February 01, 2005

Craig, Crapo, and Simpson React to DOE Contract Announcement

Abandonment of earlier competitive principles and lack of consultation causes concern

WASHINGTON, DC - Members of Idahoâ??s Congressional Delegation reacted today to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy that the safeguards and security forces from Argonne-West and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory will be merged and that DOE is currently signing over this safeguards and security responsibility to an existing, non-nuclear security company without a competitive bidding process. â??Last year we were told by DOE that in order to build the most vibrant new nuclear lab, we needed to undergo - once again - the re-bidding of the INEEL contract. In light of this, it is puzzling and disturbing to me that DOE has now decided that for a function as vital to our future success as safeguards and security, a sole source contract is simply being given over to an existing company without any bidding or competition at all," stated Senator Craig.Craig continued, â??Coupled with many other points in the draft RFP which fall short of my expectations for a strong new lab, this action by DOE troubles me.â??â??The safeguarding and security of the preeminent nuclear research, development, and demonstration laboratory demands the selection of a security force be deliberate,â?? said Senator Mike Crapo. â??Through a competitive and public process we can meet that requirement. The creation of a multi-purpose, world-class laboratory requires real steps forward in the RFP and related contracts, such as the safeguard and security services.â??â??Like a bolt of lightning from the sky, this announcement by the DOE has caught me completely by surprise and, at first glance, seems contrary to the DOEâ??s own desire for a rigorous competition of the new Idaho National Laboratory's most important activities," said Congressman Mike Simpson. "I had hoped the DOE would have consulted with us prior to making such an important decision and I regret that they have put us in a position of having to react with so little information. I will not, therefore, offer my support to this decision, nor any other associated with the re-competition, until the DOE addresses my concerns with the security contract and several other crucial elements of the draft RFP which leave the lab too exposed to failure.â??[30]