UC Confirms Los Alamos Bid As Northrop Drops Out

    May 26, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The UC Board of Regents voted overwhelmingly to bid on continuing its 62 year history of managing the nuclear weapons lab.

By an 11-1 vote, the University of California decided to bid on a contract to keep doing a job it has done since the middle of World War 2.

Yesterday, several outlets reported that two key regent committees had endorsed a bid to maintain its management of the northern New Mexico laboratory.

The Department of Energy will require a lot of the next contractor. One main point will be instituting a version of the UC pension plan, a perk that precious few of the 8,000 regular employees of Los Alamos want to lose.

Another requirement will have the contractor establish a separate business entity dedicated to managing the lab. But the rewards for assuming more of the risk associated with running Los Alamos will be significant: $53 to $79 million USD annually.

Currently, UC receives $8 million annually to run Los Alamos. Should they win the high-end of the contract, they are looking at a nearly tenfold increase.

The reward appears not to be worth the risk for one potential bidder. Northrop Grumman, expected to vie for the management contract, has withdrawn from the bidding process.

That change leaves UC and its partner, Bechtel, facing the University of Texas and its partner, Lockheed Martin, for the management contract..

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.