With transition to a follow-on contract derailed for now, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) planned to extend the existing site-management contract for two of its main nuclear-weapons production sites for up to a year, people familiar with the plans said this week.
Incumbent Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), a team led by Bechtel National, would remain on the job at least through October under the contract extension mulled by the NNSA, these people said. Options could stretch it through March 31, 2022. The company is the prime contractor at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
The NNSA was preparing to extend CNS after two losing bidders in a competition to succeed the incumbent protested plans to hand over control of the sites to the Fluor [FLR]-led Nuclear Production One team on April 1.
Nuclear Production One, which also includes Amentum, was supposed to begin a roughly four-month takeover of Pantex and Y-12 in December, but rival bidders led by Bechtel and BWX Technologies [BWXT] protested the award that month to the Government Accountability Office, alleging a conflict of interest during the competition.
In January, the Government Accountability Office dismissed the protests after the NNSA told Congress’ investigative arm that the agency would review the award internally.
The NNSA, through a spokesperson, declined to comment. The semiautonomous Department of Energy agency owns, maintains and modernize U.S. nuclear weapons and U.S. nuclear-weapons design and production sites.
The follow-on to CNS’ contract, officially the NNSA Production Office contract, is potentially worth $28 billion over 10 years. The deal has five years of firm money and five one-year options.
The NNSA in 2020 decided not to renew CNS’ contract to manage Pantex and Y-12. The agency walked away with three years worth of options left on the incumbent’s contract, work under which started in 2014. The pact is worth about $2 billion a year.
Pantex is where the NNSA assembles, disassembles and services nuclear weapons. Y-12 is the agency’s defense uranium hub, where the NNSA manufactures nuclear-weapon secondary stages and their components and processes uranium for use as fuel on Navy warships and submarines.