The U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Navy are looking to consolidate the management of its naval nuclear propulsion laboratories in the Capital Region and western Pennsylvania — a move that could save the federal government $4.5 million annually.
The federal government is expected to name this summer or fall a contractor who will oversee operations at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna and the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pa. The Department of Energy and Navy want to install a new manager for the facilities by Oct. 1, meaning the 10-year management contract Lockheed Martin won for KAPL in 2000 could be cut short by two years.
Bids are due May 29 for the contract, which would run through Sept. 30, 2013.
The $4.5 million in savings the federal government expects to realize from the consolidation would come from reduced fee payments to one contractor instead of two. Bechtel Bettis, a subsidiary of Bechtel National in Frederick, Md., manages the Pennsylvania plant near Pittsburgh.
Under the five-year contract, the new manager would be required to maintain the work forces at both labs, which includes KAPL’s 2,100 workers in Niskayuna plus an additional 500 at its Kesselring Nuclear Training Site in West Milton. Bettis employs 3,000 in Pennsylvania.
However, redundant managerial operations might be eliminated through natural attrition, said Cliff Nunn, a spokesman for the Department of Energy's Naval Reactors Laboratory Field Office in West Mifflin.
“It’s not a routine contract renewal. … It’s an annual savings to the taxpayer of about $4.5 million a year,” Nunn said.