OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new multibillion-dollar contract for the management of the Y-12 National Security Complex and the Pantex Plant in Texas is canceled, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Plans are now being made to put each location up for contract separately.

In the meantime, the current contract with Consolidated Nuclear Security will be extended, the NNSC said in a press release.

“Given the accelerating workload at both facilities, the challenging geopolitical environment and the urgent need for NNSA to deliver on critical national security missions, NNSA determined that it requires separate contracts to manage Y-12 and Pantex,” said NNSA officials in a press release.

Officials said protests filed after a new 10-year, $28 billion contract was awarded in November 2021 led them to take a closer look at the structure of the contract. It had been awarded to NPOne, a limited liability corporation led by Fluor Federal Services, Inc and AECOM Federal Construction.

The protests led NNSA to take “voluntary corrective action” to assess alleged organizational conflicts of interest and alleged proprieties.

NNSA said terminating the contract award is appropriate “to safeguard the integrity of the procurement process and to best address NNSA’s mission requirements,”

“Fair and open competition is critical to NNSA, not just because of our responsibility for ethical conduct, but because it’s critical to delivering what the nation needs as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby.

Both facilities are essential to maintaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile, officials said.

“We face rapidly accelerating mission requirements and a changing global strategic environment in which China’s nuclear expansion and Russia’s irresponsible behavior makes it more important than ever for NNSA to deliver. The steps we are taking today are tailored to ensure that each facility gets the management time and attention required to deliver on each site’s critically important but significantly different work,” Hruby said.

Missions at Pantex, near Amarillo, Texas, include assembly and disassembly of nuclear warheads, testing and evaluation of special weapons materials, and manufacturing and assessment of high explosive used in weapons.

Y-12 is responsible for production, surveillance, dismantlement, and storage of nuclear components; reducing global nuclear threats by detecting, removing and securing nuclear material; and providing fuel feedstock for Naval Reactors.