeared to be major three teams forming: one including former incumbent BWX Technologies [BWXT], Lynchburg, Va., and Honeywell [HON], Charlotte, N.C.; another with Fluor Corp. [FLR], Irving, Texas, and Amentum, Germantown, Md.; and a third including Bechtel National, which is the lead partner on outgoing incumbent Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS).

But the complete list of site visitors the NNSA released this week includes a host of other industry staples, including HII Nuclear [HII] and Jacobs [J], Leidos [LDOS] and Westinghouse [WX].

The NNSA’s list also revealed Texas A&M University, one of the three main partners in Los Alamos National Laboratory prime Triad National Security, visited Y-12 and Pantex. 

A&M is the second pure-academic entity to express interest in what could be a $28 billion, decade-long joint site operations contract. 

Prior to the site visit, the University of Tennessee system, a senior partner with Battelle at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, announced its intention to hook on with some industry team and bid on the next production-site contract.

Meanwhile, representatives of physical security firms Centerra and SOC — the latter is the security arm of CNS today at Y-12 and Pantex — likewise toured both plants last month.

There were also plenty of smaller-sized contractors that already dot the nuclear weapons complex as parts of various management teams, or as subcontractors. A few were:

  • Akima
  • North Wind
  • Pro2Serve
  • Strategic Management Solutions
  • Tech Source

The NNSA announced in June it would not pick up any more options on the roughly $2-billion-a-year contract it awarded CNS in 2014. The team will leave three years of options on the table.

The agency plans to have a replacement contractor on site by Oct. 1, 2021, after a transition period notionally scheduled to start in June of  that year, according to the draft request for proposals released in August.