Coalition hears update from EM

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LANL > Legacy waste cleanup RFI has been issued

By Arin McKenna

ESPAÑOLA — On Friday, Pete Maggiore updated the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities on the transition of the Los Alamos Environmental Management office from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s to the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM).
Maggiore is with the NNSA Los Alamos Field Office. He helped develop the transition plan and will be involved in coordinating the transition.
For the most part, Maggiore reviewed information already released to the public.
In September 2014, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz directed that oversight of the EM-LA office and legacy cleanup would be transferred to Environmental Management.
That office became operational on March 10, with Christine Gelles appointed acting EM-LA field manager until a permanent field manager can be appointed. Recruitment for that and other EM-LA positions is currently underway. Los Alamos EM employees have been reassigned to the new EM-LA Office.
Negotiations with Los Alamos National Security over the sole source bridge contract are ongoing. The bridge period is expected to be between 18 and 24 months, the anticipated time required to conduct competitive procurements.
NNSA and EM are collaborating extensively to leverage existing subcontractor resources and to minimize adverse impact during bridge contract negotiations and implementation. The two agencies are also working together to ensure that there is a mutual understanding of roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities and infrastructure ownership.
A formal agreement between NNSA and EM has been developed and is in approval review. The transition will require ongoing coordination with NNSA related to nuclear safety oversight and landlord-related functions. Even after transition, extensive interactions among NNSA and EM and their contractors will be required.
On March 3, DOE held an Industry Day for potential bidders for the long-term contracts. More than 100 people from 60 firms attended.
“That tells me that there’s a lot of interest out there in the contracting community to participate and compete on the solicitations we will be issuing in the future,” Maggiore said.
DOE has issued a Request for Information on the capabilities of interested firms and how contractors think the department should structure the solicitation, such as whether it should be a single contract or multiple contracts, whether it should be a local contract, what size businesses should be solicited, etc.
The goal is to issue a Request for Proposals this summer, either for a single contractor or multiple contractors.
Maggiore acknowledged one major issue for the Regional Coalition.
“I know the coalition has been very proactive about the concerns that it has, and those messages have been received by DOE headquarters in regard to the use of existing contracts and small business considerations,” Maggiore said. “I am unable to comment on what the outcomes of that might be. The bridge contract is not in place yet, but I want to assure the coalition members that your voices continue to be heard.”
Maggiore emphasized that the transitional team is committed to working with the coalition as the organizational and contract changes are planned and implemented.
Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales asked if NNSA could provide a project management outline for all necessary legacy cleanup work and the status of those projects.
Maggiore said that a lifecycle baseline is currently being completed that will specify what the cost of cleanup will be, how long it will take and how the work will be sequenced.
He offered to use that as the basis for providing the information Gonzales requested.
Gonzales also asked how legacy cleanup was prioritized. Maggiore said that the scope of work is negotiated with the New Mexico Environment Department on an annual basis once a budget has been allocated, and suggested that the coalition could submit their priorities for consideration during those negotiations.
Gonzales expressed concern that yearly negotiations could threaten prioritizing legacy waste that poses the greatest risk to surrounding communities as priorities of departmental leadership changed.
Maggiore agreed that Gonzales’ concern had merit and stated that he would convey it to his superior.
Councilor Andrew Gonzales from the Town of Taos asked Maggiore to provide an update on water issues at an upcoming meeting.
The coalition also received an update on Los Alamos National Security’s Community Commitment Plan. Follow the Los Alamos Monitor for more on that story.