A&M to be part of team bidding to run Sandia nuclear laboratories

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The Texas A&M System wants to help run one of the nation's nuclear staples.

Tuesday morning, leaders with A&M are set to announce a bid with a team to manage and operate Sandia National Laboratories. The System did not release the other team members in its announcement of Tuesday's press conference, although the press conference is taking place at another institution that has expressed interest in Sandia, the University of New Mexico.

Sandia, which is responsible for the non-nuclear engineering development of all nuclear weapons in the nation, had a $2.9 billion budget and employed more than 10,000 people for Fiscal Year 2015. Its main facility is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a second facility in Livermore, California near San Francisco.

The A&M System has already put its name in the running as part of the bidding process.

In a filing posted at the National Nuclear Security Administration website, the A&M System cites its extensive engineering portfolio, and says the System could provided a pipeline of engineering talent in the years to come.

"A team that includes the Texas A&M System can lead Sandia National Laboratories to refocus on its core missions and on developing and nurturing capabilities required to execute these missions in the future," the listing reads.

As of Monday night, there were 21 organizations that were listed in the contract competition for Sandia, including corporations like Lockheed Martin (which has been running the laboratories) and Boeing, and three other schools: the University of Arizona, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Texas System.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the Department of Energy announced in 2011 that, for the first time in years, it would open bidding on Sandia. Extensions have been granted since then. A new contract must be in place by April 2017.