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About the LANS partners

Updated September 23, 2015

On June 1, 2006, a newly-formed corporation called Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) will assume full management of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). LANS is composed of Bechtel National (a subsidiary of the Bechtel Group), the University of California, BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT, a subsidiary of McDermott International), and Washington Group International (WGI).

So far LANS has offered limited details as to how they will run the day-to-day operations of the lab; press releases from the four partners emphasize their long-standing experience as contractors in the US nuclear weapons complex. The questions of what precisely each partner will do, how they will do it, and who will be accountable remain mostly unanswered. Likewise unknown -- to us, at least -- are the other business and political interests of these companies and their senior management, and how these might affect the decisions at LANL.

As an initial foray into some of these questions we can recommend the two reports on Bechtel linked below. We cannot vouch for every detail being up-to-date, but the overall pattern is strongly suggestive of serious, long-term problems at the very core of Bechtel.

We welcome any solidly-referenced research regarding the LANS partners, both as regards their work for the Department of Energy (DOE) and its federal subsidiary the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), as well as elsewhere. Send your suggestions and contributions to Damon Hill or Greg Mello.

See also:

Bechtel National (BN)

In brief

  • Bechtel National is part of the Bechtel Group ($17.4 B in revenue, 2004).[1]
  • The Bechtel Group is privately held and exempt from much standard corporate reporting.
  • Bechtel Group headquarters are in San Francisco, with has 40 offices around the world and 40,000 employees.[2]
  • Bechtel Group ranks 6th in Iraq and Afghanistan contracts: $2.8 B (Jan 2002 – July 1, 2004). [3]
  • Bechtel Group ranks 8th in overall federal contracts: $4.6 B (FY2003).[4]
  • Bechtel Group ranks 15th in DoD contracts: $1.7 B (FY2004).[5]
  • Bechtel National, in partnership with Lockheed Martin and Johnson Controls, is a managing contractor of the Nevada Test Site (NNSA budget of $419.0 M in FY2005), and in partnership with Westinghouse, BWXT, and BNFL, of the Savannah River Site (NNSA budget of $319.5 M in FY 2005).[6]
  • The Bechtel Group had $240,000 in total lobbying expenditures in 2000, of which $160,000 was for subsidiary Bechtel National.[7]
  • Former Secretary of State George Shultz, once Bechtel Group’s president, serves on the company’s board of directors.[8]

Overviews of Bechtel

"Bechtel: Profiting from Destruction – Why the Corporate Invasion of Iraq Must be Stopped," Andrea Buffa, et. al., June 2003, a joint effort by CorpWatch, Public Citizen, and Global Exchange, http://www.citizen.org/documents/profilebechtel.pdf.

Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story, Laton McCartney, New York: Ballantine Books, April 1989.  Reviews at Amazon.com

"Straight to Bechtel," Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch, May 9, 2005, http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair05092005.html.

Bechtel Corporate Profile, Polaris Institute, October 2002.

An introduction to Bechtel’s political connections and the breadth of Bechtel’s projects and contracts worldwide, the report pays special attention to problem water contracts.

“Contractor Profile: Bechtel Group. Inc.,” Windfalls of War: U.S. Contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq, The Center for Public Integrity, 31 March 2004.

Primary source documents from the Windfalls of War study:

 “Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Plan: Assessment Report Executive Summary,” Submitted to USAID by Bechtel National, Inc., June 2003.  

“Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Plan: Assessment Report,” Submitted to USAID by Bechtel National, Inc., June 2003. 

“Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Plan: Recommended Implementation Plan,” Submitted to USAID by Bechtel National, Inc., June 2003

Bechtel and the Privatization of Water Resources

"Bechtel vs. Bolivia: The Bolivian Water Revolt," The Democracy Center, 2004, http://www.democracyctr.org/bechtel.

“Bechtel and Blood for Water: War as an Excuse for Enlarging Corporate Rule,” ZNet, Vandana Shiva, 12 March 2003.

“Bolvian Uprisings Flow from Bechtel’s Greed,” San Francisco Examiner, Jim Shultz, 19 April 2000 .

Bechtel in Iraq, New Orleans, and elsewhere

“Bechtel gets black marks on Iraqi school repairs,” Scripps Howard News Service, Tara Copp, 8 December 2003.

“Bechtel tied to bin Ladens,” CNN/Money, 5 May 2003.

“Demonstrators demand bigger share of reconstruction work,” The Advocate, Mark F. Bonner, 30 October 2005.

“Inside Bechtel Spin Machine,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, AC Thompson, 10 May 2004.

“Occupation, Inc.” Herbert Docena and Pratap Chatterjee, Southern Exposure, Winter 2003-2004.

“War Profiteers Shell, Bechtel, Fluor Take Record of Terror from Africa to Iraq,” San Francisco Bay View, Dena Montague, 21 May 2003.

Bechtel’s dealings with Saddam Hussein

“US Firm Bechtel Planned to Evade 1988 Iraq Sanctions – Document,” Inter Press Service, Emad Mekay, 21 December 2003.

Cable from U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to State Department, "Minister of Industry Blasts Senate Action," September 13, 1988. Source: National Security Archive.

Summary: Bechtel representatives state to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie that they would continue to do business in Iraq if economic sanctions were passed into law as contained in the U.S. Senate’s September 8 “Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988.” The Act was a response to a series of Iraqi chemical weapons attacks against Kurds.

Bechtel in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex:
Department of Energy (DOE) sites with Bechtel operations include:
  • Bettis Atomic Laboratory - Pennsylvania, Idaho, and South Carolina
  • Hanford Site - Hanford, Washington
  • Idaho National Laboratory - Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - Livermore, California
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory - Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • Nevada Test Site - near Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Pantex Site - Amarillo, Texas
  • Savannah River Site - Aiken, >South Carolina
  • Y-12 National Security Complex - Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Yucca Mountain, Nevada

University of California

In brief
  • The 3rd largest university recipient of DoD spending, $120.9 M (2002).[9]
  • Up to now, the largest recipient of NNSA nuclear weapons spending ($2.8 B, will now drop towards perhaps $1.6 B, assuming a 4-way even split at LANL).  It is possible that BWXT could now surpass UC as the largest NNSA contractor.[10]
  • Now ranks an estimated #8 in overall military contracting (DoD + NNSA) with about $2.9 B in military contracts annually.  UC’s ranking will fall as the income from LANL is shared.[11]

UC and Bechtel: Personal Connections

  • Alum rises fast to found investment company,” Jack O'Connor, The Daily Princetonian.com, 5 November 2004.
  • Gerald Parsky, University of California (UC) Board of Regents Chair and Chairman of the LANS Board of Governors, and Bechtel board member George Shultz have ties that go back to their Princeton days. (Contributed by a supporter.)

    Useful resources

  • Fiat Pax: A Resource on Science, Technology, Militarism, and Universities.
  • UC Nuclear Free: A campaign to end the University of California's involvement in the design, research, testing and production of nuclear weapons.
  • Washington Group International (WGI)

    In brief
    • $2.9 B in revenue (2004).[12]
    • Ranks fourths in Iraq and Afghanistan contracts, $3.1 B (Jan. 2002 – July 1, 2004).[13]
    • Headquarters in Boise, Idaho; approximately 25,000 working in over 40 states and more than 30 countries. [14]
    • Ranks 62nd in overall federal contracts: $566.6 M (FY2003). [15]
    • $1,300,000 in total lobbying expenditures in 2000.[16]
    • WGI news and views, just the beginning

    "The Presidential Pipeline: Bush’s Top Fund-Raisers See Spoils of Victory," first of three articles (“Bush fund-raisers cash in by giving - then receiving”), Jim Tankersley, Joshua Boak and Christopher Kirkpatrick, 12/18/05 and following days by the Toledo Blade (Ohio).

    "Executives of defense contractors United Technologies and The Washington Group, which won contracts potentially totaling more than $6 billion to supply American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and rebuild both countries' infrastructure. The same contractors won far less government work under President Bill Clinton."
    "The Great Iraq Heist: The Iraqis are Paying for a War Waged Against Them," A.K. Gupta, January 2004, Z Magazine.
    Basic background

    Security and Exchange Commission Form 10-K (Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2004, ended Dec. 31, 2004).

    A few highlights:

      • On April, 28, 1993, what is now WGI was originally incorporated in Delaware
      • as the Kasler Holding Company.
      • In April 1996 they changed their name to Washington Construction Group.
      • On September 11, 1996, Washington Construction Group purchased Morrison Knudsen Corporation as part of the latter company’s bankruptcy organization plan.  Subsequently, Washington Construction Group changed their name to Morrison Knudsen Corporation.
      • On March 22, 1999, Morrison Knudsen Corporation, together with BNFL Nuclear Services, acquired the government and environmental services businesses (the Westinghouse businesses) of CBS Corporation (now Viacom).
      • On July 7, 2000 Morrison Knudsen Corporation purchased Raytheon’s subsidiaries that provided engineering, design, procurement, construction, operation, maintenance, and other services.
      • On September 15, 2000, the resulting business changed its name to Washington Group International (WGI).
      • On May 14, 2001, WGI filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.
      • By the end of 2004 WGI had been awarded ID/IQ (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) contracts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worth up to $3.1 billion for design, engineering, and constructions services throughout Central Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
      • In 2004, WGI derived 51% of their consolidated operating revenue from DoD and DOE (37% and 14% of the total respectively). WGI has increased the percentage of total revenue derived from the DoD from 24% in 2003 to 37% in 2004, primarily due to contracts for work in the Middle East. 

    WGI in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex

    DOE sites with WGI operations include:

      • Hanford Site - Hanford, Washington
      • Idaho National Laboratory - near Idaho Falls, Idaho
      • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - Livermore, California
      • Los Alamos National Laboratory - Los Alamos, New Mexico 
      • Miamisburg Closure Project - Miamisburg, Ohio
      • Sandia National Laboratories - Albuquerque, New Mexico
      • Savannah River Site - Aiken, South Carolina
      • Oak Ridge Complex - Oak Ridge, Tennessee
      • Pantex Plant - Amarillo, Texas
      • Rocky Flats Site - near Denver, Colorado
      • West Valley Demonstration Project - near Buffalo, New York
      • Weldon Spring Remedial Action Project - Missouri
      • Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) - near Carlsbad, New Mexico

    BWX Technologies (BWXT)

    In brief

      • Subsidiary of McDermott International (a Panamanian company); headquarters in Lynchburg, VA.[17]
      • About $1.53 B in total NNSA contracts (FY2005), a significant increase over FY2004.[18]
      • 94% of sales from DOE/NNSA, 6% from civil government (2003).[19]
      • 11,180 employees (2003). [20]
      • For NNSA, BWXT manages Pantex (NNSA budget of $529.6 M in FY2005), Y-12 (NNSA budget of $918.4 M in FY 2005), and is one of four partners at Savannah River Site (NNSA budget of $319.5 M in FY 2005). With this announcement, BWXT will now be the second-largest or largest NNSA contractor.
      • Has been in the nuclear weapons business since the Manhattan project.
      • Has paired up with the University of Chicago to re-bid for a contract to manage the Argonne National Laboratory.[23]

    BWXT in the news (barely scratching the surface)

    "Lawsuit against ARCO, BWXT rolls on," by Mary Ann Thomas and Ramesh Santanam, Valley News Dispatch, Tuesday, August 27, 2002.

    Basic background

    Security and Exchange Commission Form 10-K (Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2004, ended Dec. 31, 2004).  A few highlights:

    • BWXT is a subsidiary of McDermott International, Inc.  Incorporated in Panama, McDermott has business lines: marine construction services, power generating systems, and government operations (BWXT’s domain).
    • McDermott’s government operations segment supplies nuclear components for the U.S. government.  There are a limited number of suppliers of specialty nuclear components, with BWXT being the largest based on revenues.
    • The U.S. government accounted for approximately 27%, 21% and 29% of McDermott’s total consolidated revenues for the years ended December 31, 2004, 2003 and 2002, respectively, including 26%, 20% and 22%, respectively, related to nuclear components.

    BWXT in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

    DOE sites with BWXT operations include :

    • Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory - Pennsylvania, Idaho, and South Carolina
    • Idaho National Laboratory - near Idaho Falls, Idaho
    • Los Alamos National Laboratory - Los Alamos New Mexico
    • Miamisburg Closure Project - Miamisburg Ohio
    • Oak Ridge National Lab Site - Oak Ridge Tennessee
    • Pantex Site - Amarillo, Texas
    • Rocky Flats Site - near Denver, Colorado
    • Savannah River Site - Aiken, South Carolina
    • Y-12 National Security Complex - Oak Ridge, Tennessee

    [1] Bechtel Corporate Overview, (http://www.bechtel.com/overview.htm).

    [2] Ibid.

    [3] Center for Public Integrity, “Post-War Contractors Ranked by Total Contract Value in Iraq and Afghanistan

    From 2002 through July 1, 2004,” 21 December 2005, (http://www.publicintegrity.org./wow/resources.aspx?act=total).

    [4] 2003 is the most recent year data is available from Federal Procurement Data System, (http://www.fpdsng.com/downloads/FPR_Reports/FPR2003a.pdf )

    [5] DOD Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, (www.dior.whs.mil/peidhome/procstat/P01/fy2004/P01FY04-Top100-table3.pdf).

    [6] Los Alamos Study Group, “Table 1: Overview of the Principal Sites in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complexand their Operating Contractors,” 15 December 2005, (http://www.lasg.org/technical/WeaponsComplexTable.htm).

    [9] Los Alamos Study Group, 15 December 2005. See also DOD Directorate for Information Operations and Reports and Department of Energy (DOE) FY2006 Congressional Budget Request, Vol. 1 NNSA, February 2005, (http://www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/06budget/Start.htm).

    [10] Ibid.

    [11] Ibid.

    [12] Washington Group International, 2004 Annual Report, (http://ccbn.mobular.net/ccbn/7/921/978/).

    [13] Center for Public Integrity, ibid.

    [14] WGI Corporate Information, (http://www.wgint.com/about_us.html).

    [15] Federal Procurement Data System, ibid.

    [16] Center for Responsive Politics, ibid.

    [17] Ibid; 2004 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, link in text.

    [19] Ibid.

    [20] Ibid.

    [21] Los Alamos Study Group, 15 December 2005. See also DOD Directorate for Information Operations and Reports and Department of Energy (DOE) FY2006 Congressional Budget Request, Vol. 1 NNSA, February 2005, (http://www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/06budget/Start.htm).

    [22] About BWXT: Powering Transformation, (http://www.bwxt.com/about/powering_transformation.html).


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