UC retains management of Los Alamos nuclear laboratory with new contract
By Megana Sekar
July 1, 2018 11:20 p.m.
The University of California will continue to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory alongside two new partners.
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a decade-long, $25 billion contract to the new Triad National Security LLC, formed by the UC, Texas A&M University and Battelle Memorial Institute in June.
Texas A&M said in a statement that Triad National Security will be a nonprofit like its three member groups.
Los Alamos’ current contract is under a for-profit consortium that includes the UC as well as Bechtel National, Inc., BWXT Government Group Inc. and the URS unit of engineering design firm AECOM.
The UC has been involved in the lab’s operations since its creation in 1943. The lab was originally formed to support the Manhattan Project to design nuclear weapons.
The UC remained the sole contractor until 2005, when Los Alamos opened the contract for competition.
Triad National Security said in a media statement that it was honored by the DOE’s decision to award the LANL management and operations contract to its team.
The new consortium will put the Los Alamos lab under the same management as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California. Lawrence Livermore, which was created by UC Berkeley to compete with Los Alamos, has been operated by the Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC, which includes UC, Texas A&M and Battelle, since 2007.
Triad National Security added that until they receive the notice to proceed from the National Nuclear Security Administration and the transition commences, they are unable to provide additional information about their plans.
Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, an organization that promotes accountability at nuclear weapon facilities, said in a statement he thinks the UC went forward with its bid with new partners to improve its reputation after the safety lapses of the past several years.
Other bidders for control of the lab included a team formed by former partner Bechtel and Purdue University and a team formed by Boeing and the University of Texas at Austin.