Because of COVID-19, Consolidated Nuclear Security, site management and operations contractor for two of the Department of Energy’s weapons-production sites, will wait perhaps until June to find out what fee it earned for 2019, and whether it is staying on the job.
“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency, the contractor notification date for the CNS [Consolidated Nuclear Security] FY 2019 Performance Evaluation Report (PER) and fee determination letter has been extended,” a spokesperson for DoE’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) wrote in an email Tuesday. “At this time, NNSA has not made any determination on whether or not to exercise Option II Term on the CNS Contract.”
The decision on the two-year option is delayed possibly until June 30 from March 31, the NNSA spokesperson wrote. The option would extend CNS through Sept. 30, 2023. The NNSA picked up the contract’s first two-year option in 2018. With the 2018 option, CNS will manage the two sites through Sept. 30, 2021.
The Bechtel National-led CNS has managed the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., under a single contract since 2014. Pantex assembles and disassembles all U.S. nuclear weapons for maintenance, modernization and dismantlement, while Y-12 makes the uranium-fueled secondary stages for nuclear weapons. Teams led by BWX Technologies [BWXT] previously managed the sites under separate contracts.
CNS has been criticized since picking up NNSA Production Office contract for failing to deliver on promised cost savings. The NNSA put the two sites under one contract with the hope that doing so would save money by combining administrative and financial reporting systems at the two plants. Besides Bechtel, the team includes Leidos [LDOS], Northrop Grumman [NOC], SOC and subcontractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
Meanwhile, both Y-12 and Pantex have confirmed cases of COVID-19: Y-12 at least two — CNS has confirmed several — and Pantex at least one.
Even Morgan Smith, CNS’ chief executive officer, is quarantining after contact with someone who displayed symptoms of COVID-19. The longtime defense-nuclear manager is working from home while he sits out a two-week isolation period, during which he’ll monitor for symptoms of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that broke out last year in Wuhan, China.