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DOE Issues Request for Proposals Seeking a Contractor to Manage and Operate its Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

July 3, 2008 - 2:15pm

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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) for the competitive selection of a contractor to manage and operate Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), a DOE Office of Science research facility in Princeton, NJ.  PPPL receives approximately $78 million annually from DOE.  This is the first competition for a contractor in the history of the laboratory.

The RFP describes the criteria DOE will use in selecting a successful future management and operating (M&O) contractor.  Key criteria include:  the potential contractor's experience and past performance in both science and business management; key personnel, including the proposed laboratory director; strategy for fulfilling DOE's mission for the laboratory; management strategy and approach to achieving excellence in world-class scientific research and development, as well as in operations and business management; and the value added by the contractor.

The RFP includes provisions to facilitate competition, encourage superior science, and achieve excellent management performance. For example:

  • The contract will have an initial five-year base term, to commence on or about December 15, 2008, with the contractor assuming full responsibility for PPPL on or about February 15, 2009, and will include "award term" provisions to permit extension of the resulting contract for an additional five years beyond the initial five-year term as an incentive for superior performance.
  • The management contract will be performance-based, reflecting DOE's efforts to enable the contractor to achieve more highly effective and efficient management of the Laboratory.   The maximum annual total available fee is $1,860,000.
    The new contract will include DOE's newly developed Laboratory Performance Appraisal Process, which is intended to enhance performance management, bring increased emphasis on effective operations and improved results at Office of Science laboratories, and link performance appraisal to the contract's award-term provisions.
  • The RFP contains provisions requiring the new contractor to retain the current workforce with the exception of the specified top-level positions.
    The current PPPL contract expires September 30, 2008.  A contract extension, for a period not to exceed twelve months from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009, has been requested to bridge the period of performance between the current contract and the start of the new contract resulting from this RFP.  The additional 12 months also affords adequate time needed to complete the contract competition.

The RFP is available on the DOE e-Commerce Web site.  In addition, an information library regarding the solicitation is available on the DOE Office of Science Web site.

The RFP is being issued in final form.  Comments on the RFP, suggested changes to contract provisions, or other questions may be submitted to the "Submit Questions" feature on the web site until July 23, 2008.  Responses to questions, other information about the RFP, and any possible resulting changes will also be posted to this site.

DOE may offer the opportunity of a site tour for prospective offerors, and may also conduct a pre-proposal conference and one-on-one meetings with potential offerors.  Specific details about these meetings will be available on the web site as they become available.

Proposals are due to DOE on September 8, 2008 and will be reviewed by a Source Evaluation Board of DOE technical and business experts.

For the past three decades, PPPL has been a leader in fusion energy research, specializing in magnetic confinement experiments using a tokomak, or donut-shaped, reactor design.  Magnetic fusion research at Princeton began in 1951 under the code name "Project Matterhorn."  The laboratory's scientists are also collaborating with researchers on fusion science and technology at other facilities, both domestic and foreign.  The knowledge gained in fusion research has a number of applications, including materials science, solar physics, chemistry and manufacturing.

Media contact(s):

Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806
Brian Quirke, (630) 252-2423

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