Three of the four major National Nuclear Security Administration nuclear-weapon sites still have active COVID-19 vaccine mandates in spite of a federal judge’s December order that barred enforcement of the government’s federal contractor mandate.

The prime contractors for these sites mostly have not said why they chose to keep the mandates in place, though one said in court that as a private company, it can require vaccines even if the government doesn’t.

The latest National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) site to publicly affirm it is still requiring shots for employees was the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which on Monday affirmed its mandate is still in force.

“The Laboratory’s vaccine mandate has been in effect since October 15, 2021,” a Los Alamos spokesperson wrote in an email. “All eligible employees are fully vaccinated and we are working hard to provide booster shots for additional protection.” Los Alamos is managed by Triad National Security, a team led by Battelle, the University of California and Texas A&M University. 

The Sandia National Laboratories and the Nevada National Security Site, each managed by Honeywell [HON]-led teams, have also said they would continue to enforce vaccine mandates.

Some employees doing NNSA work at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C., also remained subject to a vaccine mandate from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a contractor for DoE’s Office of Environmental Management. The Fluor [FLR]-led company has said that it is a private employer that has the right to mandate vaccines if it wishes.

The three NNSA sites that kept their mandates in place after the federal court order in Georgia are in a small minority among DoE’s active civilian nuclear weapon sites, the other four of which have told sister publication Exchange Monitor that they paused enforcement of their mandates. These include: 

  • The Kansas City National Security Complex in Kansas City, Mo., managed by Honeywell subsidiary Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies.
  • The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, a team led by the University of California and Bechtel National.
  • The Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security, a Bechtel-led partnership.
  • The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., also managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security.