BechtelBechtel (United States) manages the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories in the US, which play an important role in the research, design, development and production of nuclear weapons. It also leads the joint venture for management and operation of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Pantex Plant in Texas.
Bechtel Group, a private company based in the US, operates as an engineering, construction and project management company. Its business units are civil infrastructure, communications, mining and metals, oil, gas and chemicals, power and US government services.[a]
In the financial year 2015, Bechtel Group reported revenues of US$ 32.3 billion (€ 29.6 billion). Profits are not reported by the company.[b]
Bechtel’s business unit US Government Services assists the US Department of Energy (DoE) in the areas of national security, scientific research and environmental clean-up.[i]
The Lawrence Livermore (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) are jointly managed by BWX Technologies, University of California, Bechtel and URS Corporation (since October 2014 part of Aecom). The Lawrence Livermore National Security partnership also includes Battelle and Texas A&M University.[ii] LLNL and LANL play an important role in the research, design, development and production of nuclear weapons.[iii]
The contract with Los Alamos National Security, which was awarded in 2006, currently amounts to around US$ 2 billion (€ 1.8 billion) per year plus a performance-based fee.[iv] Despite substandard performance in recent years, the consortium managing the LANL was granted a waiver extending the contract through 2018. This was subsequently revoked and reduced to 2017. However, the Department of Energy cut the fees in recent years, by 90% in 2014 alone, citing a “significant or ‘First Degree’ performance failure” of the contractor.[v] In December 2015, the National Nuclear Safety Administration informed the US Congress that the LANL contract will be up for competitive bidding after 2017. While the performance evaluation was better than in the previous year, it was still not good enough to earn the operators and award of an extra contract year.[vi]
The contract for LLNL was awarded in 2007 and currently runs through September 2019.[vii] The maximum possible fee to be collected under the contract is US$ 45.5 million (€ 37.6 million) a year.[viii] As at LANL, the National Nuclear Security Administration was criticised for renewing lucrative deals at LLNL despite poor performance of the contractors.[ix]
Until June 2014, Bechtel and BWX Technologies jointly managed the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Pantex Plant in Texas. Since July 2014, the management and operation of the sites has been fully taken over under one contract by Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS). CNS is a Bechtel-led joint venture including Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, SOC, and Booz Allen Hamilton.[x] The US$ 446 million (€ 326.5 million) contract has a base-term of five years, with options for an additional five years. The contract includes design and construction of a Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at the Y-12 National Security Complex and an option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.[xi]
The following financial institutions made approximately US$ 7,000 million available to this producer between January 2014 and October 2017.
- Bank of America (United States)
- Barclays (United Kingdom)
- BNP Paribas (France)
- Citigroup (United States)
- Crédit Agricole (France)
- JPMorgan Chase (United States)
- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (Japan)
- Riyad Bank (Saudi Arabia)
- Royal Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom)
- Sumitomo Mitsui Financial (Japan)
[a] Bechtel Group, “About us”, Website Bechtel Group (www.bechtel.com/about-us/), viewed June 2016.
[b] Bechtel Group, “Annual Report 2016”, Bechtel Group, September 2016.
 Battelle is a US based 501(c)(3) charitable trust. In examining their tax records, they appear to have reported only government income and no external or private financing.
 Research indicated that SOC provides security services only, while Booz Allen Hamilton is a broad consulting firm whose work is not integral to maintain the nuclear arsenal.
[i] Bechtel Group, “Nuclear, Security & Environmental”, Website Bechtel Group (www.bechtel.com/businesses/nuclear-security-environmental/), viewed June 2016.
[ii] BWX Technologies, “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)”, Website BWX Technologies (www.bwxt.com/about/operations–locations/lawrence-livermore-national-laboratory), viewed June 2016;
BWX Technologies, “Los Alamos National Laboratories”, Website BWX Technologies (www.bwxt.com/about/operations–locations/lawrence-livermore-national-laboratory), viewed June 2016;
National Nuclear Security Administration, “Our locations”, Website National Nuclear Security Administration (/nnsa.energy.gov/aboutus/ourlocations), viewed June 2016;
Union of Concerned Scientists, “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory”, Union of Concerned Scientists, November 2012 (www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nwgs/nuclear-weapons-complex/livermore-fact-sheet.pdf);
Mello, G., “The US nuclear weapons complex: Pushing for a new production capability”, The Bulletin, 20 March 2008 (thebulletin.org/us-nuclear-weapons-complex-pushing-new-production-capability), viewed June 2016;
Bechtel, “US National Laboratories”, Website Bechtel (www.bechtel.com/u.s._national_laboratories.html), viewed June 2016.
[iii] Union of Concerned Scientists, “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory”, Union of Concerned Scientists, November 2012 (www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nwgs/nuclear-weapons-complex/livermore-fact-sheet.pdf);
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL): Nuclear design and engingeering and high explosive research & development (R&D)”, Website NNSA (nnsa.energy.gov/sites/default/files/nnsa/inlinefiles/LivermoreFactSheet.pdf), viewed June 2016;
Los Alamos National Laboratory, “National Security, Weapons Science”, Website Los Alamos National Laboratory (www.lanl.gov/science-innovation/capabilities/national-security-weapons-science/index.php), viewed June 2016.
[iv] U.S. Department of Energy, “Management and Operating Contract for the Los Alamos National Laboratory National Nuclear Security Administration – Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396”, U.S. Department of Energy, 21 December 2005 (www.lanl.gov/about/_assets/docs/conformed-prime-contract.pdf);
Oswald, M., “LANL contract up for bid after 2017”, Alburquerque Journal, 18 December 2015 (www.abqjournal.com/693548/poor-performance-at-lanl-means-contract-up-for-bid-post2017.html).
[v] NNSA Los Alamos Site Office, “Amendment of solicitation/Modification of contract – Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396, Modification No. 264”, Department of Energy, 16 April 2014 (nnsa.energy.gov/sites/default/files/nnsa/05-14-inlinefiles/2014-05-21%20LANS-LANL%20Mod0264(4.17.14).pdf).
Project on Government Oversight, “Nuclear Contractor’s Award Fee Slashed by 90 Percent”, Website Project on Government Oversight, 6 January 2015 (www.pogo.org/blog/2015/01/nuclear-contractors-award-fee-slashed.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/);
Oswald, M., “Feds slash management fee for LANL contractor”, Website Alburquerque Journal, 30 December 2014 (www.abqjournal.com/518894/news/feds-slash-fees-for-lanl-contractor-by-90.html);
Gerew, G, “Los Alamos management gets contract extension despite low score”, Website Bizjournals, 17 January 2013 (www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/blog/morning-edition/2013/01/los-alamos-management-gets-extension.html).
[vi] Oswald, M., “LANL contract up for bid after 2017”, Alburquerque Journal, 18 December 2015 (www.abqjournal.com/693548/poor-performance-at-lanl-means-contract-up-for-bid-post2017.html).
[vii] Lawrence Livermore National Security, “LLNS, LLC Prime Contract Documents”, Website Lawrence Livermore National Security (www.llnsllc.com/contract/contract.asp), viewed June 2016.
[viii] Inside the Pentagon, “University of California, Bechtel Consortium wins Livermore Contract”, Inside Defense, 10 May 2007.
[ix] Global Security Newswire, “NNSA Defends Contract Extensions but Congressional Scrutiny Expected”, Website NTI, 12 March 2013 (www.nti.org/gsn/article/nnsa-defends-contract-extensions-congressional-scrutiny-expected/).
[x] Consolidated Nuclear Resources, “About”, Website Consolidated Nuclear Resources (cns-llc.us/), viewed June 2016.
[xi] Inside the Pentagon, “NNSA Awards $446 Million Contract To Manage Nuclear Plants”, Inside the Pentagon, 10 January 2013;
National Nuclear Security Administration, “Solicitation, offer and award – contract no. NA0001942”, U.S. Department of Energy, 14 December 2011 (nnsa.energy.gov/sites/default/files/nnsa/04-14-inlinefiles/2014-03-25%20Basic%20Contract.pdf);
Bechtel Group, “Annual Report 2015”, Bechtel Group, April 2015.