Today at Berkeley Lab nameplate Berkeley Lab
Thursday, May 12, 2005


Dear Colleagues:

I am very pleased that the Department of Energy has granted the University of California the honor to continue managing the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It is your hard work, under the leadership of Director Steve Chu, which I believe the Department of Energy recognized in awarding UC continued management of LBNL. Thank you for your commitment to the work that E. O. Lawrence set us on a course to do some 60 years ago.

I am also writing to inform you of developments related to the contract competition for the management of your sister lab, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Today the University of California announced that it intends to partner with Bechtel National, Inc. to prepare a bid for the competition for the Los Alamos National Laboratory contract. Contingent on the University of California Board of Regents deciding to compete, and the University winning the contract, this agreement also calls for UC and Bechtel to form a partnership to manage the lab on behalf of the Department of Energy. I believe the formation of this strong partnership places the University in the best possible position for a successful bid for continued management of this great institution. A UC-Bechtel partnership allows the excellence in science and technology to continue while management and operations are enhanced and strengthened.

While this teaming agreement does not directly impact many of you, I believe it is important for you to be aware of this management action.

The teaming agreement with Bechtel, I believe, is in the best interests of the nation, the Department of Energy, Los Alamos and the University. Throughout their history, the UC-managed laboratories have achieved stunning scientific and technological successes, and I believe the University’s presence plays a major role in fostering that tradition of superior science. I also believe that bringing together the academic, scientific, and technological expertise of the University with the project management, administration and business operations expertise of Bechtel is in the best interest of the nation and of the laboratory.

This partnership combines Bechtel’s world-class program and project management, facilities management, safety and environmental management, and robust government business systems with the University’s excellent scientific and technological skills. As part of the team, we will be joined by Washington Group International (WGI) and BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT). WGI is a leading provider of integrated engineering, construction, and management services to the Department of Energy. BWXT is the premier manager of complex, high-consequence nuclear and national security operations.

As you are aware, the partnership also includes a consortium of New Mexico institutions that will form the Advanced Studies Institute at LANL. These institutions include the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Institute for Mining and Technology. The agreement with these institutions solidifies the role of New Mexico universities as part of a bid to compete for the LANL contract.

For more than three decades, I have had a strong relationship with the UC-managed national laboratories and I continue to be in awe of the scientific and technological work being done at the labs. I, for one, would like the University’s association with the laboratories to continue, but I want to see the final request for proposals before an ultimate decision is made. My primary concern is how we organize ourselves to maintain and nurture the quality of science conducted at the lab, in a culture of strong operations and management.

It is important to note that the University’s final decision to compete for management of LANL will be made by the Board of Regents once the final request for proposals has been disseminated by the Department of Energy and has been thoroughly reviewed.


Robert C. Dynes

Read the UC press release.


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