Firm Retains Contested Contract to Manage Nuclear Sites

Erik Schelzig/AP file photo

Consolidated Nuclear Security won the deal, which is expected to be worth more than $22 billion over a decade.

The Obama administration has re-awarded a major nuclear-arms-site-management contract to its original recipient after reviewing other bids, leaving competitors 10 days to potentially challenge the latest decision, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

Congressional investigators prompted the U.S. Energy Department's nuclear weapons branch to re-evaluate its January decision to award the deal to Consolidated Nuclear Security, which promised to eliminate $3 billion in government costs by combining management of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Pantex Plant in Texas. Auditors, though, said the National Nuclear Security Administration did not adequately vet the credibility of the savings pledge before reaching its initial decision.

In a Friday statement, NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held said "CNS represents the best value to the government as evidenced by its superior technical and management approach and its lower evaluated cost." Selecting the firm would enable NNSA officials to focus on "improving the way we operate, saving taxpayer dollars," he added.

It remains uncertain when control of the sites would go to Consolidated Nuclear Security, a group formed by contractors Bechtel National, Lockheed Martin, ATK Launch Systems and SOC. The management deal is expected to be worth more than $22 billion over one decade.