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Saturday, January 06, 2007  
Anti-nuke GREEN lab bidders see red

By: John Upton
Published In: Tracy Press

A combined proposal by two anti-nuclear groups, an alternative energy company and a progressive college to run Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been rejected by the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The nuclear administration rejected the bid by the Livermore Lab Green Renewable Energy and Environmental Nexus in part because it planned to phase out nuclear weapons research and testing at the lab.

Daniel Saiz, a government worker who is helping choose a new lab operator, told Marylia Kelley that her group didn?t grasp the nuclear administration?s needs, since it planned to phase out the lab?s nuclear weapons program.

Livermore Lab GREEN wanted to phase out plutonium and uranium from all Lawrence Livermore experiments within four years, and it wanted to change Lawrence Livermore from a weapons testing center into a civilian science center within five years.

There is a similar nuclear weapons laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Tests for nuclear and other weapons are held indoors and outdoors at Lawrence Livermore?s Site 300, which is behind the hills southwest of Tracy. The blasts contain depleted uranium and tritium but they are not nuclear explosions.

Two tests planned this year with as much power as 350 pounds of TNT will simulate nuclear weapons blasts, according to lab spokeswoman Susan Houghton.

?This proposed change is inconsistent with (nuclear administration) strategic planning and program plans,? wrote Saiz in a Dec. 4 letter to Kelley, ?and would seriously undermine (the nuclear administration?s) ability to comply with federal law.?

Kelley said the rejection unfairly amounted to a philosophical objection to their bid to run Lawrence Livermore, and she said the nuclear administration showed bias.

?The (nuclear administration) is treating our bid differently than it?s treating the other two bids, and that?s contrary to the federal acquisition regulations,? Kelley said.

Livermore Lab GREEN?s bid was rejected early in the process. Bids were also submitted by Northrop Grumman, and a partnership between Bechtel and the University of California. The lab currently is run by the University of California.

Kelley said the group planned to appeal the decision.

Kelley is also executive director of Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, which partnered on the proposal with Nuclear Watch of New Mexico, WindMiller Energy and San Francisco-based New College of California.

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