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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

Submitted by Oncealabbie at: November 10, 2013
I am one of the 430 former workers kicked to the curb. I did not join in the lawsuit; I am over 50; hoping by not doing so would get me a "call back to work". Didn't happen. I loved my job and we DID work but bottom line is Bechtel sucks as a company. They did not do their homework (?) in their bid and screwed people out of not only a livelyhood but a job I know I was proud of. Thanks Betchel, let me know if I can help you on that next bid!
Submitted by Buzzinheart at: October 3, 2013
I was a sales person, of Nuts and Bolts, and tools. I tried often to call on Livemore Labs,knowing they were a good customer.I was young,and a 'go-getter.' Finally I get an appointment to enter, and talk to The Buyer in the Parts Department.He made me an,appointment.And (for a laugh)another salesman from my company that has been Gifting this buyer for years. He did it to Mock me,the Young go getter. I walked in to The two of them Sitting, waiting to see my face. :( Stinkin Red Necks, and their Good Ol' Buds! Employment for this Guy, meant a Fun spot, and he was a Big Shot, accepting Gifts, Trip, and Nights out For Drinks. (and known for his drinking) There was no chance for me to Catch up in Buying him "Freebees" And that was business as regular there. They got a Good Laugh, at my expense.

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