Energy Department to Negotiate Extension of Jefferson Lab Contract

Oak Ridge, TN - The U.S. Department of Energy will negotiate with Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc., to extend the current multi-year performance-based contract for the management and operation of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

This decision is based on outstanding scientific, technical, operations, environmental, safety and health, and institutional management accomplishments, as well as excellent performance in business and administrative practices at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab). Jefferson Lab is located in Newport News, Virginia.

"I would like to commend the SURA and the Jefferson Lab for their "Outstanding" scientific research and management performance over the term of this contract, and for nurturing constructive partnerships with state and local governments, private industry, and academia," said Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson. "This high stand of performance in achieving scientific, technical, and management objectives generates strong economic and educational benefits for these partners and the American people."

The Department's current contract with Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc., (SURA) runs through September 30, 1999. The new contract extension to be negotiated would extend this agreement for an additional five years. At the time the contract was executed on July 1, 1995, it was estimated to involve approximately $300 million in operating costs for basic and applied research over the four-year, three-month term. A new five-year extension is expected to have a similar level of funding.

The current contract was one of the first the Department of Energy (DOE)_ performance-based contract executed with a nonprofit institution under the Department's Contract Reform Initiative launched in February 1994. These reforms called for increased accountability for contractors, reduced government oversight practices that do not add value, and increased use of performance measures and incentives to achieve excellence and emphasize results.

A key incentive under the current agreement was an option permitting DOE to extend the contract for an additional five years based on superior performance. The Department's decision to begin negotiations preliminary to exercising the option is based in part on performance reviews under the contract. DOE recently rated SURA's science, technology, operations, ES&H, and institutional management performance as "Outstanding," the highest rating that can be achieved. Business and administrative performance was rated "Excellent," the second highest rating.

Jefferson Lab is a fundamental research laboratory devoted to the study of nuclear physics. The facility consists of a high intensity, six billion volt electron accelerator based on continuous wave superconducting radio frequency (SRF) technology and a sophisticated array of particle detectors. Jefferson Lab's scientific focus is on understanding how quarks- the basic building blocks of the nucleus of every atom - build up the matter of the world around us. Under SURA's management, Jefferson Lab has become an international leader in experimental and theoretical nuclear and particle physics, accelerator physics, accelerator and detector engineering, SRF technology, high speed data acquisition, and liquid helium cryogenics.

SURA's expertise in SRF technology has advanced the use of that technology on two fronts. With funding from DOE, the Department of Navy and the Commonwealth of Virginia, construction of an SRF-based infrared demonstration Free Electron Laser (FEL) began in June of 1996. The Laboratory is in the final stages of starting the FEL accelerator and initial operations are scheduled to begin in FY 1999. The FEL facility will provide valuable information to DOE, industrial and university partners regarding the industrial applications of intense laser light, and will support the Navy's efforts to investigate the potential use of high energy laser devices for defense of naval vessels. Jefferson Lab is also providing technical support to the Los Alamos National Laboratory for the proposed Accelerator for the Production of Tritium (ATP) project. Jefferson Lab's success with SRF technology led to a decision to incorporate that technology into the APT design.

Under SURA's current contract, construction of this unique $600 million nuclear physics accelerator was completed at Jefferson Lab on schedule and within budget. This accomplishment was recognized by many local, national, and international groups for excellence in project management.

The DOE Oak Ridge Operations Office, Jefferson Lab Site Office, under the direction of DOE Site Manager K. Dean Helms, manages the administration of the contract with SURA for operations of the Laboratory.