N3B Briefs NNMCAB On Staffing Levels For Legacy Waste Cleanup Contract

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Frazer Lockhart of N3B briefs NNMCAB members Wednesday in Pojoaque. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com


Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board members (NNMCAB) heard a presentation at their June 19 combined committees meeting in Pojoaque on staffing numbers for the N3B, the legacy waste cleanup contractor at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Frazer Lockhart, the company’s regulatory and stakeholder interface manager told the board members that 588 full-time equivalents (FTE) is where N3B currently stands. That number includes N3B, corporate parent personnel and the two main subcontractors Tech 2 Solutions and Longenecker & Associates. The parent personnel are what the company calls reach-back which Lockhart said is specialized help that is pulled from N3B’s two corporate parents, Huntington Ingalls Industries Nuclear and BWX Technologies.

While the FTE numbers are useful number from a budgeting standpoint, Lockhart said, the “people number” is 668. He explained that some of that number are only operating on a part-time basis.

“For example some of our projects where we let a second or third tier subcontract like some of the remediation work at TA-21, on any given day there may be 20 people that show up for work because that is what is demanded that day. The next day there may be 30, the next day there may be 40, and then back to 20 again. So in terms of fulltime equivalents we can run the numbers and budget and know how many total budgetary people we have but the number of exact people changes every day up at the site. And so it makes it a little difficult to tie that down to a specific,” Lockhart said.

He said there are aspects of N3B’s work that are pretty steady such as the core number of N3B people which right now sits at 362. That number is expected to stay close to the same for the foreseeable future although it will rise slightly, he said. The critical subcontractor numbers are 92 for Tech2 Solutions and 39 for and Longenecker & Associates and that those numbers also remain pretty steady.

Tech2 Solutions activities including groundwater and surface water monitoring, well drilling and storm water corrective actions as well as RDX and chromium remediation. Longenecker & Associates support quality assurance, contractor assurance and other functions for N3B.

Lockhart explained that the reach-back staff are people who are brought in for a specialized need usually because they have a unique skill or experience and are on more of a short-term basis.

“So for a matter of months, they may well be full-time but it makes sense to use that reach-back capability rather than hire them as a full-time N3B employee because the need is short-term and a focused one. Right now we have 51 people in that reach back category,” he said. “

Lockhart noted that contract awards made to New Mexico businesses from October 1, 2018 through May 31 totaled $9.3 million with $2.5 million of that amount going to Northern New Mexico businesses.

N3B’s director of technical services Dr. Dorian Newton was also on hand to discuss the company’s regional workforce development initiatives including scholarships, internships and apprenticeships. Newton explained the ongoing collaboration with colleges, universities and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. He also discussed the company’s nuclear operator apprentice program at Northern New Mexico College and a 15-week radiological technician boot camp non-registered apprenticeship program in partnership with the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos. The company also has an internship program in conjunction with UNM-LA, NNMC, New Mexico Highlands University and the Northern New Mexico Pueblos.