What to think?

nnsaimageAs I noted in a column last week, it’s hard to figure out whether the National Nuclear Security Administration has any intention of releasing the FY 2015 performance evaluations for its contractors. Based on NNSA’s actions to date, the release of documents appears to be on hold, although there’s been no real explanation of why.

I have repeatedly requested the performance evaluation for Consolidated Nuclear Security, the NNSA’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants. Because CNS took over management of the plants on July 1, 2014 (three-fourths of the way through FY 2014), the contractor’s first report card will cover 15 months.

Fiscal Year 2015 ended on Sept. 30, 2015, and later that fall I requested the performance evaluation for CNS. On Dec. 14, NNSA spokeswoman Shelley Laver said she had not received any of the performance evals from the sites, noting they wouldn’t be released until they were all completed and “released at once.”

She wrote in an email, “I suspect we will post them the beginning of January.”

y12overviewThat didn’t happen, and I later filed a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking the federal documents, as others reportedly did as well. The performance reports contain valuable information on how the NNSA contractors are carrying out their missions involving billions of taxpayer dollars annually.

As noted recently, I asked NNSA if it intended to release the performance reviews, and Laver said in a March 8 email, “It is our intent to release the PERs (performance evaluation reports).” She added: “I am hoping to be able to release them in the coming weeks, no set timeline as of yet.”

However, based on another report, those “coming weeks” could turn into coming months.

Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, recently filed a FOIA request for the evaluation reports, and he received a response last week from a FOIA officer at NNSA’s office in Albuquerque, N.M.

In that response, Karen Laney, a government information specialist, acknowledged Hutchison’s request and wrote: “NNSA’s Office of Acquisition & Project Management has advised the FOIA office that they expect to release the PERs in early July 2016.”

July 2016 would mark the two-year anniversary of CNS managing the Y-12 and Pantex national security facilities without the public release of an evaluation report. Former CNS President Jim Haynes last year acknowledged that the contractor had received a “disappointing” performance score of 57 (out of 100) from the National Nuclear Security Administration, but that score has not been explained or substantiated.

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This entry was posted in CNS, NNSA, nuclear, Pantex, Y-12 on by .

About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.