There is at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 among the workforce of the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, where the Department of Energy assembles and disassembles nuclear weapons for maintenance and modernization.
In a statement, Pantex said the employee who tested positive became ill at work nearly two weeks ago, on March 25. The company said it did not receive word until Friday that the employee had tested positive for COVID-19.
“The employee’s activities were reviewed, and everyone who is known to have come into direct contact with the employee in the period of concern prior to the development of symptoms has been notified, and [has been] in self quarantine since March 31,” Pantex said in a statement.
Anyone in quarantine will remain there for 14 days, Pantex said.
It was unclear how many Pantex employees were forced to quarantine after their possible contact with the infected employee. Meanwhile, a source said this weekend that another Pantex employee was hospitalized with COVID-19-like symptoms and was awaiting a test.
Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) manages Pantex and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Bechtel National-led team also includes Leidos [LDOS], Northrop Grumman [NOC], SOC and subcontractor Booz Allen Hamilton [BAH].
On Friday, CNS confirmed that Morgan Smith, its president and chief executive officer, was working from home in isolation after coming into close contact with someone who had symptoms of COVID-19.
The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) had as of Friday confirmed 26 cases of COVID-19 among employees and contractors at its national network of nuclear weapons labs, sites and production sites.
Among the four production sites, whose daily rhythms dictate whether ongoing weapon refurbishments will be on time or not, only the Kansas City National Security Campus has not publicly reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19: the viral disease caused by the novel coronavirus that broke out last year in Wuhan, China.
Savannah River Site, where the NNSA harvests tritium for weapons, had reported two cases, as of deadline Monday.
Y-12 has reported “several” cases. The NNSA uranium hub in Tennessee stopped quantifying its number of positive cases last week, before which it had acknowledged two confirmed cases.