Consent order milestones at risk

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By Roger Snodgrass

Officials of the Department of Energy now acknowledge that they are likely to default on some of the deadlines that have been agreed upon between the state, the federal government and the managers of Los Alamos National Laboratory.The chief operations officer for environmental management said in a letter responding to a new report by the inspector general that some milestones will be missed regardless of the approach that is taken.“Moreover, some of the relevant agreements were negotiated many years ago, with incomplete knowledge by any of the parties of the technical complexity and magnitude of cost  that would be involved in attempting to meet requirements,” James Owendoff continued in his response, which also notes other issues – “including contractor performance, overly optimistic planning assumptions and emerging technical barriers” – as having contributed to missing promised dates in the schedule.The inspector general (IG) said 54 of 56 of the consent order milestones were “to have been met” by the end of the fiscal year 2007 (Sept.

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