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University of Texas regents postpone LANL bid proposal

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By Jill McLaughlin

The University of Texas System regents postponed a vote Thursday on submitting a bid to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The surprise move would not immediately stop the university from working toward potentially bidding on the lab contract, according to a university official.

The regents discussed the matter in a closed-door session earlier that day, but made the decision in a meeting Thursday without giving a reason.

Deputy Chancellor David Daniel told the Los Alamos Monitor Friday the bid process would continue.

“The University of Texas System team continues to work diligently on a potential bid to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, and looks forward to sharing its work with the UT System Board of Regents at the scheduled meeting ‪November 27,” he said in a written statement.

The university system had approved $4.5 million in university funds to pursue the bid. They are among the educational and business institutions expected to bid on the National Nuclear Security Administration management and operations request for proposals recently released.

Bids are due by Dec. 11. The university regents are expected to meet again Nov. 27 to vote again on the bid proposal.

According to former staff member-turned-consultant for the University of Texas Susan Rogers, who spoke with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Oct. 13, university system researchers have received the largest share of research grants funded by the Department of Energy during the most recent 10-year period.

“We have demonstrated abilities to assemble robust and mutually accountable partnerships with private industries and premier institutions that will be necessary to ensure LANL’s success,” Rogers said.

The current multibillion-dollar management contract held by Los Alamos National Security LLC expires in 2018. NNSA announced in late 2015 that LANS would be losing the contract after failing to earn high performance reviews.

Los Alamos National Security's partners include the University of California and Bechtel National Inc. Both entities have expressed interest in bidding for the new contract.