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Nuclear Contractor Mismanagement at Livermore Lab

 
Aerial Photograph of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Last week an article in the San Francisco Chronicle criticized the private companies contracted by the Department of Energy (DOE) to manage nuclear labs across the country, particularly the conglomerate of contractors managing the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. This group, which includes Bechtel National, the University of California, and Babcock and Wilcox, is called Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS).

According to the Chronicle, management fees increased by $240 million over six years after the group took over lab operations. Taxpayers, of course, foot the bill. Furthermore, 430 employees, most of them experienced professionals in the field, were fired, the first layoffs at the lab in 35 years. The Chronicle reported that:

Now more than a third of the laid-off workers are suing LLNS for wrongful dismissal and, in some instances, age discrimination. After a two-month-long trial on five of the cases earlier this year, an Alameda County Superior Court jury found the partnership liable for kicking the employees to the curb, and awarded them $2.7 million. Rather than cut its losses by settling the remaining 125 cases, LLNS has opted to fight each one—and, why not, when LLNS is insisting that DOE and the taxpayers should cough up the $2.7 million to pay for its unlawful actions?

It is no secret that the DOE has some serious contract management problems, which, for an agency that is 90 percent contracted workers, is a problem. In this year alone POGO has reported on serious weaknesses in DOE subcontract audits, millions of dollars wasted on inappropriate reimbursements, and other examples of contractor mismanagement.

Aerial photo of Lawrence Livermore National Lab by Wikipedia.

By: Lydia Dennett
Investigator, POGO

lydia dennett Lydia Dennett is an investigator for the Project On Government Oversight. Lydia handles whistleblower intake and works on nuclear safety and security at the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

Topics: Contract Oversight

Related Content: Contractor Accountability, Nuclear Weapons Complex Oversight, Livermore National Lab

Authors: Lydia Dennett

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