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Bechtel’s Impact Report

U.S. National Laboratories

New Mexico and California, USA

U.S. National Laboratories

The United States Department of Energy's National Laboratories have served among the world's leading institutions for scientific innovation for more than seventy years. Their breakthroughs have global impact in areas from national security to advanced manufacturing, cosmology, and materials science.

The government turns to industry and academia to manage and operate the labs.

​Bechtel and University of California formed partnerships to manage and operate Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2007 - present) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (2006 - 2018). At Livermore, the partnership also includes Battelle and Texas A&M University. Their combined record of accomplishments and awards is unmatched in both science and industry.

The partnerships bring best practices from industry to enable world-class science for the benefit of U.S. national security. The parent organizations provide oversight through a board of governors, and the corporate partners share with the labs their processes, systems, and tools. The contracts were separate, but the partnerships worked toward economies of scale and shared best practices that benefitted both laboratories.

Technical expertise 

The labs have expertise in nearly every scientific discipline. Personnel, inlcuding leading scientists in numberous fields of study, work to maintain and enhance national security and advance such crucial efforts as understanding climate change and developing sustainable sources of energy.

Technical staff from both Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos combined to win more than 220 prestigious R&D 100 Awards, presented annually by R&D Magazine to recognize the top 100 technology innovations of the year.

In 2020, Livermore researchers won four R&D 100 Awards. The awards included a low-density polymer foam plug for occluding blood vessels, a multilevel checkpointing system for improved simulation performance on supercomputers, a faster open-source software package manager, and a novel portable neutron multiplicity detector.

Recognized for excellence in sustainability

Lawrence Livermore is a multiple winner of sustainability excellence awards from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. The lab earned these honors for exemplary efforts to improve energy, water, and vehicle-fleet efficiency as well as to reduce greenhouse gases, pollution, and waste.

Los Alamos

Bechtel was the senior industrial partner on a team managing Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2006 to 2018.

Los Alamos helps maintain the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. It also conducts research for new defense programs as well as for a wide range of global security missions. The laboratory, near Santa Fe in northern New Mexico, addresses such problems as energy security, climate change, terrorism, and nuclear weapons proliferation. Focus areas include space exploration, geophysics, materials science, supercomputing, medicine, and nanotechnology. 


  • Improved worker safety to the Laboratory's best levels in its 75-year history
  • Achieved "Star" Status in the  Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program, a grass-roots worker safety program
  • Enabled completion of the Lab’s principal mission each year: the certification to the U.S. president of the nuclear weapons stockpile as safe, secure, and effective – and all of the scientific work behind those annual certifications
  • Completed or installed three of the world’s fastest supercomputers: Roadrunner, Cielo, and Trinity, for computer simulations of complex systems such as climate modeling and nuclear defense. Trinity is capable of 41-thousand-million operations per second, or 41 petaflops.
  • Completed major capital infrastructure improvement projects including the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building, the new Transuranic Waste Facility, a multi-layer perimeter security safeguards system and major seismic safety improvements for the Laboratory’s plutonium facility, and a low-level waste facility
  • Contributed an average of $3 million per year of corporate fee to education, economic development, and charitable giving to northern New Mexico communities
  • Hired and developed thousands of new employees with high-level security clearances to strengthen a talent pipeline facing a wave of retirements
  • Maintained or improved rates of scholarly publication to scientific journals 
  • Repeatedly recognized by the customer for achievements in sustainability and waste minimization, earning more sustainability awards in 2018 than any other DOE site

With our partners at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, we launched the Venture Acceleration Fund to help local entrepreneurs create new businesses, grow existing ones, and diversify the local economy. The fund garnered the entrepreneurship award from the International Economic Development Council, the world’s largest membership organization promoting economic development.

The primary mission of both labs remains the U.S. nuclear deterrent. At the same time, society benefits from an extremely wide range of science, technology, and engineering innovation. The work from each of these laboratories advances everything from industrial efficiency to medicine to energy security.

Lawrence Livermore

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory focuses on nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, technology development in support of national security and defense, high-performance computer simulation, and materials and energy research. An hour from San Francisco, Lawrence Livermore concentrates on such strategic missions as biosecurity, counterterrorism, energy, and intelligence. The lab is home to the National Ignition Facility, a leading-edge nuclear fusion research center.

Lawrence Livermore

  • Engineers  working with colleagues at MIT developed new ultralight, ultrastiff material for micromanufacturing
  • Researchers are developing an implantable device to restore human memory
  • Chemists and engineers are working on new technology that converts natural gas to methanol using biologically engineered enzymes
  • Scientists discovered new materials with which to capture methane
  • National Ignition Facility physicists confirmed that nuclear fusion reactions there generated more energy than the amount deposited into the fusion fuel by the world's most powerful laser
  • Specialists working with Czech counterparts completed an advanced laser system for use in Prague by European Union scientists who will perform unprecedented research in everything from medical imaging to quantum physics