Y-12/Pantex contractor hires more than 650

Consolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants, confirmed that it has hired more than 650 employees since the start of Fiscal Year 2016.Basic RGB

That’s more than halfway to the hiring target of 1,150 jobs for the two National Nuclear Security Administration sites. The breakdown of hirings by plant was not available.

“More than 650 people to date have accepted offers from CNS this fiscal year,” spokeswoman Ellen Boatner said via email. “We are continuing hiring efforts in order to have the necessary personnel on board to meet mission requirements.”

Work activities at Y-12 have reportedly been made more difficult because some of the new hires don’t have security clearances, and it’s taking time to get those. Because of that, uncleared workers have to be escorted by employees (with clearances) for work in the plant’s high-security Protected Area. That has reportedly required some engineers, industrial hygienists or other employees to leave their normal jobs to accompany uncleared workers on their assignments outdoors or elsewhere in the plant.

In response to questions, Boatner said, “We are supplementing our subcontractor escort pool with qualified Y-12 employees in order to accomplish the maximum amount of funded projects possible for this fiscal year.”

There are apparently concerns that if projects funded by appropriations for FY 2016 don’t get done in a timely way, the funds may have to be returned and the projects could be further delayed.

Meanwhile, CNS is also working to address the funding imbalance issue, trying to emphasize work that is directly funded and reduce the amount of indirect or overhead-funded activities.

Asked for an update on the contractor’s progress in addressing that issue, Boatner replied by email, “CNS is executing to the plan that was put in place to address the budget imbalance.”

The NNSA earlier stated that it hoped to have the issue resolved by the end of the fiscal year.

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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.