Consolidated Nuclear Security will remain on the job at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s two big production sites at least two months longer than planned and possibly as many as six, the agency announced Tuesday.
The Bechtel National-led prime for the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas will run the sites through November and possibly through March 2021, under the extension. The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) press release did not include financial terms of the extension. There is a two-month base and four one-month options.
The company’s contract was to run through Sept. 30. The NNSA, part of the Department of Energy, had planned to start a transition to a new contractor in June but, with the deadline looming, sources revealed that the agency had not even started conversations with bidders about their initial proposals for a follow-on Y-12-Pantex contract potentially worth just under $28 billion over 10 years, with options.
Around this time last year, the NNSA announced it would cut ties with Consolidated Nuclear Security, citing among other things timecard irregularities and criticality safety issues. Besides Bechtel, Consolidated Nuclear Security includes Leidos [LDOS], ATK Launch Systems — the parent company of which was since bought by Northrop Grumman [NOC] — and SOC.
Consolidated Nuclear Security will stay on at Y-12 after the transition to its successor to finish building the Uranium Processing Facility, which the NNSA has said it will finish building by Dec. 31, 2025 at a cost of $6.5 billion or fewer. That does not include every piece of support infrastructure needed to produce uranium fueled, nuclear-weapon secondary stages at Y-12.
With its early exit, Consolidated Nuclear Security will leave three options on the table. The company’s contract, the first to combine management and operations of Y-12 and Pantex, was worth about $2 billion a year. NNSA awarded the deal in 2014. The incumbent got the sites from a pair of teams managed by the Lynchburg, Va.-based company now known as BWX Technologies [BWXT].
Bechtel National, BWXT, and Fluor Corp. [FLR], Irving, Texas, all planned to lead a bid on the new NNSA production site contract, sources said last year.