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Audit Report: OAS-M-14-06

June 4, 2014

Follow-Up Audit of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center

The primary mission of Department's Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), located at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), is to support the NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship activities by conducting experiments that provide valuable insight on the status of the Nation's aging nuclear weapons, including information critical to decisions made in the life extension programs. To address the needed refurbishment of LANSCE, NNSA developed the Linac Risk Mitigation Strategy to increase the reliability of the accelerator and restore its designed performance levels.

Our review disclosed that LANL was generally meeting milestones as scheduled, executing work within budget, and had implemented some project oversight tools. While LANL met milestones for refurbishing LANSCE and executed work within budget, we observed that the Linac Risk Mitigation Strategy is facing challenges that may hinder its ability to improve the reliability of the facility and restore performance levels of the accelerator. Further, we found that LANL did not adhere to the Department's requirements contained in Department Order 413.3B, Program and Project Management for the Acquisition of Capital Assets, or employ all project management tools.

Given the importance of LANSCE, we recommend that the Manager, Los Alamos Field Office, require LANL to immediately bring the Linac Risk Mitigation Strategy — and other projects of similar magnitude — into full compliance with Department Order 413.3B. NNSA management concurred with our finding and recommendation and the need for increased visibility and management of all NNSA projects. Management further stated that it had already begun implementation of corrective actions.

Topic: Management & Administration