TEXAS, SANDIA SHACK UP

Sandia National Laboratories has always been the smaller, saner, more prim sister to Los Alamos, her neighboring nuclear lab to the north. So maybe it's not so surprising that after flirting with the idea of bidding to run Los Alamos, the University of Texas has decided to shack up with Sandia instead.The five-year deal -- the first of its kind -- calls for the Longhorns to start independently reviewing the work of Sandia scientists and engineers. A Texas representative will get a spot on Sandia's board. And the University will be reimbursed for its troubles.Texas has been interested for a while now in the prestige and cash that comes from the national labs. "In 2002, the UT System spent about $800,000 on a bid to manage Sandia, but the contract went to defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which currently runs the laboratory," the AP notes. And Texas has about 900 grand in research contracts with Sandia.The University put months trying to cobble together a bid to run Los Alamos, the scandal-weary birthplace of the atomic bomb. But, in the end, Texas officials felt like they couldn't handle the job without a corporate partner. And when they couldn't find a partner, they decided not to bother with Los Alamos, and turn to Sandia.

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