NNSA Defends Contract Extensions but Congressional Scrutiny Expected

March 12, 2013

The National Nuclear Security Administration is defending itself against charges that it renewed lucrative deals for undeserving contractors, but the issue is likely to come up at congressional oversight hearings in the coming months, sources say.

The semiautonomous Energy Department agency’s Fiscal 2012 Performance Evaluation Reports, released on March 1, contain evidence that NNSA officials made exceptions that enabled the extension of contracts pertaining to at least two nuclear arms research laboratories, according to watchdog organizations.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico said last week that earning at least 80 percent of an “at-risk incentive award fee is the threshold for eligibility for a one-year contract extension” at NNSA sites. The firm that manages the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico “received only 68 percent of its possible at-risk award fee of $46.5 million for the last budget year, primarily because of cost overruns that ballooned a security project from $213 million to $254 million,” according to a press releasefrom the organization.

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