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– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
New Contract for Los Alamos National Lab

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The Los Alamos National Laboratory will be led by a new management partnership starting in 2019, the Energy Department’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced June 8. Los Alamos is one of the three national laboratories that design and develop nuclear weapons for the U.S. stockpile.

The contract was awarded to Triad National Security, LLC, which is a partnership of Battelle Memorial Institute, Texas A&M University, and the University of California. The group was granted a contract that includes a five-year base with five one-year options at an estimated annual value of $2.5 billion. The current contract is set to expire on Sept. 30, but will be extended for four months to allow for a transitional period.

The University of California is also a partner in the lab’s current management company, along with Bechtel, AECOM, and BWX Technologies Inc. The lab’s management has come under scrutiny in recent years. The issues include security breaches, electrical incidents, mishandling of plutonium, accidental transport of nuclear materials on a commercial cargo aircraft, and improper packaging of nuclear waste that led to a radiation release costing $2 billion and a three-year closure of the only U.S. nuclear waste repository.––MONICA MONTGOMERY