Feds order Y-12 contractor to show why contract should continue

Government orders Y-12 contractor to show why contract should continue

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OAK RIDGE (WATE) - The federal government has issued a show cause notice to B&W Y-12, the managing contractor for Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, after protestors breached security there in July.

The order requires B&W to "explain why termination proceedings should not be instituted for the M&O contract" at the plant. If B&W is unable to do this, the government says it could result in the termination of the contract.

Michael Walli, 63, Sister Megan Rice, 82, and Gregory Boertje-Obed, 57, are accused of cutting fences at Y-12, painting and defacing property.

Court documents said the trio painted "Woe to the empire of blood," "The fruit of justice is peace" and "Plowshares pleases Isaiah" on the wall of a building, along with throwing blood on it.

In the show cause notice, a Department of Energy Contracting Officer outlined a number of preliminary observations including:

  • A number of cameras were inoperable during the break-in, including a camera in the fence zone where the trio broke in.
  • Despite receiving numerous alarms from sensors in the fence, security contractors didn't react to protesters cutting through the fence.
  • After continued alarms, the security contractors took too long to respond.
  • Security contractors "failed to take appropriate steps to take control of the situation" until a responding supervisor intervened
  • The plans and procedures for responding to multiple alarms were inadequate.
  • Both security contractors failed to properly coordinate and integrate safety requirements.

The protestors are scheduled to stand trial in federal court in October on charges of injuring and defacing property and unlawful entry. They have pleaded not guilty.

A new acting general manager and director of the Y-12 Protective Force were appointed following the breach.

Department of Energy spokesman Damien LaVera released a statement that says in part:

"Secretary (Dr. Steven) Chu has made clear that the security of our nation's nuclear material is the department's most important responsibility, and he has no tolerance for federal or contractor personnel who cannot or will not do their jobs. As the secretary has made clear, the recent incident at Y-12 was a completely unacceptable breach of security, and an important wake up call for our entire complex. The severity of the failure of leadership at Y-12 demands swift, strong and decisive action by the department.

To manage this transition, we have brought some of the best security experts from our enterprise to Y-12 to quickly enhance security at the site, and are working to make the structural and cultural changes required to appropriately secure this facility.

The department is confident that these aggressive actions will restore and enhance security at Y-12, but we will leave no stone unturned to find out what went wrong and will take any step necessary to ensure security at this site and across our enterprise."

Protective force contractor WSI released a statement saying, "We are in the process of reviewing and responding to the show cause notice."

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