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Coalition Of LANL Communities Board Hears From University Of Texas

on October 17, 2017 - 7:08am

University of Texas consultant Susan Rogers chats with San Ildefonso Pueblo Governor James Mountain at Friday's Coalition of LANL Communities Board meeting in Espanola. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com

 
By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

 

A representative of the University of Texas (UT) told the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Board Friday that the university is looking forward to submitting a successful bid to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

 

Susan Rogers, a longtime former UT staff member and now a consultant said the potential new responsibility offers a great opportunity in terms of research, visibility and industry partnerships for the UT System and its institutions, faculty and students.

 

“But the primary duty we seek to assume is the service of our country’s critical for effective national security,” she said.

 

Rogers said the UT system comprises 14 institutions that include among their asset an operating nuclear reactor in service since 1963 and a BioSafety level 4 lab – the Galveston National Laboratory – that came through the recent hurricanes without incident or interruption of its work on high-hazard materials such as Ebola virus.

 

In operation since 1945, Rogers said the UT Applied Research Laboratories are the key developers of sonar equipment for the U.S. Navy and just received a $1 billion contract from the Navy to conduct research and development to improve national security. She added that in the past 10 years, researchers across the UT system have worked on projects funded by the Department of Energy in partnership with national labs including Sandia, Argonne, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos.

 

“We believe the management of Los Alamos National Laboratory must be laser-focused on safely and securely providing world-class technical capabilities that assure the maintenance and readiness of the nation’s nuclear weapons in service to the national security enterprise,” Rogers said.

 

Rogers said that most importantly, the Lab must play a significant role in the community that is its home.

 

“Were we to win the bid, UT would commit to undertake a position of engagement and responsible stewardship,” she said. “Every day, UT institutions demonstrate their expertise in assembling and leading effective teams in the name of greater good. These teams include the most brilliant minds in the world working in partnerships with public a private entities both non-profit and for profit. We would bring that expertise to Los Alamos on behalf of our nation and use it to benefit your communities.”

 

Coalition board member and Los Alamos County Councilor Chris Chandler said she commended the University of Texas for actively reaching out to the communities seeking input. She said several board members had met with representatives of UT to hear their vision for the Lab.

 

Board Chair Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales said UT is clearly showing a strong desire to be a part of the LANL community. He said the board members would all actively be watching the contract process and he hoped DOE would make the best decision in the interest of the country and the “incredibly wonderful people that call Northern New Mexico their home”.


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