The U.S. Energy Dept. is soliciting ideas from industry and interested parties to improve its strategies for contracts to operate and maintain the facilities of the nuclear weapons complex. DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration is inviting submission of ideas by Oct. 1. “This is the first step in what would be a very long process,” says Julianne Smith, DOE spokeswoman. Among the best-known of the complex’s eight government-owned facilities are Los Alamos, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, but it also includes facilities at universities and industrial sites. Contractors operate and maintain each of the sites. Contracts for the Kansas City Plant, the Oak Ridge Y-12 National Security Complex and the Pantex Plant, Amarillo, Texas, will expire in 2010. DOE hopes to complete the reform process, if any, by 2009, says Smith. DOE is seeking specific acquisition alternatives, with discussion of pros and cons of each. The solicitation is posted at