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Purdue bidding to run Los Alamos nuclear lab

April 6, 2018

Purdue is teaming with a corporate partner on a bid to operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the nation’s top nuclear weapons lab.

The news was first reported by the industry publication Nuclear Security and Deterrence Monitor and Purdue University spokesman Brian Zink confirmed the bid to IBJ. 

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels told the Lafayette Journal & Courier on Friday that, "We’ve submitted a bid. And that’s all I know and really all I can say."

Nuclear Security and Deterrence Monitor reported that Purdue teamed on its bid with the San Francisco-based engineering giant Bechtel. The publication said the contract is worth more than $2 billion a year, with the possibility of earning millions more in management fees.

Bechtel is part of consortium that includes the University of California that has run LANL since 2006, according to The Albuquerque Journal.

The newspaper said bids to operate LANL starting this October were due late last year. The University of California reportedly is teaming up with Texas A&M on a bid. The Albuquerque Journal said the University of Texas also is believed to be bidding with an as-yet-unidentified corporate partner.

The Department of Energy decided to terminate its contract with the existing operators after they received a series of inadequate performance reviews, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory, located 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe, employs 11,200 workers. It was formed during World War II to design nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project.

The Journal & Courier reported that this is not the first time Purdue has bid to operate a major national lab. In 2016, it teamed with Maryland-based Lockheed, New Mexico State and New Mexico Tech on a bid to run Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, the newspaper said. That contract went to New Jersey-based Honeywell.

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