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Contract options awarded to NFS

Millions of dollars in contract options were recently awarded to Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. (NFS).
According to a press release issued by the Babcock & Wilcox Company, the parent company of NFS, NFS received contract options from the U.S. Department of Energy, Naval Reactors Laboratory Field Office for work that will total $169 million.
In March 2014, NFS received a $302 million contract from the same office for fuel and materials services. According to the press release, the $169 million contract options were awarded under the $302 million contract.
“The work to be completed under these options includes the manufacture and delivery of fuel and support activities for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, as well as development of material for future Naval Reactors programs,” the press release said. “NFS has been the sole manufacturer of nuclear fuel for the U.S. Navy's fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines since 1964.”
According to NFS, the work for these contract options began in January. It is expected to be complete in February 2016.
“Receiving the award for these second-year contract options is further validation of the excellent work we do at NFS,” said Joel Duling, President of NFS. “I am proud of our team, and we look forward to supporting the Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy in these critical defense projects through the completion of this contract.”
Approximately 1,000 individuals are employed at NFS. This number includes security personnel and long-term contractors.
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The announcement of the contract options comes just weeks after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that NFS had returned to a “normal” level of oversight and inspection similar to other facilities of its type.
According to a press release issued on March 5 by the NRC, “… sustained improvement over the past several years, verified by NRC inspections, led to the conclusion that a return to the normal or core oversight level is warranted.”
The NRC notified NFS of the oversight change in a letter addressed to NFS President Joel Duling and signed by NRC Regional Administrator Victor M. McCree.
The letter, dated March 5, includes information about the NRC’s decision to increase the level of oversight at NFS more than a decade ago.
“During the 2004 Licensee Performance Review (LPR) for NFS for the period January 20, 2003 and ending on January 24, 2004, the NRC concluded that NFS’ performance and ongoing facility changes warranted increased oversight and inspection effort, including the addition of a second resident inspector,” the letter states.
During a review of NFS, which took place from January 2013 to December 2014, the NRC inspected several areas of operation at the Erwin facility, the letter states.
“Overall, the staff determined that NFS has continued to conduct activities safely and securely, and in a manner that protects public health and the environment,” the letter continues. “Based on our review of activities, no area needing improvement was identified for the areas of Safety Operations, Radiological Controls, Facility Support and Other Areas.”
Also contributing to the NRC’s decision was the completion of a Safety Culture Confirmatory Order last month at NFS, according to the NRC.
“Our most recent review of NFS found no areas needing improvement and we believe the management and staff of the facility now have the appropriate focus on safety and environmental protection required by the NRC,” McCree said.
McCree’s letter to Duling also states that as of April 4, only one NRC resident inspector will be working at NFS.
“Your facility will continue to have a Senior Resident Inspector who will provide the requisite oversight,” McCree adds.
The NRC’s decision to change the level of oversight at NFS will be the topic of a public meeting set for April 23. The time and location of this meeting have not yet been announced.