By Larry Hendrick | December 22, 2005
The University of Texas System lost a spirited competition for control of the nation’s pre-eminent but troubled nuclear weapons laboratory Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a seven-year contract that could pay up to $79 million each year in management fees to a team led by the University of California, which has run the Los Alamos National Laboratory for six decades but recently came under fire for a series of safety and security scandals.
The University of California on Wednesday won its hard-fought battle to keep operating the Los Alamos National Laboratory, beating back a rival bid from a Lockheed Martin-University of Texas team despite repeated security and safety lapses at the vast nuclear weapons design center in New Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced that it was awarding the Los Alamos contract for at least seven years to the group headed by UC and its key new partner, Bechtel National, a unit of engineering powerhouse Bechtel Group.
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