Saturday, February 18, 2006

Energy Department to seek bids to manage Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

By SHANNON DININNY | Associated Press
February 17, 2006

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - For the first time in more than four decades, the federal government will seek competitive bids for the contract to manage the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Department of Energy announced.

Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit group based in Columbus, Ohio, has managed and operated the laboratory since its inception in 1965 under a series of extended contracts. With an annual budget of more than $725 million, the laboratory's research areas include science and environment, energy, defense and national security. The current five-year contract expires Sept. 30, 2007.

News that the government will seek competitive bids follows criticism of a recent high-profile research error at the laboratory related to cleaning up the highly contaminated Hanford nuclear reservation. But Energy Department officials said the decision was not a reflection of Battelle's performance.

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