The National Nuclear Security Administration announced last week that it is canceling its November 2020 contract solicitation for management and operation of the Pantex Plant and Y-12 National Security Complex and terminating the contract award announced in November 2021 for the two sites. The NNSA intends to hold two new competitions for separate contracts to manage each site.
On November 29, 2021, the NNSA awarded a 10-year, $28 billion M&O contract for Pantex and Y-12 to Nuclear Power One (NPOne), a limited liability corporation led by Fluor Federal Services and AECOM Federal Construction. Both the Pantex Plant in Texas and the Y-12 Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., are essential to maintaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile.
Background: NPOne was to take over the management and operation of the two sites from Consolidated Nuclear Security, led by Bechtel National, at the end of this past March. The NNSA, however, agreed to pause the contract in January after Bechtel and BWX Technologies, citing conflicts of interest in the contracting process, filed complaints with the Government Accountability Office. BWXT, which managed Y-12 before Consolidated Nuclear Security took over in 2014, had also bid on the recent M&O contract.
“Based on NNSA’s review of the procurement record and our assessment of increased requirements at the sites, cancellation of the solicitation and termination of the resulting award is appropriate to safeguard the integrity of the procurement process and to best address NNSA’s mission requirements,” the NNSA said in last week’s statement.
Separate contracts: During the contract pause, the NNSA reviewed the Pantex/Y-12 contract structure, which has the two facilities managed under a single contract. The NNSA said that, given the accelerating workload at both facilities, the challenging geopolitical environment, and the urgent need for administration to deliver on national security missions, it determined that separate contracts would be required to manage the two sites.
Jill Hruby, undersecretary of energy for nuclear security and NNSA administrator, said in a statement, “We face rapidly accelerating mission requirements and a changing global strategic environment in which China’s nuclear expansion and Russia’s irresponsible behavior make it more important than ever for NNSA to deliver. The steps we are taking today are tailored to ensure that each facility gets the management time and attention required to deliver on each site’s critically important but significantly different work.”
Summary: Under actions announced last week, the NNSA said it will:
- Terminate the November 2021 contract award to NPOne.
- Cancel the November 2020 contract solicitation under which that contract was awarded.
- Begin the process necessary to hold separate competitions for two M&O contracts, one at each facility. That process includes steps to extend the contract with Consolidated Nuclear Security to allow time for new competitions.