Wednesday, March 09, 2005

UC's Los Alamos chances looking better

The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/03/07/MNGOTBLII71.DTL
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Monday, March 7, 2005 (SF Chronicle)
UC's Los Alamos chances looking better
Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer


UC's chances for continuing to manage the nation's leading nuclear
weapons
lab, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, have won an apparent boost with
the withdrawal of one of the most formidable potential competitors.
The Battelle Memorial Institute, which runs five other U.S.
Department of
Energy labs, decided not to compete in order to focus on its existing
lab contracts, said Bill Madia, Battelle's executive vice president for
laboratory operations.
UC has managed the Los Alamos facility, birthplace of the atomic
bomb,
since its World War II origin, but security and management lapses
prompted the Department of Energy to open the contract to outside
bidding. The current contract expires Sept. 30.
The removal of Battelle from the competition is likely to boost UC's
prospects for keeping the contract if UC regents decide to proceed with
their own bid and if the shrinking field of potential competitors
doesn't provoke a delay in the contract renewal process.
Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, just recently added its fifth
national
lab when a Battelle-led consortium won a 10-year, $4.8 billion contract
to manage the 3,000-employee Idaho National Laboratory. That new
responsibility, in combination with seeing the Department of Energy's
draft competition guidelines issued in December for managing the
8,300-employee Los Alamos facility, convinced Battelle to withdraw,
Madia said in a telephone interview Sunday.
Battelle was a top potential competitor for Los Alamos because it
also
manages or co-manages the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,
Brookhaven National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
"We thought it would be better for us to focus on running these five
labs
with excellence rather than extend beyond our current resources," Madia
said.
He said Battelle decided not to compete about six weeks ago but did
not
announce it. "We don't typically announce no-bid decisions," he said.
Battelle's withdrawal follows that of several other potential
competitors,
including the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Lockheed
Martin. Among those still believed to be eyeing a bid are Northrop
Grumman and General Atomics.
The Department of Energy is expected to release its formal request
for
proposals for the Los Alamos contract in the next few weeks, triggering
a 60- day period during which official proposals would have to be
submitted. Selection is expected this summer.
UC spokesman Chris Harrington declined to speculate Sunday on whether
Battelle's withdrawal would strengthen UC's chances.
"The university is not watching the playing field here," he said,
"but we
are focused on the ongoing playing field of managing our national labs."
UC also is the founding manager of the Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Those labs'
contracts also were opened to competition, though continued UC
management of the Berkeley lab appears assured. Congress authorized
extending the Livermore contract until 2007.
UC officials have been actively preparing a bid to keep the Los
Alamos
contract, and UC regents are expected to vote soon on whether to give
the green light. A UC bid would likely include a private-sector partner.
"The University of California is preparing a very strong bid (for Los
Alamos) should the regents decide to compete," Harrington said.
E-mail Charles Burress at cburress@sfchronicle.com
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Copyright 2005 SF Chronicle

Comments:
It is beyond credible belief that UC can have any realistic chance of retaining the LANL contract alone. If they do not obtain a strong partnership with an industrial partner it is all over except the crying. It would be insane for the NNSA to trust UC after their well documented failures. California politicians will not be able to save the day.
 
To the poster at 7:17pm :

Let me guess -- you work for Bechtel? Sure sounds like it to me by
the tone of your comments. It would NOT be insane for DOE to trust UC.
DOE is the insane partner. They had an entity who treated their workers
well, paid completely for their pensions, and did the job for peanuts.
What little money ($9 mill) they got was mostly plowed back into the
lab for science. So, in effect, DOE got the lab managed for free!

Now, DOE will have to pay roughly $60 million per year to have the lab
managed, plus the cost per year for the new DOE-controlled pension,
at around $100 mill per year according the the news reports I've read.

It sound to me like DOE would be crazy to NOT keep the present
UC-run system, especially since the news reports of the problems at
LANL were mostly untrue. How much is Bechtel paying you to seed this
blog with your comments? Do they at least give you minimum wage?
 
2:19 am.

UC will not get the contract. It
is not going to happen even with
a partner. Northrup is in with the
Navy. Hey get a clue. You guys will
all be gone. Nanos will still be here.
The US does not need you any more. Did
you know the cold war is over? Hey did
you see the graph that showed that LANL is declining in publications?
We are second rate in science now.
We are a waste of the taxpayers money. This is what we have become.
Nanos tried to save us, even he
could not do it.
 
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