Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor Vol. 26 No. 03
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Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor
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January 20, 2022

NNSA Not Yet Pulling Plug on Production Office Award to Fluor-led Team

By Dan Leone

Less than a week after moving to get ahead of allegations that its award of a multi-billion-dollar sites operations contract was tainted by conflicts of interest and impropriety, the National Nuclear Security Administration had made no sudden moves to restart the year-long competition to find the next manager of its two main nuclear-weapon manufacturing plants.

On Thursday, a spokesperson at National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) headquarters in Washington said that the agency’s November award to the Fluor-led Nuclear Production One would stand, for now, and that the agency did not plan to cancel the award “unless, as a result of NNSA’s voluntary corrective action, cancellation is determined to be appropriate.”

The NNSA volunteered on Jan. 14 to take another look at the award after losing bidders lodged protests with the Government Accountability Office. The office subsequently dismissed protests from the rivals of Nuclear Production One, which as of Thursday morning was still scheduled to take over the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas and the Y-12 National Security Site on April 1 from the incumbent, the Bechtel National-led Consolidated Nuclear Security.

Bechtel and BWX Technologies each led bids against the winning Fluor-Amentum partnership.

“We’re pleased that NNSA has taken this action given the nature of the issues raised. We await additional details on what exactly the corrective action will entail,” a Bechtel spokesperson said Thursday.

A spokesperson for BWX Technologies declined to comment.

In addition to the perceived “organizational conflicts of interest” and impropriety, NNSA said it would also reassess other “relevant aspects of its evaluation” of the three bids it received for the potentially decade-long contract to manage what collectively is called the NNSA Production Office. Including options, the deal could be worth up to $28 billion.

Consolidated Nuclear Security was set to leave the site March 31. As of Thursday, the NNSA had “no announcement to make at this time regarding whether the existing contract will be extended,” the spokesperson at headquarters told the Monitor.

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