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Los Alamos National Lab Director Charlie McMillan sent out a memo to employees Friday that detailed the National Nuclear Security Administration’s evaluation of the lab.
According to the memo obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor, McMillan, who said the lab worked through a $400 million shortfall, told employees the lab scored 80 percent and the Los Alamos National Security, LLC, was awarded another year on its contract.
Out of a possible total of $74.5 million, NNSA awarded LANS a combined total of $59.6 million in fees for executing more than $2.2 billion in work for the nation in FY 2012.
“To be sure, our performance evaluation is only one measure of our success,” McMillan wrote. “I have always maintained that if we do the right thing for our customers and the nation, the award term and fee will take care of themselves.
“They are, however, a documented evaluation of how the government values our work. This year, we have very plain evidence of how issues in safety or project execution can overshadow a very successful year when measured in other ways.”
McMillan said the extra year awarded was significant.
In its letter, NNSA cited LANS’ “full responsibility and accountability” and “aggressive” actions to correct issues facing the Nuclear Materials Safety and Security Upgrade Project, as among the reasons for the award term decision.
The LANS contract now continues through FY 2018.
“We continue to have opportunities to earn award terms that could extend the contract to 2026,” McMillan wrote. “In my view, the stability and consistency afforded by a long contract term is extremely important to the success of the lab. I am pleased that we have added another year to this stability.”
McMillan said the report gave the lab high marks on the following:
• Weapons mission successes with NNSA and the nuclear security enterprise;
• programmatic accomplishment;
• breakthroughs in science;
• the handling of the Voluntary Separation Program;
• completion of seismic upgrades at PF-4; and,
• shipment of Cold War era transuranic wastes for permanent disposal.
McMillan said the lab received low marks for the NMSSUP issue, the contamination event at the Luján Center, certain nuclear formality of operations issues and the quality program.
“It is a fact of life that negative issues often outweigh positive accomplishments. The laboratory successfully completed its missions despite having nearly $400 million less than in 2011,” McMillan said.
“However, I agree with the principles that underlie our contract and our partnership with the government. Just as the NNSA rewards us for excellence in science and mission execution, it must hold us accountable for failures.
“We have a streamlined Performance Evaluation Plan for 2013 and a clear picture of where we need to improve.”