Management of two of the United States' key nuclear weapon plants is set to switch on Tuesday, the Amarillo Globe-News reports.
The Bechtel-led Consolidated Nuclear Security group is slated to take over management of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Pantex Plant in Texas from Nuclear Production Partners, a consortium led by Babcock & Wilcox.
The scheduled changeover follows three unsuccessful protests lodged by Nuclear Production Partners against the January 2013 decision by the National Nuclear Security Administration to award a $22 billion contract to Consolidated Nuclear Security to operate the two nuclear-arms complexes.
The Pantex facility assembles and disassembles nuclear warheads, and the Y-12 complex produces weapons-grade uranium.
The decision to hand management of the weapons plants over to Consolidated came after the consortium said it could save the government more than $3 billion in contract costs by consolidating management of the Y-12 and Pantex facilities.
"Over the four-month transition, we completed thousands of action items, hired more than 7,800 employees across two sites, inspected nearly 400 facilities, reviewed and approved over 5,000 procedures, and set our plans for managing and operating the consolidated enterprise from Day 1," Consolidated spokesman Jason Bohne said. "And we did it all on schedule and under budget. We are ready to start on July 1, and we look forward to joining the teams at Pantex and Y-12."
Under the management of Nuclear Production Partners, Y-12 experienced one of its most embarrassing security incidents in recent memory when a trio of elderly peace activists in 2012 were able to successfully gain access to a supposedly highly secure area of the facility in order to stage an anti-nuclear protest.