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Saturday, October 28, 2006  
3 teams vie to manage nuclear research at Lawrence Livermore

By: Scott Lindlaw, Associated Press AP
Published In: San Jose Mercury News

SAN FRANCISCO - Three teams have submitted bids for the right to manage Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, including one consisting of nuclear watchdogs, academics and a "green" energy firm, the groups said Friday.

Livermore Lab GREEN, as the team calls itself, would halt the nuclear weapons research that has been the lab's primary mission since its inception in 1952.

For the first time in its history, the federal government opened up the process for securing the management contract for Lawrence Livermore to competitive bidding.

Lawrence Livermore, one of the nation's nuclear-weapons research sites, is currently overseen by the University of California, but its contract ends in September 2007. UC and Bechtel National Inc.

submitted one of the three bids ahead of this week's deadline. Their proposed team also includes BWX Technologies Inc.; Texas A&M University; Washington Group International; and Battelle.

A UC-Bechtel partnership last year won the government contract to continue managing the Los Alamos National Laboratory that built the atomic bomb. That management team also includes Washington Group and BWX.

Another team that bid for Lawrence Livermore this week is led by Northrop Grumman Corp. Northrop earlier this year beat out incumbent Bechtel for the contract to manage the Nevada Test site, the area where nuclear weapons were once tested - now used for testing conventional weapons, emergency response training and other purposes.

The Northrop Grumman team also includes Nuclear Fuel Services; CH2M Hill; AECOM; and Wackenhut.

The three teams submitted their bids to the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous branch of the Department of Energy. A panel of government experts will make their decision by March 31, 2007.

The consortiums led by UC-Bechtel and Northrop Grumman declined to discuss specifics of their proposals, citing the ongoing competition.

But Livermore Lab GREEN provided a detailed overview of its bid, and pledged to place the full text on its Web site by Saturday.

Its management team would consist of Tri-Valley CARES and Nuclear Watch of New Mexico, two watchdog groups that have been critical of practices at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos respectively.

The team also would include New College of California and WindMiller Energy.

"Our management proposal is both innovative and complete," said Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs. "I expect that NNSA will be reluctant to consider genuine change. However, in our view, that is exactly what is required. The country deserves more than it is presently getting from its national labs."

An array of highly classified research is currently conducted at Lawrence Livermore, including work for the Department of Homeland Security, which is attempting to open a biodefense campus where lethal agents would be tested.

The Livermore Lab GREEN bid would transform Lawrence Livermore into an unclassified "World Class Center for Civilian Science" within five years. Plutonium and highly enriched uranium would be removed in four years.


NNSA's overview of the Lawrence Livermore competition:

Tri-Valley CARES:


Northrop Grumman:

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