Feds cite safety concerns, errors for decision to put nuclear weapons lab contract out for bid

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. – The $2 billion contract to manage one of the federal government’s premier nuclear weapons laboratories will be up for grabs after 2017.

The National Nuclear Security Administration has decided not to grant an extension of Los Alamos National Security’s contract to run the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation say the reasons cited by the agency include a serious safety incident involving a worker, and the handling of enriched uranium at a Nevada facility in 2014.

The lab also has shared blame for errors that led to the indefinite closure of the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository in 2014.

The current contract expires in September 2017.

Lab Director Charlie McMillan told employees the lab’s latest review was better than the previous two but not good enough to ensure an automatic contract extension.