|"Forget the Rest" blog|
Watchdogs react to 'waiver'
NNSA > Override of recommendation raises questions
By John Severance
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm (Updated: January 17, 1:31 pm)
Reaction has been a bit slow but watchdog groups are weighing in on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s decision that gave the Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a one-year contract extension through a one-time waiver.
According to documents obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor, the lab originally was not awarded a one-year contract extension. But acting NNSA administrator Neile Miller reversed the recommendation.
Scott Kovac, Nuclear Watch NM Program director commented, “By getting these performance evaluations released publically, Nuclear Watch expects that outraged taxpayers will demand more NNSA oversight and an end to the federal government paying the usual nuclear weapons contractors millions without enforcing performance accountability. Nuke Watch is going back to Congress to demand that it require measurable performance benchmarks before enriching the nuclear weapons contractors. In these tough economic times Americans should expect nothing less.”
Los Alamos National Security met two of the three criteria but earned less than 80 percent overall at-risk fees in its performance evaluation.
The NMSSUP project was intended as an upgrade to the existing fences, cameras, sensors, and other detection and denial systems around facilities at TA-55, which houses the Plutonium Facility. The project was suspended Oct. 23.
Originally, the system was targeted to cost $213 million, but cost overruns increased the project to $254 million, according to a memo written by McMillan to employees on Dec. 21. That total was later revised down to $240 million after LANS agreed to make a $10 million payment to the government in non-reimbursable, non-taxpayer funds to settle project costs.
In a letter from NNSA, Miller “has nevertheless expressed a desire to award LANS the award in recognition of LANS’ acceptance of full responsibility and accountability for problems that have arisen under the Nuclear Materials Safeguards and Security Upgrades Phase II Project and for moving aggressively to correct the issues.”
Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Groups made the following points.
NNSA spokesperson Josh McConaha said, “we’ll let the text of the document stand as explanation."