I am sobered, but not surprised, by today's announcement that U.S. Department of Energy intends to terminate the contract with Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) to operate Brookhaven National Laboratory.
My reaction is such because I wear two hats today. One, which I donned only this morning, as Brookhaven's Interim Director. The other, as the current President of AUI, who has been on the job only since March 17.
Though both hats are new, this unusual set of circumstances will not change the commitments that I and my deputies made on Monday, nor the ones we make today in response to the findings of the DOE's Integrated Safety Management Evaluation and the Laboratory's own Bari report on decision making.
Those commitments remain firm. In the coming months, we will work aggressively to set Brookhaven on a course toward a new culture, one that integrates environment, safety and health into everything we do so that our workers, our neighbors, and our environment are protected. We will embrace the input of the community, and we will seek the advice of leaders from other institutions that have faced these same kinds of challenges. And of course, we will cooperate fully with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in their efforts to assess Brookhaven's environmental compliance, and with the DOE in the transition to the next contract.
To answer an obvious question, when the time comes to bid for the new contract, AUI's board of trustees will decide on AUI's future course. But it is up to the entire Brookhaven National Laboratory community to decide the Lab's future.
Much can be done in this short term, and we in the leadership will use our time and resources wisely. Still, we recognize that the Laboratory's effort to improve its environment, safety and health programs will be a long-term endeavor.
The process upon which Brookhaven is embarking
is one of evolution, not revolution. I believe that this day's events will
help us plot a course for the future and begin to sail it, despite the rough
weather today. That way, no matter who is at the Laboratory's helm a year
from now, or 50 years from now, their sailing will be smoother and their
destination will be clearly in sight.