Reading Room

for more information, contact:
Jay Coghlan, Director, Nuclear Watch of New Mexico, 505.989.7342
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley CAREs, 925.443.7148
for immediate release, July 19, 2005

Watchdog Groups Submit Bid for LANL Contract

Propose Radical Mgt. Changes to Reflect New National Security Priorities

(Download the bid package here...)

Santa Fe, NM. ---- Today, two non-profit organizations well-known as advocates for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) worker health and safety, the environment and nuclear non-proliferation formally submitted a jointly-prepared bid to manage the troubled New Mexico nuclear weapons laboratory by moving it in a new direction, toward cleanup and civilian science missions.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) submitted their management proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two other parties are also expected to submit bids by today's 2 PM mountain time deadline.

One of the anticipated bidders, LANL's existing manager, the University of California (UC), has partnered with Bechtel, one of the world's largest construction corporations. That team has named Michael Anatasio, current Director of the Lawrence Livermore Lab (also managed by UC), as its designated director of Los Alamos.

The other is Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defense contractor, which has partnered with the University Texas. That team has named Paul Robinson, ex-head of the Sandia National Laboratories, as its LANL Director. Lockheed already manages Sandia and co-manages the British Nuclear Weapons Establishment. Both Robinson and Anatasio have risen through the ranks of the nuclear weapons programs at their respective labs, effectively offering no real alternative to LANL's future missions.

The nature of the UC/Bechtel and Lockheed Martin/UT bids to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) may never be known. The Nuclear Watch New Mexico (NWNM) and Tri-Valley CAREs (TVC) team is making its bid public in order to help facilitate Los Alamos' recovery from its various scandals, direct the Lab toward meeting long-range national security needs, and to challenge our competitors. Rather than naming individuals to specific positions, NWNM/TVC propose to radically revamp the LANL management structure. The change in direction we would institute for LANL's programs flows directly from the revamped structure.

Starting at the top, we propose to keep an overall Lab Directorship. Attached to the Director's Office we would add a Chief Officer for Whistleblower Protection. Currently eight Associate Directorships serve under the Director. We would transform Threat Reduction into Nuclear Nonproliferation, responsible for encouraging and verifying compliance with the NonProliferation Treaty at home and abroad. Under that new Associate Directorship we would subordinate Nuclear Weapons Programs, Weapons Physics, and Weapons Remanufacturing. This aligns with our proposed program of maintaining (but not advancing) nuclear weapons while they await dismantlement. We would also create a new Associate Directorship for Dismantlements.

We propose to elevate both Environmental Restoration and Science to new Associate Directorships. The former would expedite comprehensive cleanup at LANL, in close cooperation with the New Mexico Environment Department. The latter would help restore "great science" at the Lab, with emphases on resolving pressing national and international security needs such as sustainable energy independence and addressing global climate change.

Jay Coghlan, NWNM Executive Director, admitted, "In some cases we'll probably not see eye-to-eye with the NNSA, particularly on nuclear weapons programs. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that the agency will see the soundness of our basic approach of truly discouraging by concrete example the grave threat of nuclear weapons proliferation. Combined with the cost savings, diligence and integrity that we will bring to Lab management, we are confident that the NNSA and the nation will be pleased with our management sometime in the future."

According to Marylia Kelley, Executive Director of the Livermore, California-based Tri-Valley CAREs, "One of our overarching goals is to illuminate the options that are available to all who are bidding for the LANL management contract. For example, our management proposal protects and values whistleblowers, and we challenge our competitors to do the same. Our proposal boosts the profile and footprint of the civilian sciences at LANL, and we call on our competitors to demonstrate how they, if chosen, would attract world-class science and scientists. Further, our bid emphasizes community participation and cleanup of the Cold War legacy of radioactive and toxic pollution at LANL. We fear that both our competitors will propose 'business as usual,' and we submit our bid to assert that LANL workers and the public deserve better."

Although they too are nonprofit organizations, the NWNM/TVC team would voluntarily pay an estimated $80 million annually in New Mexico gross receipts taxes, nearly half of which goes to public education. UC has never paid taxes to New Mexico. In order to promote real management accountability, the NWNM/TVC team has declined indemnification from occupational and nuclear safety, fiscal management and environmental violations. Moreover, our team will not accept reimbursement of legal costs for whistleblower cases decided against us (contractors have had a virtually unlimited war chest to fight against whistleblowers). If our competitors truly want to embrace public service, they should pledge to do the same.