WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University is partnering with an engineering company to bid for a chance to operate a nuclear weapons research center in New Mexico.

The university is teaming up with San Francisco-based Bechtel in a bid to operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Purdue spokesman Brian Zink told the Indianapolis Business Journal .

Bechtel is part of a consortium that ran the laboratory since 2006. The consortium includes the University of California, which has partnered with Texas A&M on a bid.

The contract is worth more than $2 billion annually and comes with the possibility of earning millions more in management fees.

The Department of Energy terminated its contract with the previous operators after multiple inadequate performance reviews. Bids to operate the lab were due late last year. The chosen groups will begin operating the lab in October.

The facility is located 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Santa Fe and employs 11,200 workers. The lab was created during World War II to design nuclear weapons under the Manhattan Project.

Purdue has sought to operate a large national lab before. The university worked with Maryland-based Lockheed, New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology on a 2016 bid to run Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. New Jersey-based Honeywell received that contract.

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Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com