Change in LANL contract could affect taxes

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Uncertain future > County discusses potential impacts of new contract at LANL

By Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — Tucked into the mountains of northern New Mexico is one of the nation’s wealthiest counties, home to scientists, engineers and other contractors who have kept a federal laboratory that was the birthplace of the atomic bomb humming for decades.
However, the state and community of Los Alamos — long bankrolled partly by millions of dollars in tax revenue from operations at Los Alamos National Laboratory — may now have to prepare for more slender coffers as federal officials weigh the future of the lab’s management contract.
Federal officials recently confirmed that the $2 billion contract now held by a consortium that includes the University of California, Bechtel Corp. and other for-profit companies will be put out for bid due to repeated failures over the past four years to meet performance goals.
Just this month, the lab managers were warned they would be docked nearly $8 million in incentive fees for potential contamination stemming from the handling of highly enriched uranium at a Nevada facility and for an incident that left one worker with burns over 30 percent of his body.
That followed losses the previous year that stemmed from lab failures that resulted in a radiation leak and the indefinite closure of the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository.

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