Category Archives: Pantex

Editorial: NNSA’s delays ‘unacceptable’

In a recent editorial, the Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal emphasized the importance of publicly releasing contractor performance evaluations at the government’s nuclear weapons sites, and the newspaper chastised the National Nuclear Security Administration for delaying the release of that information for Fiscal Year 2015.

A number of organizations, including the News Sentinel and the Journal, have filed requests for the release of those documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Continue reading

Y-12/Pantex contractor grapples with funding ‘imbalance’

y12signMidway through the fiscal year, Consolidated Nuclear Security — the manager of two nuclear weapons plants, including Y-12 in Oak Ridge — is reportedly well within its budget and meeting its production goals.

However, the federal contractor’s spending accounts are out of balance, with weapons work, security and other “direct-funded” activities well below anticipated cost levels while indirect or overhead costs — such as procurement activities, human resources, finance, and environment, safety and health — are at or exceeding projections.

As a result, CNS is having to make a bunch of changes to straighten things out, including cutbacks on travel and other activities that are charged to indirect accounts and shifting work to direct accounts where possible. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Y-12/Pantex contractor’s Technical Advisory Board

chiltonConsolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plant, last month posted an item on its website about Gen. Kevin Chilton’s visit to Pantex. The report identified Chilton, former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, as a member of the contractor’s Technical Advisory Board.

I asked about the board, and here’s the description provided by CNS: Continue reading

NNSA tardy on performance reviews

The National Nuclear Security Administration hasn’t publicly released the performance evaluations for its contractors for Fiscal Year 2015, which concluded Sept. 30, 2015.
And it’s not clear whether it will or not, because they’re way overdue.

NNSA spokeswoman Shelley Laver earlier this week it was the agency’s “intent” to release them “in the coming weeks,” although no schedule was set.

Requests for the performance documents have been filed through the Freedom of Information Act by multiple organizations, including the News Sentinel. Continue reading

CNS jobs update: 650 at Pantex, 500 at Y-12

pantex2Consolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plant, has released some updated information about the hiring campaign taking place at the two plants.y12sign

According to a statement Tuesday, CNS plans to hire about 1,150 workers over the next 19 months “for production and operations workers, technical and non-technical trades workers, security personnel, administrative and support staff, as well as science, engineering and technology professionals.”

About 650 of the jobs will be filled at Pantex, with 500 of them at Y-12. Continue reading

CNS cites 2015 achievements: Nukes mission No. 1

Consolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants, recently published a poster that cites the contractor’s Top 10 achievements in 2015. It’s not clear if the achievements are tied to Fiscal Year 2015 (the company scored a “disappointing” 57 out of 100 for its overall performance) or Calendar Year 2015.Basic RGB

Anyway, No. 1 on the list was “delivering the Nuclear Weapons Mission,” including the work on refurbishing the Trident (W76) warheads. Here’s what CNS had to say about its weapons accomplishments: Continue reading

Morgan Smith’s message to Y-12/Pantex employees

Morgan SmithIn late February, Consolidated Nuclear Security boss Morgan Smith delivered a message to employees at Y-12 and Pantex that coincided with the release of a 90-day plan for the two nuclear weapons plants and notes of encouragement to the thousands of workers at those sites.

He also released a Top 10 list of accomplishments for Fiscal 2015.  “Clearly, the best planning for the future is always built off of where you have been to date, so reviewing our past accomplishments was important to help lay the groundwork for determining our future direction, Smith said.

Here’s the text of Smith’s message, titled, “Looking Back, Looking Forward”: Continue reading

GAO analyzes NNSA modernization cost estimates

The Government Accountability Office released a 40-page report that analyzes budget estimates for modernizing the nuclear security enterprise over the next 25 years. While the cost estimates for modernization-related activities have increased by $4.2 billion — to a total of $297.8 billion — the changes vary significantly from program to program. Big increases are associated with the life-extension projects for nuclear weapons, while the cost estimates for some other weapons activities decreased. The GAO questions some of the estimates and said some costs may not be included or perhaps underestimated. Continue reading

Jobs, jobs, etc.

Basic RGBThere still aren’t a lot of details about the hiring campaign at Consolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants, but CNS today released some additional information.

At this point, it appears that most of the hiring taking place at Y-12 involves salaried positions, weekly and monthly paid, and Y-12 is seeking employees who already have “L” or “Q” clearances with the Department of Energy or a Department of Defense security clearance. Continue reading

CNS freezes internal job transfers at Y-12 and Pantex to focus efforts on new hires

y12signBecause of the demands of hiring hundreds of new workers at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants, Consolidated Nuclear Security has announced a two-month suspension of internal job transfers.

“To enable us to stabilize our current situation and provide more focus on achieving our external hiring needs, we are temporarily suspending internal transfers for the next 60 days, effective immediately,” the NNSA contractor said in a message to employees at the nuclear defense installations at Oak Ridge and Amarillo, Texas.

The announcement said CNS is “actively recruiting” for more than 900 jobs openings. This appears to be one of the largest hiring efforts in the post-Cold War period. Continue reading