As early as January of this year, employees at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge thought they knew who their new bosses were going to be. On January 8, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced the Virginia-based company Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) would take over the reins of the facility from B&W Y-12, the contractor that had run Y-12 for more than a decade.
But not so fast.
Shortly after the NNSA announced its decision to award the $22.8 billion contract to CNS, the other two bidders (Nuclear Production Partners of Lynchburg, VA and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions of Oak Ridge) launched official protests with the Government Accounting Office. Among the complaints, they claimed the NNSA hadn’t adequately vetted the cost savings that each finalist had proposed. Today’s announcement that CNS will indeed become the new contractor came only after NNSA agreed to make some corrective actions and reexamine the three bids.
“Our nuclear production capabilities are critical to our national security, and CNS represents the best value to the government as evidenced by its superior technical and management approach and its lower evaluated cost,” said NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held in a statement released today. “Additionally, this award puts NNSA in a position to improve mission delivery by focusing on improving the way we operate, saving taxpayer dollars, and aligning ourselves for the future.”
Under the terms of the contract, CNS will also run Y-12’s Uranium Processing Facility, the government’s Pantex nuclear weapons plant in Texas and it has an unexercised option to manage the Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
CNS is a company that includes Bechtel National and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin managed Y-12 operations from 1984 to 2000, before relinquishing the contract to B&W Y-12 (known then as BWXT Y-12).
The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency that maintains the US nuclear weapons stockpile for the Department of Energy.