RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Battelle will continue operating the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland for the next five years.

The Tri-City Herald reports that the Department of Energy on Friday announced it would not open the contract to other bidders when it expires in 2017, meaning Battelle will have operated the lab for 57 years straight before their contract expires again.

DOE and Battelle Memorial Institute still need to negotiate the five-year contract extension.

PNNL Director Steven Ashby says he is confident negotiations will end by the end of the year.

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