UT regents postpone final vote on bidding for Los Alamos contract


University of Texas System regents unexpectedly stopped short Thursday of giving the final go-ahead for a proposal to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, birthplace of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Regents’ Chairwoman Sara Martinez Tucker gave no reason, simply saying that the matter was being postponed until Nov. 27. Other than her brief comment, the regents did not discuss Los Alamos in public, although it was part of their agenda for closed-door discussion.

The postponement was surprising because the regents’ agenda called for “appropriate action regarding development of a bid for management” of the lab. In September, the regents authorized spending up to $4.5 million to prepare a bid to run the nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico.

Proposals are due on Dec. 11 at the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Meanwhile, the regents discussed a proposal to collaborate with the Texas A&M University System, Baylor College of Medicine and Houston’s Texas Medical Center to establish a joint campus focusing on life sciences research in the medical center.

The initiative, dubbed TMC3, has been in the works for about three years and grew out of brainstorming sessions regarding the medical center’s strategic planning.

Tucker said she wanted system officials to learn more about legal, financial and other issues before the regents sign on to the plan. The Texas A&M University System’s board signed on earlier this week, and Baylor College of Medicine’s board is also committed.



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