May 6, 2022
Followup on Issues Management at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
The Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is part of the National Nuclear Security Administration nuclear security enterprise. LANL’s primary mission is to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the Nation’s nuclear stockpile. Department orders and guidance reflect the Department’s commitment to operating its nuclear facilities and conducting work activities in a manner that ensures compliance with environmental, safety, and health requirements.
We conducted this followup audit to determine whether: (1) LANL took corrective actions related to the recommendations in our prior report on Issues Management at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE-OIG-16-07, February 2016), and (2) actions taken to correct the deficiencies in our prior report resulted in an issues management program compliant with Federal requirements.
We found that LANL took corrective actions related to Recommendations 1 through 3 in our prior report. Specifically, our current review did not reveal significant issues with LANL’s Issues Management program’s compliance with Federal requirements However, we found that LANL’s corrective actions related to Recommendation 4 did not always ensure all applicable subcontracts contained the Differing Professional Opinion requirement. By not including Exhibit F documents and the mandatory Differing Professional Opinion language into subcontracts for offsite work that LANL categorized as medium- and low-hazard, subcontractor employees may not know a process exists to report differing professional opinions involving technical issues that have a potentially adverse environmental, safety, or health impact.
The issues we identified occurred, in part, because LANL’s process to include Differing Professional Opinion requirements in subcontracts did not always ensure all applicable subcontracts contained this mandatory requirement. Management agreed with our finding and recommendation, and its proposed corrective action is consistent with our recommendation.