Wednesday, July 20, 2005
July 20, 2005
Tuesday marked the end of an era, as two big-time bidders put forth their concepts for running Los Alamos National Laboratory in the first-ever competition held by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The University of California has operated the lab since 1943, when the federal government was in a hurry to build the atomic bomb. Now, no matter which team wins in December, a for-profit corporation will be in the picture.
Even if UC wins, it won’t be the same old UC as lab manager. Three industrial partners, Bechtel National, BWX Technologies and Washington Group International, have joined UC in a limited-liability corporation called Los Alamos National Security.
In a slam against last year’s management decisions at LANL, Robinson said he doesn’t believe that halting work for months is the way to fix problems: “Why administer chemotherapy to everyone if there’s one case of cancer?” Errors should be fixed on an individual basis, he said, and basic functions at the lab, such as financial accounting controls, must be put in place immediately.
Neither do Bechtel, BWXT, or WGI, who will deal with most of the "northern New Mexico culture."