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DOE moves to terminate WSI contract

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By Damon Lawrence

The U.S. Department of Energy has formally requested that WSI Oak Ridge’s protective force contract at Y-12 be terminated.

“This decision comes after the top leadership of WSI at Y-12 were removed and are no longer welcome at DOE sites, and the officers associated with the incident were fired, demoted or suspended without pay,” the National Nuclear Security Administration said in a prepared statement. “Additionally, three federal officials with security oversight responsibilities were reassigned.”

A spokeswoman for WSI Oak Ridge said it had received nothing official and did not have a statement as of Friday afternoon.

WSI Oak Ridge and B&W Y-12, the management and operations contractor for Y-12, have been under scrutiny since a July 28 security breach at the complex. Three protesters, including an 82-year-old nun,  gained access to the area surrounding the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.  

After the breach, WSI became a subcontractor to B&W.

“We have made clear to B&W that the subcontract should be terminated,” NNSA spokesman Joshua McConaha said. “We have communicated with B&W, and they would formally be the organization to terminate the contract.”

The NNSA said a classified report on the security breach was delivered to Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu last week. The report “reinforced the seriousness of the incident and will help improve security at Y-12 and across the Department,” the NNSA said.

“As Secretary Chu has repeatedly said, the incident at Y-12 was a completely unacceptable breach of security and an important wake up call for our entire complex,” the NNSA said.

“The security of our nation’s nuclear material is the department’s most important responsibility, and we have no tolerance for federal or contractor personnel who cannot or will not do their jobs.”