The University of Texas wants to manage Los Alamos National Lab

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas System is planning to throw its hat in the ring and bid for a contract to run one of the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. This is the first time since 2005 Los Alamos National Laboratory has been open for new parties to apply to manage the lab.

At the meeting of the University of Texas System board of regents Thursday, UTS leaders announced they received “strong support” from the regents to pursue the bid to manage the New Mexico lab.

LANL is known for working in the areas of nuclear weapons, security, environmental management and energy. It is one of the Department of Energy’s 17 national laboratories and was the site of the Manhattan project during WWII. It is currently managed under the University of California System along with Bechtel National Inc. The UC system managed LANL for more than 70 years.

Among the supporters of this bid are UT System Deputy Chancellor David Daniel, UT Austin President Greg Fenves and UT System Chancellor William Mc Raven, who presented a case to the board Thursday. They expressed that the scale of the UT system and its strengths in the sciences would make UTS a good candidate to lead the lab.

“For UT Austin, it would be a tremendous honor to help serve the nation. The important work at LANL is aligned with our research goals and priorities across the university,” Fenves said. “Our Texas Advanced Computer Center and Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences illustrate just two examples of those synergies, and we have a strong track record of meeting security clearances.”

If the UT system continues making a bid for LANL, this will be the second time it was in the running to manage the lab. The last time the UT system attempted was in 2005.

UTS said they expect the Department of Energy will submit a formal request for proposals in the next months.  The DOE would then announce a successful bidder in spring 2018.

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