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Mar 20, 2007



Oversight of the contractor running a DOE site is a Federal responsibility, but running the contractor's safety program is not. Chris Steele was not the Los Alamos Lab Safety Director, he was just in the DOE Oversight role for safety, just like an OSHA office director has oversight for enforcement of federal safety rules at a private company (i.e., Ford, Boeing, IBM, etc) but they are not running the company's safety program. DOE has so blurred the lines of responsibilities as to make real oversight and accountability of safety management by contractors impossible. Responsibility for contractor employee safety oversight and enforcement at DOE/NNSA sites needs to be stripped from DOE/NNSA and returned to OSHA (federal or state) and NRC.

Larry L.

UC does not run Los Alamos Lab. A for profit private company - Los Alamos National Security, LLC - now runs the lab. UC is a partner in this company, but the employees are no longer UC employees nor does the Lab Director report to the UC President. UC ran the lab as a not for profit and only got about $8 million a year to manage a 10,000 employee site with a $2.2 Billion annual budget. While the lab's budget remains the same, the new company now gets $80 million a year to do the same job UC was doing. Only the US Govt could justify this shell game to the taxpayers.

Bottom line is the new contract arrangement is a huge fraud on the Lab employees and taxpayers. Moving the Lab (and soon its sister lab - Lawrence Livermore National Lab) from "not for profit" UC management model to a "for profit" corporate model and forcing it to be a separate entity from its parent company has been a complete mess. Stripping the lab employees of their UC employment, benefits, and various state employee protections has destroyed morale at the Lab, except for the new "executive class" and their huge corporate paychecks. At Livermore Lab its has done even more damage by forcing unnecessary, unexpected, and negative changes to the management of safety and security - especially the loss of the state run UC fire department and dedicated UC police department investigation unit assigned to the Lab.

Congress should immediately step in and suspend the contract awarding process for Lawrence Livermore Lab. Congress should direct the GAO to review and assess the new management model at Los Alamos Lab. Congress should direct DOE/NNSA to keep UC management in place at Livermore Lab until all of the independent assessments of the effectiveness and impacts of the new Los Alamos Lab management structure/contract have occurred. Based on the findings of these assessments/reviews Congress should direct DOE/NNSA to rewrite the Livermore Lab Request for Proposal (RFP) so it does not force UC (or any bidder) to create a fake front company to bid on Livermore Lab, and start the contract bidding process over from scratch. Congress should not allow the huge problems created by the ill-conceived NNSA RFP and subsequent change in the management model at Los Alamos Lab to also destroy the Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

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