Monday, January 09, 2006
Nuclear weapons business as usual: Despite past performances Bechtel & UC awarded Los Alamos contract
Online Journal Contributing Writers
Jan 9, 2006, 02:27
In a December 21 announcement that surprised many, powerful Lockheed Martin and its academic bidding partner, the University of Texas, failed to win the plum annual management contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The winning team consisted of Bechtel National, its roster of crony corporations, and the University of California (UC), the lab's manager since the Manhattan Project.
Despite UC's name still being on the contract, this signals a big shift for the lab. Like many of the nation's resources under this administration, it is being privatized and placed into corporate hands, a little further from public view.
Bechtel's victory may be a cause for surprise, but not necessarily for relief. Department of Energy (DOE) officials say Bechtel/UC will provide better "integration of the nuclear weapons complex." Could "integration" be code for monopoly? Bechtel subsidiaries already co-manage Yucca Mountain, the Nevada Test Site, Y12, Savannah River and Pantex -- and they subcontract at eight additional DOE sites. UC still runs Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley Labs, along with Los Alamos. Perhaps DOE couldn't risk introducing a new cast of characters to the legacy of waste, contamination and mismanagement plaguing the national complex, more of which undoubtedly would have been exposed by a clean sweep at LANL.
That should show you what fools we were.