Monday, January 25, 1999

No companies yet respond to INEEL bid invitation

Offer posted on Internet Friday

By Tim Jackson

Of The Journal

ARCO DESERT - U.S. Department of Energy officials are inviting the nation's leading environmental contractors to compete for the chance to operate the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory for the next five years.
DOE posted its contract bid invitation on the Internet on Friday and by mid-morning today no companies had responded.
Jeff Hoyles, chairman of the department's board that wrote the invitation, predicted a vigorous competition and that management teams from rival companies during the next few weeks will start announcing their intentions.
"We're going to have them come in with their key people - the people who are actually going to be working here - and have them tell us what they're going to do for us," Hoyles said.
Officials are asking bidders to explain how they intend to safely and cost-effectively execute the wide array of nuclear and hazardous waste management and cleanup work required at INEEL under state and federal environmental laws.
They want a contractor that will expand INEEL's role as a science-based applied engineering lab and leverage for the nation's benefit technologies developed at INEEL using public money.
They also want a contractor that will continue to help develop Eastern Idaho's economy.
INEEL contractor Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Co. created more than 2,000 new jobs in Eastern Idaho by investing more than $2.7 million into area economic development.
But Lockheed fell short on safety and environmental compliance, prompting DOE to pay Lockheed only about half of what it could have earned on the performance-based contract.
"We wouldn't be going through this competitive process if we didn't think we could get a contractor that could exceed Lockheed Martin's performance," Hoyles said.
The new contractor has a shot at making a lot of money managing 5,800 of INEEL's roughly 8,000 workers. During the first year of the contract beginning Oct. 1, it could make as much as $28 million.
"We think that fee pool could grow to $36 million per year, because the department and the public want to pay for good performance," Hoyles said.
He added that like the last contract, there is no guarantee the new contractor will make a penny of taxpayer money at INEEL. Lockheed didn't make any money during six months of last year because of its shortfalls.
Companies have until March 24 to submit proposals.
The board will evaluate them before selecting the best one and hiring a new INEEL contractor this spring or summer.

Tim Jackson covers the environment and INEEL for the Journal. He can be reached by phone at 232-4161, Ext. 282, or e-mail at tjackson@journalnet.com