The US Naval nuclear propulsion programme has announced that Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation (BMPC) has been awarded contracts to operate the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories.

The five-year contracts with the Department of Energy (DoE) and the US Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command are valued by Bechtel at $6bn.

The Pentagon’s Defence Link, however adds that the contract includes options that if exercised could take the value up to an estimated $9.724bn.

BMPC will assume operation of the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories on 1 February 2009 following a four-month transition period.

The Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, in Schenectady, NY, is currently operated by KAPL, a Lockheed Martin company. Work will also be performed in Idaho Falls and in Pittsburgh.

Bechtel National’s Chairman Scott Ogilvie said that the company is very pleased to be able to continue supporting the navy’s nuclear propulsion programme.

“We are committed to a smooth and efficient transition of Bettis and Knolls into BMPC, and look forward to continuing the accomplishments of the men and women at Bettis and Knolls in support of our national defence,” said Ogilvie.

By Daniel Garrun.