Lab spreads jobs, puts stimulus to work

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By Roger Snodgrass

Los Alamos National Laboratory has contracts to let and jobs to give.

With an extra $212 million in stimulus funds and its FY 09 base package solidly in hand, LANL is out shopping for people and companies to do some of the work.

Gordon Dover, program director for the lab’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act project said Tuesday morning that the money would have to be committed by the end of Sept. 2010 and spent by the end of the following year, under the DOE guidelines.

Those funds are targeted at biting off an extra chunk of legacy cleanup, primarily at the old plutonium processing site, known as TA-21.

Dover said the lab is currently projecting those funds will cover something in the range of 140-280 jobs.

About 30 percent of the jobs will be lab jobs and 70 percent will be contracted. Something in the range of 40 to 65 percent of the recovery act funding will be used for analysis, transport and disposal of contaminated soils and construction materials, according to lab officials.

The lab will receive about $27 million in overhead out of the stimulus package, figured at 12.8 percent.

“That’s low for the site,” Dover said.

Overhead goes toward covering the indirect costs from management to infrastructure to utilities and office supplies.

Some 20 percent of the total, about $42 million will be set aside for contingencies.

Monday, the laboratory sponsored a heavily attended construction forum in Albuquerque.

Steve Sandoval a laboratory spokesperson said 327 individuals representing more than 140 companies were pre-registered, but people representing another 75 companies signed up Monday morning.

Dennis Roybal, LANL’s small business program manager said the lab held the forum in Albuquerque to reach more potential bidders.

“We weren’t getting a lot of contractors,” he said.

The large turnout on Monday, he said, is probably a reflection of the economy.

Reaching out to a wider community of contractors doesn’t mean abandoning the priority for working with northern New Mexico businesses.

“We’re still pushing for northern New Mexico,” he said. “We have a 5 percent pricing preference for northern New Mexico.”

The lab is setting aside procurements for small business but is pushing for teaming agreements. That may mean some small businesses will be prime contractors, but larger companies might be subcontractors to them in order to furnish specialty services or supplies.

“I have a list of 46 projects ranging from $150,000 to $60 million dollars,” he said. “Most of them have forecast RFP (Request for Proposal) dates of April May and June ’09 and will be going on the street within the next 5 months.”

The $60 million project, forecast for October, is for replacing the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility.

On Tuesday morning, economic development was also the main theme of a Community Leadership breakfast at the El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, attended by some 200 regional community leaders.