Despite year after year of scandals, safety lapses, and swiss cheese security, it looks like the University of California might keep on running Los Alamos, the country's most important nuclear weapons lab.According to an (as-of-yet) unconfirmed report, "the University of Texas (UT) will announce in tomorrow's Dallas Morning News that it will NOT bid" on Los Alamos' management contract. UT was considered one of California's biggest competitors for control of the lab despite some particularly tenacious student opposition. Another major candidate, Lockheed Martin, which manages the nearby Sandia National Laboratories, dropped out of the race last summer. Texas A&M did the same in December.None of this is particularly surprising, of course. California has had an uncontested contract to run the lab since its inception back in the 1940's. Energy Department officials finally agreed to put the $2 billion per year deal up for competitive bidding after the firing of two ex-police chiefs brought into the lab to invesigate corruption. But in their initial request for Los Alamos bids, those officials put together a set of criteria that heavily, heavily favored the incumbent. No wonder no one is interested in the job.THERE'S MORE: It's confirmed.
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