Saturday, April 01, 2006

Correction: Bechtel leaving Los Alamos, not coming..

From Pahrump Valley Times:

March 31, 2006
Bechtel out at the Nevada Test Site

The Nevada Test Site's principal management and operations contractor for the past 11 years, Bechtel Nevada Corp., will no longer be in the driver's seat after July 1. The decision is expected to affect a small number of Bechtel employees living in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and the more than 200 who live in Pahrump.

The Department of Energy's semi-autonomous agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration, announced earlier this week the selection of National Security Technologies LLC, to replace Bechtel. The transition to the new contractor is to begin Saturday.

As NTS contractor, Bechtel Nevada comprises both Bechtel Nevada and Lockheed Martin Nevada Technologies Inc. More than half of Bechtel Nevada's employees work in the Las Vegas area or at the nearby Nevada Test Site, according to the company's Web site. Bechtel employs 267 persons who reside in Pahrump, according to media contact Leann Inadomi.

A clause in the contract provides for continued employment to most employees wanting to keep their jobs, according to National Nuclear Security Administration spokespersons. The majority of Bechtel employees, about 2,900 in number, will be retained in the transition, but some 100 key personnel will not be, said Inadomi.

Bechtel is also the principal contractor for the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Repository on the edge of the NTS near Lathrop Wells in Amargosa Valley, the contract for which is unaffected by NNSS's new contract with NSTec. The terms of NSTec's contract are for the next five years with potentially five additional years after that.

NSTec is to manage operations at the 1,375-square-mile facility established in 1951 as the nation's premier atomic proving grounds. Global defense behemoth Northrop Grumman Corp., the managing partner in NSTec, is headquartered in Los Angeles. Others in the joint venture are AECOM, CH2M Hill and Nuclear Fuel Services.

Northrop Grumman, with approximately 125,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, plans for about 3,000 employees in its technical services division to work on the contract.

The government puts out bids on a regular basis, said media contacts for the NNSA. A little over a year ago bids were reviewed and NSTec was selected for offering the best proposal.Under the contract, NSTec will be responsible for managing and operating the NTS, Nellis Air Force Base and satellite facilities in North Las Vegas. In addition, nuclear laboratories, air force bases and scientific offices across the nation will fall under the new contractor's management auspices, including Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in Livermore and Santa Barbara, Calif.

NSTec's Test Site work will include management of the nuclear explosives safety team, which supports the Department of Energy's efforts to prevent or slow the spread of nuclear weapons and to bolster the department's counter-terrorism mission.The contract also states that NSTec provide technical support in hazardous chemical spill testing, emergency response training and conventional weapons testing.

Some of NSTec's specific duties will include remote field experiments; physical and environmental science; design and fabrication of electronic, mechanical and structural systems; remote and robotic sensing; management of multi-laboratory facilities; engineering, construction and mining operations; chemical, explosives and hazardous materials systems and technologies; and waste management for various categories of waste.

The NNSA is responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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