Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Reaction

3:36 pm: Reaction to awarding the Los Alamos contract to UC team
By The Associated Press
December 21, 2005

(AP) - Reaction to Los Alamos National Security, a team led by the University of California, winning the Department of Energy contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory:

"We are honored and excited that the Department of Energy has selected our team and given us the opportunity to lead this vital national security science laboratory." _ Michael Anastasio, director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who will head Los Alamos when the winning bidders take over next June.

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"I was extremely disappointed. We were told the scoring was very close." University of Texas System Chancellor Mark Yudof, who said that at least for now, the UT System has no plans to appeal the decision.

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"It's a blue Christmas for America." _ former lab whistleblower Glenn Walp. He and another investigator were fired from Los Alamos in 2002 after talking to the DOE about investigations into alleged mismanagement, fraud and cover-ups at the lab.

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"We wish the University of California-Bechtel team every success with its new contract to manage one of the nation's most important scientific institutions." _ The Los Alamos Alliance, the competing team led by the University of Texas and Lockheed Martin Corp.

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"What does it take for UC to suffer the consequences of screwing up? Lockheed wasn't a great alternative, but it is hard to see how UC could possibly have been given a vote of confidence. We expect a continuation of the era of chaos at Los Alamos." _ Danielle Brian, executive director of a Washington-based watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight.

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"We want to get this team to be upfront about whatever changes they're going to make and to just be honest with people." _ Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., talking with lab employees at the Hot Rocks Java Cafe in Los Alamos. Udall's congressional district includes Los Alamos.

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"Los Alamos has had a proud history, one of great scientific and technical achievement, and today's decision by DOE will allow the laboratory's great work to continue under strong leadership well into the future. _ New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former Energy Department secretary.

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"They really look like they've got a good handle on what they want to do and how they want to do it." _ Joe Ladish, who retired from the lab after 29 years and is a member of the Coalition for LANL Excellence.

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"Based on the track record by the University of California and the seemingly invulnerable culture of mismanagement at Los Alamos, I am surprised to learn that the current contractor has been invested with new trust. I have minimal hope and no belief that UC can reverse its record of consistent failure." Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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"Los Alamos National Laboratory has benefited tremendously from its six-decade association with he University of California. I am confident that this new management team will ensure that LANL remains one of our nation's most important research laboratories." _ Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

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"DOE was faced with a very difficult choice. I am certain the quality of each team made the other better." Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.

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"The most valuable asset the lab has is its people. When I spoke with DOE officials this morning I emphasized the importance of ... making this transition to a new management relationship successful so that Los Alamos keeps and continues to attract the most talented scientists and researchers possible." _ Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M.

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"This is a big win for the University of California and it recognizes the academic prowess of the nation's premier public research institution. I was overjoyed to hear the news." Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

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"The Department of Energy's decision ... is terrific news for UC, for our state, and for research science in this country." _ California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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"Today, DOE has recognized this impressive collaboration between public and private entities and afforded continued opportunity to bring innovation and reform to the labs." _ Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, D-Calif.


Copyright 2005 Santa Fe New Mexican

Comments:
Very politic, Pete. Very politic. Thanks for nothing.
 
Considering who's upset, I'm starting to like the contract decision more and more.

Since my "Peter Principle" haiku was well received, I'm emboldened to try again.

Haiku on the contract decision:

Blaming the "culture,"
Good way to make headlines, but
this is real money.
 
It's easy to focus on UC and then wonder why the LANS LLC won this
contract. However, when you look closely at UC's partners, esp.
BWXT, it becomes clearer why DOE might have favored the UC/Bechtel bid.

DOE has had some very good experiences with the LANS LLC partners
at other DOE facilities. In comparison, the partners on the LM/UT
side probably didn't look nearly as inviting to the selection committee.
You can read a PR about some of the LANS partners at this link:

------------------------------------------------------------------
Los Alamos National Security, LLC Set to Launch Transition at
Laboratory Team Leaders Comment on Announcement by DOE

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/12-21-2005/0004238255&EDATE=

-------------------------------------------------------------------

In particular, if LANL is going to take on more plutonium production work,
then having both Bechtel and BWXT "on board" at Los Alamos probably
makes a lot of sense to the people over at DOE. In fact, it made so
much sense to DOE that they were willing to overlook the faults of UC's
previous mis-management of LANL. Now, if we can only find out what LANS
promised DOE in their bid. Hopefully, they didn't "give away the farm".
 
Congressman Barton sounds pissed, but I'm sure he'll change his tune
as soon as Bechtel, BWXT, and Washington Group show up at his office
with big, fat campaign contribution checks. Unfortunately, UC could
never buy-off friends in Congress. Now, with LANS LLC, we can!
 
Ah, so now instead of relying on Domenici to keep LASO out of our knickers, we can also rely on Barton!

Suck it up LASO.
 
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