Latest Fallout to Cost 500 Jobs?

The turmoil over the Department of Energy Y-12 contract in Oak Ridge continues and the latest development could cost up to 500 jobs.

Babcock and Wilcox and its partner lost the contract to continue operations, many people believe, because of a major security breach at Y-12 when peace protesters entered the high-security area and splashed walls with anti-war messages. The company also had $12 million cut from its performance contract last year as a result.

The new contract is with Bechtel National and Lockheed Martin to operate Y-12 and Pantex in Amarillo, Texas. An analysis of the contract shows the company promises to eliminate duplicate support jobs between the two facilities, allowing a savings of $3.2 billion over the next 10 years. That means job cuts at Oak Ridge and Amarillo.

Cuts of that magnitude means that, while up to 95 percent of the existing workforce may continue under the new contractor, a significant number of jobs will be lost.

Government contracts are strange however. The fired Babcock and Wilcox had as a partner Bechtel National. The new contract is with Lockheed Martin, a company that has as its partner—Bechtel National.

Lockheed Martin, which used to be Martin Marietta, ran operations in Oak Ridge for 16 years before the current team took over.

Y-12 is the top secret government facility that produces nuclear weapons and dismantles outdated nuclear warheads. It is believed to be the repository for nuclear weapons surrendered by former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.