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University, Bechtel Tapped To Run Los Alamos Lab

The University of California will continue running Los Alamos National Laboratory with the help of military contractor Bechtel Corp.
The new contract has outlined several goals, including the implementation of best management practices, scientific skepticism and strong peer review and attainment of standards which will become a model in the U.S. nuclear complex.

Bodman told lab employees that the work they do has "consequences of potentially epic proportions."

Los Alamos National Security obtained the seven-year contract after a process that took more than 18 months and involved unprecedented public input, a review by career civil servants with experience in nuclear weapons research and high-level approval. The contract can be renewed for up to 13 years, depending on the lab's performance.

In June 2006, the partnership will begin running the lab, which has a budget over $2 billion. Operators will receive an annual management fee between $53 million and $80 million, also depending on performance.

Transition activities were set to take place immediately.

The Department of Energy promised an economic boost to northern New Mexico through the commercialization of technologies developed at the lab.

Employees of the lab were already questioning who will benefit and how, through several postings on a LANL: The Real Story Wednesday afternoon.