UC prepares bid for lab contract

    In an effort to retain the contract for the University of California’s operation of Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories, the UC Board of Regents authorized UC Vice President for Laboratory Management Robert Foley to continue to prepare for the bidding process. The Regents made it clear at their Jan. 15 meeting that the decision is not a committment to compete for the contract.

    The Regents have yet to make a final decision regarding whether or not the University of California will compete for the contract and will likely wait until the Department of Energy requests formal proposals to do so. Competitors would have 45 days from the request for proposals to respond.

    “”The Regents’ decision today allows us to move forward and continue to prepare for a competition without obligating the university to compete,”” Foley said. “”This action ensures that UC is in the best position to participate in a competition, should the Regents make a decision to do so.””

    The Regents’ decision allows Dynes to extend the university’s contracts with the D.O.E., to provide the D.O.E. with expressions of interest and statements of qualification, and to acquire professional assistance in putting together a bid. According to Foley, the D.O.E. could request proposals at any time.

    The University of California’s contract to operate Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will expire on Jan. 31, while the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore contracts are falid through 2005.

    The bidding process comes after a probe in January 2003 found cases of loss or theft of government property and bad business practices at the laboratories, leading to the resignations of the previous UC vice president for laboratory management and the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This will be the first time that the contract to manage the three laboratories will be up for bid.

    Since Dynes’ appointment as UC president, activists from the UC Nuclear Free campaign have been protesting the university’s management of the national laboratories on the grounds that nuclear weapons research, which they object to, is conducted at the labs. The group has sent Dynes one letter protesting the management of the laboratories for each of the 100 days Dynes has been in office. UC students, alumni, staff and faculty have written letters raising concerns about the University of California’s role in nuclear weapons research.

    UC lecturer Urs Cipolat personally read the 100th letter to Dynes during an open session of the Regents’ meeting on Jan. 15.

    “”The University of California … has a moral responsibility toward current and future generations to point out the fatal risks of a security policy based on nuclear weapons,”” Cipolat said.

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