The bid team that includes Texas A&M University has submitted its final offer on a contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory for the next 10 years, a university spokesperson said Thursday.
“Best and final have been submitted and we believe NNSA [the National Nuclear Security Administration] will announce an award in the May time frame,” a spokesperson for the College Station, Texas-based institution said by email.
Texas A&M University has never confirmed whether it is leading its own bid or whether it joined one of at least three known bidders for the contract, the lab-management portion of which is estimated to cost the NNSA more than $20 billion over 10 years, including options. The winning bidder would be eligible for up to $50 million in annual lab-management fees. The contract also includes a much smaller amount of funding for some non-weapon DoE programs, such as nuclear-waste storage and fundamental scientific research.
Known bid leaders are: the University of California and undisclosed partners; the University of Texas and undisclosed partners; and Bechtel National and Purdue University.
The University of Texas has said it does not plan to partner with its in-state rival. Last year, the Austin America-Statesman reported A&M was on the University of California’s team: something neither institution has confirmed.
Representatives for the University of Texas and the University of California did not reply to requests for comment by deadline Friday for sister publication Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor. A Bechtel spokesperson declined to comment.
The NNSA closed bidding on the next Los Alamos contract on Dec. 11. The agency in March met with bidders that made the first cut in the competition.
Incumbent lab manager Los Alamos National Security is losing its contract, which was awarded in 2006, after a series of nuclear-safety lapses at the nation’s oldest nuclear-weapon lab, including a shoddy waste-packaging job that led to an underground radiation leak at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., in 2014.
Los Alamos National Security is led by University of California, which managed the lab solo for most of the facility’s 70-plus years, and senior industry partner Bechtel National. The incumbent also includes AECOM [ACM], which is not bidding on the follow-on contract, and BWX Technologies [BWXT], which like Texas A&M is seeking some sort of role on the next lab-management team.