The federal agency in charge of U.S. nuclear weapons sites awarded a $5 billion contract Friday to Mission Support and Test Services LLC, a division of Honeywell, to manage and operate the Nevada National Security Site for up to 10 years.
Mission Support and Test Services, or MSTS, based in Olathe, Kansas, consists of Honeywell International Inc., Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and Stoller Newport News Nuclear Inc. The limited liability company will take over for National Security Technologies LLC, which has operated the test site 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas for nearly 11 years.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, who heads the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous branch of the Department of Energy, said Friday that “full and open” competition for the contract “generated tremendous interest from industry” and ensured that the federal government will receive the best value for managing the security site.
“The Nevada National Security Site plays a critical role in maintaining the nation’s nuclear deterrent and supporting other vitally important national security missions,” Klotz said in a statement.
The 1,360-square-mile site, formerly the Nevada Test Site, hosted full-scale nuclear weapons tests from 1951 to 1992. Among its current missions is to ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile through scientific experiments.
The security site also conducts counterterrorism training for first responders aimed at detecting and dealing with threats posed by so-called nuclear “dirty bombs,” which could be used to disperse radioactive contamination. Police, firefighters and military personnel are also trained at the site on how to deal with other weapons of mass destruction.
In addition, the security site maintains a landfill for disposal of low-level nuclear waste from ongoing cleanup efforts at sites in the nation’s nuclear weapons research and production complex.
Friday’s announcement comes nine months after the National Nuclear Security Administration revoked the $5 billion contract it had awarded in August to Lockheed Martin subsidiary NVS3T, short for Nevada Site Science Support and Technologies Corp., for not telling the agency that NVS3T had been sold to Leidos Innovations Corp.
Leidos Innovations, part of Leidos Holdings, based in Reston, Virginia, supports the U.S. intelligence community and military customers.
Before 2013, Leidos was known as Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC, which for years had a stake in the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Project, the effort to study, license and build a repository for the nation’s highly radioactive waste in a ridge on the southwestern edge of the former Nevada Test Site.
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