ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The contractor that runs one of the nation's premier national laboratories has lost out on tens of millions of dollars from the federal government because of what officials call a serious performance failure.
The National Nuclear Security Administration finished its annual evaluation of Los Alamos National Laboratory earlier this month and the overall results aren't positive. The fee earned by Los Alamos National Security LLC for the 2014 fiscal year was slashed to $6.25 million, a fraction of the $63.4 million the contractor could have earned, according to documents made public Monday.
The NNSA singled out a mishap in February at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico. That's where a container packed with radioactive waste from Los Alamos ruptured and forced the plant's indefinite closure.
Lab Director Charlie McMillan acknowledged the weight that the WIPP mishap had on the evaluation in a memo sent Monday to employees. He said the severity of the event resulted in an unsatisfactory rating when it came to the lab's operations and infrastructure.
"Although this was a very tough year for the laboratory, I am optimistic that next year will be better. I am determined to do all that I can to make it so," he told employees.