BLOG purpose

This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog authors serve as moderators. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Saturday, December 31, 2011

BLOG entering 5th year!

It started December 10th 2007 and has been going since.

It was inspired by the defunct "LANL the real story" blog.

Best wishes to all the visitors (including those from DOE).
It is you who kept it alive!

After 4 full years, we all learned that privatization of the National Labs has been a fiasco and hope congress fixes the problem as eagerly as they voted for privatization.

May 2012 be a prosperous and healthy year for all of us!

Scooby

Sandia retirees

Anonymously contributed:

Has anyone heard the numbers of employees who retired by the end of December at Sandia? As their retirement program was changing effective Jan 1 2012, I heard they expected about 1,000 employees to retire in 2011 before the new formula took effect. I'm wondering if any of the Sandia employees will be applying at LLNL.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Let us make the BLOG more interesting to everyone

In the past year, there has been so much commentary on Knapp and McMillan. Nothing but negative, sometimes hateful comments.

I feel the Blog has been taken over by LANL Knapp and McMillan haters.

This is repelling LLNL readers and probably a good percentage of LANLs readers as well.

To those who rejoice in hating those 2 dudes, I have a message:
I don't know Knapp and McMillan,I don't know you and I dont know how bad the situation is but it seems to me that using the BLOG in such an nonconstructive manner is a poor use of the BLOG.

I am posting a poll asking whether this is true. If the poll says so, I will no longer post anything having to do with Knapp and McMillan and will delete anything
mentioning them.

Scooby

Lab earns excellent marks for FY11 performance

Anonymously contributed:

I am sorry for the delay, contributor; your suggestion somehow went to the BLOG's SPAM box and I noticed just today.

Lab earns excellent marks for FY11 performance

LLNL Newsline
12/16/2011

On Dec. 6, the Livermore Site Office (LSO) released its Performance Evaluation Report with its assessment of our Laboratory's performance for fiscal year 2011.

I am pleased to report that the Laboratory earned ratings of "outstanding" in Mission and "very good" in both Operations and Institutional Management. In addition, for the third consecutive year, the Laboratory earned the award term incentive for contract extension.

The "excellent" rating for Mission reflected LLNL's numerous achievements in applying science and technology to meet critical national security needs. LSO noted that the Laboratory "met or exceeded nearly all of the performance targets, evaluation criteria, and milestones" associated with program objectives and "nearly all of the performance measures were also rated excellent." Among the accomplishments cited by LSO in support of this top rating were stockpile assessment, surveillance and life-extension activities for multiple warheads; increased rigorous peer reviews and data exchanges with Los Alamos weapons scientists; successful execution of a series of NIF shots that resolved a key issue about nuclear weapon performance and other shots for the ignition campaign, high-energy-density science and other national security missions; preparations for the delivery of Sequoia; leadership in the development of the first national strategic plan for nuclear forensics and attribution; and the development of numerous new technologies as evidenced by increased patent and licensing activity.

The rating of "very good" for Operations recognized the success of Laboratory efforts to strengthen its operational and infrastructure functions. LSO observed that LLNL "maintained safe, environmentally sound, and secure operations in an efficient manner." Accomplishments cited in support of this rating included nearly 100 percent availability of mission-critical facilities; on-schedule progress in transferring category 1 and 2 special nuclear material to other sites; development of a post-deinventory security plan; achievement of all environmental restoration regulatory milestones at the main LLNL site and Site 300; major focus on and improvements in employee health and safety programs; and the conduct of comprehensive self-assessments of operational functions to self-identify and correct issues.

The "very good" rating for Institutional Management reflected LLNL's performance in business operations and governance and the fact that it "met or exceeded many of the performance targets and evaluation criteria." In support of this rating, LSO cited the establishment of the Office of Strategic Outcomes, Interagency Business Office, and Interagency Mission Opportunities Office; the Laboratory's 99.97 accountability rate for its annual property inventory; improvements to the employee recruitment process and training systems; and successful completion of 17 business system projects.

In addition, the Laboratory achieved all but two of the 21 "stretch" incentive targets (11 in Mission, four in Operations, and four in Institutional Management), and all three of the multi-site targets (which focused on stockpile stewardship, complex transformation and stockpile science).

All in all, I think this assessment accurately reflects our performance for FY11. Not only does it highlight our key successes and achievements, but it identifies various issues and concerns that we need to, and will, address going forward. So, please accept my thanks for an exceptional year, and join me in our continuing effort to achieve simultaneous excellence in mission, operations and management.

-- Parney Albright

Decades later, a Cold War secret is revealed

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — For more than a decade they toiled in the strange, boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled with secrets...
Read more

Friday, December 23, 2011

Message from "The administrator"

With the holiday season upon us, I hope you will be able to spend time with the people that make your life happier and more meaningful. Whether it's an office get-together or family gathering, this is a special time for being with loved ones, family and friends.

This is also a time of year that inspires us to look back on what we have accomplished together. Each day I'm impressed and humbled by the work you do for our country. The dedication you show to implementing the President's nuclear security agenda and keeping the American people safe is unmatched, and you have my deepest gratitude for the professionalism and thoughtfulness with which you do it.

This year brought some of the most complex issues we have ever faced. From our response in Japan to the dismantlement of the last B53, you rose to the challenges that came our way and proved once again that NNSA has one of the most talented and diligent workforces in the Federal government. I know that 2012 will bring more even more opportunities for us to achieve great things together. Neile and I wish each of you a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and look forward to the work we will do together in 2012.

Tom D'Agostino
Administrator

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Charlie "MIT" McMillan Holiday Message

Anonymously contributed:

Charlie "MIT" McMillan Holiday Message

Not to be outdone by "Livermore" the following is our Holiday message from our "fearless" leader none other than Charlie "MIT" McMillan, a REAL leader (which he constantly reminds us), MIT PhD physics graduate (which he constantly reminds us), former LLNL employee and manager (which he constantly reminds us), weapon designer extraordinaire (which he constantly reminds us), the man responsible for bringing us Bret Knapp, our next LANS Director (which he ALWAYS reminds us) and our Savior from the recent Los Conchas Fire (which he constantly reminds us). He's the MAN!


The first thing I’d like to say in this holiday message is "Thank you."

What we have accomplished this year as a Laboratory—thanks to your creativity, innovation, and unwavering dedication to delivering on our commitments—is nothing short of amazing.

We will gather with our families this holiday season knowing that our daily work continues to ensure the peace and prosperity of this nation as it has for the past 70 years.

Our breakthroughs span the entire periodic table and hold promise in fields from medicine, energy security, and nanotechnology to the next generation of supercomputers…and so much more.

I appreciate your commitment to excellence. I know many of you put in long hours. Please send a special thank you to your families for me; we couldn’t do it without their love and support.

I know we are entering uncertain times for the Lab. Chances are, things will still be uncertain when we return from the holiday break. I hope you’ll put those thoughts aside for the next couple of weeks.

Enjoy the spirit of giving as we remember our neighbors who are less fortunate. Take an extra minute or two and relish your time away with family and friends. Remember to do it safely—the holidays can be hectic. Come back refreshed and ready to pick up where we left off.

On behalf of the entire management team, I wish you and your family all the best for this holiday season.

Charlie

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Y-12 squeezes benefits to save money

Anonymously contributed:

From Frank Munger's Column at the Knoxville News-Sentinel on Y-12:


Y-12 squeezes benefits to save money

B&W Y-12 so far as been able to avoid layoffs at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant or having to reduce payrolls through voluntary plans, but the federal contractor has taken a number of measures to trim costs and, like its counterpart (UT-Battelle) did recently at ORNL, B&W has changed some employee benefits to ease budget pressures.

Y-12 employees were notified of the changes last week.

In a statement, Y-12 General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst said, "In these uncertain budget times, we're continuously examining how we manage our business. We will continue to offer excellent benefits to employees, but managing benefits and absences differently will allow us to save money and save jobs."
According to B&W Y-12 spokesman David Keim, salaried employees hired after the first of the year will now be eligible for "an enhanced defined contribution plan" -- apparently a 401(k) plan -- rather than the existing defined pension plan.

Keim said company would make contributions to the new employees' plan based on years of service: 2 percent of pay for 0-5 years, 4 percent of pay for 5-10 years, and 6 percent of pay after 10 years. Also, he said, new employees will receive company contributions even if they do not contribute to the plan themselves.

Current employees at Y-12 are not affected by the pension changes.

Meanwhile, there's are changes to "absence policies" for all salaried employees. Here are the changes as described by B&W:

-- Beginning in 2012, absences due to an employee's personal illness now will be paid out of the 40 hours of personal leave that each employee receives, rather than through short-term disability.

-- Employees will only be able to bank up to 160 hours of vacation (down from up to 240 hours), and they'll no longer have the option of deferring vacation from one year to the next.

-- After 13 weeks of short-term disability absences, the salary continuation rate will drop from 100 percent to 80 percent, instead of the current 26 weeks.

Keim, via email, described another change taking place. "Under our current short-term disability plan, periods of disability are treated as separate periods if they are: (1) due to unrelated causes and are separated by a return to active work of at least eight consecutive hours of work; or (2) due to related causes and are separated by a return to active work of at least 520 hours of work or three calendar months, whichever is longer. Under the new guidelines, an employee will have six months of short-term disability for all disabilities combined. In order to reestablish six months of short-term disability, an employee must return to work for at least 2,080 hours."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Budget Deal Whacks LANL Nuke Lab

Anonymously contributed:

Budget Deal Whacks LANL Nuke Lab

Updated: Friday, 16 Dec 2011, 3:43 PM MST
Published : Friday, 16 Dec 2011, 3:43 PM MST

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - The compromise budget bill approved by the U.S. House Friday slashes funding for and prohibits any site preparation work on a controversial new $6 billion nuclear facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The spending bill appropriates $200 million for the project this fiscal year, $100 million less than the administration had requested. It also notes that "no construction activities are funded for the project this year," and calls for a new report on the country's capability for manufacturing so-called pits, or the cores that power nuclear weapons.

Watchdogs hailed the budget action as a sign Congress was backing it's calls for the National Nuclear Security Administration to slow down on plans to build the facility.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Final Version of Defense Auth. Bill Emerges From Conference

Anonymously contributed:

Weapons Complex Monitor
December 13, 2011

Final Version of Defense Auth. Bill Emerges From Conference

The funding picture for the National Nuclear Security Administration became a lot clearer yesterday as House and Senate lawmakers unveiled the conference version of the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes $7.27 billion for the agency’s weapons program and allows the Department of Defense to transfer an additional $125 million. The bill also authorizes $2.33 billion for the NNSA’s nonproliferation account, $216.8 million less than the Obama administration’s $2.55 billion budget request. In setting the $7.27 billion funding level for the NNSA’s weapons program—$355 million less than the $7.6 billion that the House and Senate Armed Services Committee provided for the program, matching President Obama’s $7.6 billion request—lawmakers said they reflected the funding levels in the conference agreement on the FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, which is set to be unveiled today as part of a nine-bill omnibus appropriations act. Under the provisions of the conference agreement, the Pentagon could boost funding for the agency’s weapons program by $125 million—mirroring legislation drafted by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jon Kyl (RAriz.) that enjoyed the support of the Department of Defense but was excluded from the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Act due to a procedural issue.

Lawmakers backed off a House-crafted provision that would have tied stockpile reductions under the New START Treaty and in the future to progress on the Obama Administration’s $88 billion plan to maintain and modernize the nation’s weapons complex and nuclear arsenal over the next decade. The provisions, which were drafted by Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, drew a veto threat from the Obama Administration, and were replaced in the conference agreement by a “sense of Congress that sustained investments in the nuclear weapons stockpile and the nuclear security complex are needed to ensure a safe, secure, reliable, and credible nuclear deterrent and that such investments could enable additional reductions in the hedge stockpile in the future.” The agreement, however, includes a provision requiring the President to report to Congress each year it is determined that the modernization plan isn’t adequately funded as well as a provision requiring the President to provide a net assessment of the nation’s nuclear forces if the Administration proposes reductions to the nation’s active or reserve stockpiles.

Holiday wishes

Holiday wishes

"Even as we prepare for the holidays, the New Year is just around the corner and directs our thoughts to the future.

Daunting challenges are facing the nation, and our Laboratory's ability to anticipate, innovate, and deliver is more important than ever.

LLNL's work really does make a difference to the nation's security and the well-being of its citizens. Our efforts are critical to maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrent and reducing the threats of proliferation and terrorism. Experiments at NIF are blazing new territory in fundamental physics and leading the way toward a clean, carbon-free, virtually unlimited energy resource.

Advances in high-performance computing are making it possible to tackle the "too hard" problems, like designing a smart energy grid or deciphering the myriad factors that affect global climate. Our unique capabilities are called upon not only to respond to urgent crises, such as the Fukushima reactor disaster, but also to anticipate future threats and to envision and create the capabilities that will be needed decades hence.

Thanks to nearly 60 years of investment in this Laboratory -- and your exceptional talents and dedication -- LLNL is singularly capable to tackle many of the most difficult challenges confronting the country -- nuclear security, energy and climate, public health, economic competitiveness.

And so, I would like to extend to all of you my best wishes for a wonderful and safe holiday season and an exciting and productive New Year."

- Parney Albright, LLNL Director, December 13, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

George Miller, delusional

Anonymously contributed:

Here's a man that's delusional self center to the max and obviously living in the world of OZ

George Miller

It has been a great privilege to have been a part of this extraordinary institution for nearly 40 years and to have had the opportunity to witness and be associated with the tremendous scientific and technical accomplishments that have helped to secure the future of our nation. These accomplishments are the direct result of your passion and creativity, your dedication and perseverance, your commitment to excellence and integrity, and your unwavering service to our nation.

This Laboratory has always embraced big ideas and big challenges, and I believe that, right now, the country needs big ideas. The challenges facing our nation are significant, and I am convinced that the talents you bring to solving these challenges will result in the same kind of remarkable success that has marked the history of this Laboratory. I believe this is so because Livermore embodies the spirit of some of my heroes:

"Public business, my son, must always be done by somebody. It will be done by somebody or other. If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men refuse it, others will not."

-John Adams, letter to his son, Thomas (September 2, 1789)

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
-Theodore Roosevelt, speech at the Sorbonne, Paris (April 23, 1910)
"We need men [and women] who can dream of things that never were."

-John F. Kennedy, speech to the Dail √Čireann, Ireland (June 28, 1963)

"No endeavor that is worthwhile is simple in prospect; if it is right, it will be simple in retrospect."

-Edward Teller

"Impossible is missing from the Livermore vocabulary."

Bob Dynes, UC Celebration Day (September 25, 2007)

I want to thank each one of you personally for all that you have contributed and all that you will contribute in the service of our nation. I wish each and every one of you a wonderful (and safe) holiday season and all the best in the years ahead.

--George Miller

DOE Looks To Reduce Workforce By 1/3 Through Attrition, Buyouts

anonymously contributed:

Weapons Complex Monitor
December 8, 2011

DOE Looks To Reduce Workforce By 1/3 Through Attrition, Buyouts

The Department of Energy is looking to reduce its number of full time federal employees by up to a third from the current level of around 15,000, DOE Chief Human Capital Officer Mike Kane said at the Energy Facility Contractors Group semi-annual meeting yesterday. He said that the Department will have to tighten its belt as it anticipates major budget cuts. “Are you at a point where you can tell me that federal [Full Time Employees] are going to be preserved? The answer to that is no. There are going to be changes in employment in a number of programs,” Kane said, adding that at this point he does not anticipate involuntary layoffs, and that the reduction is instead taking place through buyouts, attrition and early retirement. Kane expects the Department to go down to about 12,000 employees by the end of the Fiscal Year, and to further reduce its workforce to between 9,000 and 11,000 employees by the start of FY2014.

Managers anticipating staffing cuts are already starting to leave DOE, some taking advantage of buyout programs, Kane said. “People are beginning to move, and they are beginning to move for several reasons. First, we still don’t have ‘12 numbers and they are watching those numbers. They are watching very closely where those numbers go programmatically, but more importantly they are watching where it goes staffing wise,” he said. “They are worried that staffing levels are going to go down and the fed’s abilities to access talent on the support service time of the house is going to be impacted by the budget cuts. That’s real.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

LANL Director Forms Panel To Oversee Spending Cuts

Anonymously contributed:

Weapons Complex Monitor
December 5, 2011

LANL Director Forms Panel To Oversee Spending Cuts

With his lab facing a potential budget shortfall of $200 million, Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan has established a senior executive panel to oversee the lab’s belt tightening. McMillan said in a memo to employees last week that he was forming a Laboratory Integrated Stewardship Council that will be headed up by lab Executive Director Rich Marquez that will make staffing and spending decisions and approvals “in order to keep Laboratory spending in line with the budget realities we face.” The panel will include leaders from the lab’s five principal directorates: Alan Bishop (Science, Technology and Engineering), Bret Knapp (Weapons), Terry Wallace (Global Security), Carl Beard (Operations and Business), and Paul Henry (Capital Projects). McMillan said the panel would operate through the end of Fiscal Year 2012 and would make decisions for all hiring and procurements over $100,000. “The LISC is tasked with bringing prudent financial management to our current budget situation while at the same time ensuring that we continue to meet our national security mission and research and development assignments,” McMillan said in the memo.

The memo mentioned nothing about any layoffs at the lab, and McMillan was clear in his memo that the purpose of the panel was to mitigate the impact of the uncertain budget situation facing the National Nuclear Security Administration and the lab. “I recognize that this will require us to start making harder choices in our spending actions, but it is necessary in our current economic climate,” McMillan wrote. “We must be aggressive in our management of costs early in the fiscal year to avoid having to take more drastic actions later.”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two Elements Named: Livermorium and Flerovium

Anonymously contributed:

Two Elements Named: Livermorium and Flerovium
Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience Staff Writer

http://www.livescience.com/17287-element-names-flerovium-livermorium.html

Analyst Sees Lasting Damage To Los Alamos, Livermore Labs

Analyst Sees Lasting Damage To Los Alamos, Livermore Labs

http://www.independentnews.com/news/article_dcc64e10-1c8b-11e1-b5c0-001871e3ce6c.html

New Livermore Lab director Albright starts job

Anonymously contributed:

New Livermore Lab director Albright starts job

San Francisco Business Times by Steven E.F. Brown
Date: Friday, December 2, 2011,

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory welcomed a new director, Penrose “Parney” Albright, on Thursday.

Albright started work as the 11th director of the Department of Energy laboratory, taking over from the retiring George Miller.

Besides being the lab’s director, Albright, a physicist, is president of Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC, the group that manages the lab. LLNS is a team of businesses, including San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., URS Corp., and the University of California.

In the past, Albright oversaw global security at Livermore Lab, which hired him in 2009. He also was president of Civitas Group LLC, which studies the United States’ defenses against terrorism.

He was Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in the past.

Albright also designed an experiment that was carried into orbit on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1991 on a Department of Defense mission.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was started in 1952 by the University of California as a Cold War atomic weapons research center, building on the work started with the Manhattan Project. Since then, it has expanded into many other areas of research, including fusion energy (many methods, including the current laser ignited system), weather studies, and biomedicine.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Voluntary separation?

Anonymously contributed:

Heard that Lab Benefits office is hinting that voluntary separations may be happening this spring.

Anyone else hear this?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bureaucracy, Labor Woes Doom Super-Weapons Lab

Anonymously contributed:

The story below about the death of Boeing's Super-Weapons Lab will sound *very* familiar to anyone who has been working at LLNL or LANL over the last few years. It probably should get its own top level posing on this blog:

---------
Bureaucracy, Labor Woes Doom Super-Weapons Lab

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/11/mega-weapons-lab/

The cuts begin at Los Alamos

Anonymously contributed:


November 28, 2011 - LANL Memo

Director Charlie McMillan has established a Laboratory Integrated Stewardship Council (LISC) to make financial decisions and provide approvals (staffing and spending) in order to keep Laboratory spending in line with current budget expectations.

McMillan notes that LANL's key challenge for FY12 will be “to manage our staffing and spending to levels that will accommodate the ~$200M budget reduction that we expect to see in FY12.” He set up the LISC to ensure that resources are managed in a consistent and appropriate fashion throughout the Laboratory.

Rich Marquez of the Director’s Office (DIR) will lead the LISC, which includes Terry Wallace of Global Security (PADGS), Bret Knapp of Weapons Programs (PADWP), Carl Beard of Operations and Business (PADOPS), Alan Bishop of Science, Technology, and Engineering (PADSTE), and Paul Henry of Capital Projects (PADCAP).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

America is not broke

Interesting report on how to solve our problems. Makes sense.
Some politicians and their corporate allies dont want the changes.
We do. We can let them know in October 2012.

http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/america_is_not_broke

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who is Battelle?

Anonymously contributed:


Great story about LLNL manager, Battelle:

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/21/142583959/youre-probably-using-battelle-technology-and-dont-even-know-it

Impact of the Supercommittee failure

ANonymous contribution:

So the super committee failed. It should mean big cuts for defense. Now the question is whether this includes NNSA and DOE. Anyone know anything?

Monday, November 21, 2011

How commited are you to the LAB under LLNS/LANS poll results

Respondens: 56
More: 1
less: 41
the same: 14

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chu testifies.

Chu testifies on Solyndra loan.

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Energy-Secretary-Chu-Testifies-on-Solyndra-Loan/10737425577-1/

Nuclear war risks

Anonymously contributed:

Russian military chief warns of nuclear war risks
By Vladimir Isachenkov - Associated Press
November 17, 2011

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is facing a heightened risk of being drawn into conflicts at its borders that have the potential of turning nuclear, the nation's top military officer said Thursday.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, cautioned over NATO's expansion eastward and warned that the risks of Russia being pulled into local conflicts have "risen sharply." Makarov added, according to Russian news agencies, that "under certain conditions local and regional conflicts may develop into a full-scale war involving nuclear weapons."

A steady decline in Russia's conventional forces has prompted the Kremlin to rely increasingly on its nuclear deterrent. The nation's military doctrine says it may use nuclear weapons to counter a nuclear attack on Russia or an ally, or a large-scale conventional attack that threatens Russia's existence.

Russia sees NATO's expansion to include former Soviet republics and ex-members of the Soviet bloc in eastern and central Europe as a key threat to Russia's security. Makarov specifically referred to NATO's plans to offer membership to Georgia and Ukraine as potentially threatening Russia's security. Russia routed Georgian forces in a brief August 2008 war over a separatist province of South Ossetia. Moscow later recognized South Ossettia and another breakaway Georgian province of Abkhazia as independent states and increased its military presence there.

Makarov warned that the planned pullout of NATO forces from Afghanistan could trigger conflicts in neighboring ex-Soviet Central Asian nations that could "grow into a large-scale war."

In its military doctrine, Russia has also described U.S. missile defense plans as another major security challenge, saying it could threaten its nuclear forces and undermine their deterrence potential. Moscow has agreed to consider NATO's proposal last fall to cooperate on the missile shield, but the talks have been deadlocked over how the system should operate. Russia has insisted that the system should be run jointly, which NATO has rejected.

Makarov also said Russia is struggling to get enough recruits for the 1-million military, as the number of draftees has shrunk dramatically because of demographical changes. He said that the military is aiming to gradually increase the number of contract soldiers and eventually form an all-volunteer army. He didn't mention a specific time frame. The statement marked a sharp change of course for the top military brass who previously insisted that Russia needs to maintain the highly unpopular draft because an all-volunteer military would be too costly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NIF is in trouble.

Anonymously contributed:

The 192 lasers of the National Ignition Facility have so far failed to focus enough energy on a tiny fuel pellet to initiate nuclear fusion.

Click below to continue reading:


http://www.physicstoday.org/daily_edition/politics_and_policy/1.2657141

Employee benefit cuts at ORNL!

ANOYMOUSLY CONTRIBUTED:

Employee benefit cuts at ORNL; no word yet on voluntary departures

As part of the announcement back in September that the lab was looking to cut up to 350 jobs to prepare for budget shortfalls and perceived tight budgets in the future, ORNL Director Thom Mason said management would also be evaluating changes in employee benefits as a way to reduce costs. At the time, he said the lab didn't want to proceed too quickly because there could be ramifications on recruiting, etc.

On Monday, however, Mason announced to staff that the Dept. of Energy had approved UT-Battelle's decision to suspend matching contributions to employee 401(k) savings plans for non-bargaining unit employees and also make changes in the paid leave policy to better position the lab for the future. The timing of the announcement apparently was to let that info be known for employees considering a voluntary departure program (deadline for applications is tomorrow, Nov. 16). The number of volunteers will determine, in part, the number of layoffs to come later.

"We continue to seek effective ways of streamlining the Laboratory's operations, reducing our overhead costs, and controlling the cost of benefits," Mason said in the memo to staff. "Additional changes to the benefits package are under consideration, and details will be announced as soon as possible. As always, your support and continued commitment to ORNL and its mission will be vital to our future success."

The amount of money saved on the 401(k) matches -- about $1M a month -- will be applied to the contractor's pension liability, Mason said.

"We regret having to take this action, but our analysis indicates that it is necessary to meet our funding obligations without further negative impacts on staff or programs. We will restore competitive matching contributions to the 401(k) savings plan when business conditions improve, although the percentage of employee contributions that we elect to match may change," he said. "We will assess the Laboratory's financial situation before December 31, 2012, and make a decision on reinstatement and structure of our matching contributions going forward."

Mason also said at the beginning of 2012 there would be a new work shift for exempt staff to give more flexibility in workload demands and personal responsibilities.

"Also beginning Jan. 2, 2012, we will replace our current policies on sick leave and personal leave with a paid leave policy, providing exempt (monthly) employees with 3 days per year and non-exempt (weekly) employees, who are not eligible for the Business Quarter shift, with 6 days per year for occasional absences associated with illness, injury, or personal business," the lab director wrote.

He said these changes, which won't affect vacation, jury duty, funeral leave, or short-term disability policies, are expected to bring savings of about $3.4 million annually

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DOE restructuring

Anonymously contributed:

DOE restructuring? At least, someone is thinking about it.


NY Times article

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dr Chu in trouble!

This breaking news below just in from ABC News. Dr. Chu is in serious trouble. I wonder when the media will start to investigate "Bechtel-gate" and Tom D'Agostino over at the NNSA?:

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/white-house-email-energy-secretary-chu/story?id=14934698#.Tr7ZV_KwVX7

LANS Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program?

Anonymously contributed:

LANS Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program?

Does anyone have any information of a VRIP at LANS slated for April 2012 at LANS and LLNS? It looks like LANS is lining their ducks (e.g. creating RIF lists) for major a VRIP and/or RIF based on a significant budget reduction for FY 2012. This is also based on the possibility of automatic "across the board" super-committee budget cuts. MacMillan will be speaking to this on November 15.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Layoffs at NIF

Anonymously contributed (unconfirmed):

layoffs at NIF! couple of nif employees told me that 40 people went out the door on 11/01/11.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The assault on LANL, part two

Anonymously contributed by a different contributor:


http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-scientists-blame-los-alamos.html

The assault on LANL

Anonymously contributed:

Take a look at Hugh Gusterson's article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, "The Assault on Los Alamos National Laboratory". I think it does a pretty good job of briefly describing the mismanagement and decline of LANL (and LLNL) over the last several years.

http://bos.sagepub.com/content/67/6/9.full.pdf+html

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let the Debate begin.

Anonymously contributed:

Let the Debate begin.

From the New York Times Editorials, 10/30/11...

"...In his push to win votes for the New Start treaty, Mr. Obama gave away far too much to balking Republican senators. He promised to invest an extra $85 billion over 10 years for the nuclear labs to maintain and modernize the arsenal, including overhauling thousands of older bombs that should be retired. He proposed spending $125 billion over the next decade for a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines, 100 new bombers, a new land-based intercontinental ballistic missile and two other missiles.

Senior military officials acknowledge that hard decisions must be made — including possibly eliminating one leg of the nuclear triad. In July, Gen. James Cartwright, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for a reassessment of where nuclear weapons fit in today’s world.

All Americans need to be part of that discussion, as does the Congressional “supercommittee,” charged with coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Here are sound cuts for the nuclear budget:

*Senator Tom Coburn, one of the few Republicans to support nuclear reductions, has called for cutting the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,220, the ballistic missile submarine fleet to 11 from 14, and intercontinental ballistic missiles to 300 from 500. He also favors delaying the purchase of new bombers until the mid 2020s. Total savings, according to Mr. Coburn, would be at least $79 billion over the next decade. It is a smart beginning.

*Don’t modernize the B61 tactical nuclear bombs in Europe. No one can imagine that the United States would ever use a nuclear weapon on a European battlefield, and Washington is in discussions with NATO to bring them home to be dismantled. If the Europeans want to keep them for political reasons, let them pick up the tab. Savings: $1.6 billion.

*Halt construction of the new plutonium storage facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Costs have increased tenfold, and there are serious safety questions about the location — along a fault line and near an active volcano. Savings: $2.9 billion.

*Halt construction of the Energy Department’s Savannah River facility that is supposed to recycle plutonium from dismantled weapons into mox, a fuel for nuclear power plants. The sole customer for the fuel dropped the contract. Savings: $4 billion.

*Cancel the uranium processing facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight says that with $100 million in upgrades, another facility there can do the work. Savings: $6 billion.

*Down-blend more of the 400 metric tons of highly enriched uranium in United States weapons stocks for sale to nuclear power plants. The administration has neglected this, while investing in programs that increase the life of nuclear warheads. Revenue: $23 billion.

The country will need some number of nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future. And it must ensure that they are safe and reliable. But spending on the arsenal must be rational and consistent with national security goals — not driven by inertia or politics."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Penrose "Parney" C. Albright named LLNL director

FROM PAO:

Penrose "Parney" C. Albright has been named the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), which manages the lab for the U.S. Department of Energy, made the announcement today (Oct. 27).

The appointment takes effect Dec. 1. Albright also will serve as president of LLNS.

Appointed with the concurrence of DOE, Albright is the 11th director of the Lab since it was established in 1952. He replaces George Miller, who is stepping down after six years as director and a 40-year career of service to the nation and the Laboratory.

"We have selected a leader who brings a fundamental understanding of the importance of science and technology to national and global security," Pattiz said. "In selecting a leader for Livermore Laboratory, we have found someone who has credibility in the national security arena and a history of addressing a broad range of complex technical issues for the nation's senior leaders.

"Parney understands how the fundamental and applied science, engineering and computational capabilities of the Lab can contribute to advances in new energy technologies, scientific discoveries and global security," Pattiz added. "He has a strong commitment to, and understanding of, the critical role Livermore Laboratory plays in the weapons complex and to the stockpile stewardship program, along with the National Ignition Facility and National Ignition Campaign. His skills and experience will lead the Laboratory into a new era of scientific and technological excellence in service to our nation."

"Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is an integral component of our nation's national security enterprise and one of the Department of Energy's most vital and distinguished laboratories," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "As we work to accomplish the Department's unique national security missions and make the critical investments required for the future of American innovation, I know we have an outstanding partner in Dr. Albright."

Albright was selected after a nationwide search that began in June. Albright joined the Lab in 2009 as the principal associate director of Global Security, the Lab's program for applying science and technology to the nation's effort in counterterrorism, nonproliferation, defense, intelligence and energy needs.

"It is my honor to lead this Laboratory," Albright said. "Livermore Laboratory has a long and rich history of service to the nation. As director, I will work diligently with the help and counsel of the entire Livermore team to ensure this Laboratory remains a pre-eminent center of excellence in stockpile stewardship, high energy density physics, high performance computing and simulation, and other pillars of world class science, technology and engineering - all applied in the nation's interests."

Albright has more than 20 years of experience in the federal government and the private sector. Prior to joining the Laboratory he worked with Civitas Group, a homeland security consultant in Washington, D.C. He has served as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), assistant director in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and, concurrently, senior director in the Office of Homeland Security in the White House; and program manager with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He served for more than 15 years on the staff of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a Department of Defense Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), performing high quality and high impact studies and analyses for the most senior officials within the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a wide variety of complex systems and issues at the intersection between technology and policy.

He has extensive experience with interagency and congressional interactions, and was a spokesperson for both the White House and DHS to the press and to the broad national research and development enterprise on issues associated with science, technology, and weapons of mass destruction.

Albright holds a bachelor's degree in physics and applied mathematics from The George Washington University, and a master's and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland.

"Having known and worked with Dr. Albright, I look forward to a strong and rewarding partnership," said Thomas P. D'Agostino, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. "As NNSA continues to implement President Obama's nuclear security agenda and make critical investments in the future of our Nuclear Security Enterprise, I know that Livermore will continue to play an important role in the safety and security of the American people."

In announcing Albright's appointment Pattiz also thanked Miller for his extensive service.

"George Miller has given 40 years of his life in service to this nation," Pattiz said. "Building on its incredible history as a premier research and development facility, Miller successfully guided Livermore Laboratory into a new era of science and operations. Our thanks to George for his tremendous commitment; the Laboratory and LLNS will miss his exceptional leadership."

Monday, October 24, 2011

How about an "occupy the Labs" movement?

Anonymously contributed:


How about we start an occupy Livermore movement? There is one at Los Almaos now and more people will be joining. You do not have to be on the left or the right you just have to feel that something is deeply wrong in Washington and the United States. The labs have been turned over to private hands and what has been the result other than a few people getting rich and the ability to our mission eroded. What did the American taxpayer gain? Nothing.

Now imagine what happened at the labs but much worse for the rest of the people. The military people cannot get proper equipment to protect themselves yet private contractors get billions with no value added to our military. You are forced to put your money in dodgy stock plans since the interest rates are kept near zero. Businesses and labs lose money and lay off people yet managers are paid way more than they ever had, is this the free market, is this the capitalists way, hell no? We are becoming a nation of pirates and criminals. I know that most of us are better way better off than many others protesting but we should not use this as an excuse to do nothing but rather as a duty. "To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked." Luke 12:48

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Age and pay discrimination at LLNS

Anonymously contributed:

Age and pay discrimination are alive and well @ LLNL-LLNS. The good old boys & girls continue. Due to the secrecy of wages/salaries at LLNS I had no gauges as to where I stood w/ my peers. I just recently found out where I stand and I am very disappointed and offended. I am a 60+ year young, 20+ career employee and have an Engineering degree. No I do not want to retire, I like my job but I want to be treated fairly. I began in the Plant Engineering Crafts Shops and moved into the coordination field. I have had a great deal of training and performed many, many types of work from grunt to medium level management tasks and activities. I am only a 5XX after 20+ years. I have been held back from advancement (5XX > 3XX Series) and been given negligible pay raises compared to my peers while performing the same work tasks. In other words, in my humble opinion, I have the same Skills, Knowledge & Abilities (SKAs) or more w/o the benefit of moderate advancement or equal pay increases as my peers and co-workers. I know the same old worn out complaints. Could someone advise of a good attorney?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DOE busted!


http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/280715/busted-doe-altered-solyndra-related-documents-andrew-stiles

DOE red-handed

Unverified news:

Poster reveal your source, Scooby

News broke today that the DOE has been caught red-handed in the act of re-wording previous press releases issued back in April about the corrupt Solyndra-gate affair.

Shades of Orwell's 1984!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deputy Lab Director Ike Richardson Leaves LANS

In Bechtel's Deputy Lab Director "rotation scheme" at LANS/LLNS, Ike Richardson is being transferred from one salt mine at Los Alamos to another mine in Australia. Does anyone know exactly what Ike accomplished during his short stay at LANL?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Welcome back Scooby!

Welcome back Scooby! Keep in mind your providing an important National service. We missed you and appreciate your time and effort....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

DOE NREL in Colorado announced RIF

DOE's NREL energy lab in Colorado just announced it is implementing a 10% RIF.

The cause for the RIF? Congressional gridlock hurting their expected funding. We'll likely see something similar to this at the NNSA labs.


** ‘Green jobs’ farm in Colorado sheds jobs after receiving $200M in stimulus funds **

10/4/2011

President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives suffered another major blow late Monday, as the nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, announced a plan to lay off roughly 10 percent of its staff through a voluntary buy-out plan.

According to the Denver Post, the lab plans to eliminate between 100 and 150 of its 1,350 jobs. The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.

...The lab’s mission is to handle U.S. Department of Energy research and development programs.

NREL spokesman Bob Noun blames Congress for the organization’s failures. The Denver Post reports that he believes the gridlocked U.S. Congress forced the NREL to find $8 million in new budgetary savings.

“We don’t see any budget scenario where the lab doesn’t face budget cuts,” Noun said. “We just want to be proactive in managing the budget so we continue our core mission.”

Read more:
dailycaller.com/2011/10/04/
green-jobs-farm-in-colorado-sheds-jobs-
after-receiving-200m-in-stimulus-funds/

New investments

Can someone explain in simple English what is actually happening to the 401(K) plan? Looks to me like we lose, again. It's hard to tell if we have the option to keep our funds with Fidelity-there is some verbage about "if you do not want your existing balances and future contributions to transfer to the similar investment options... contact Fidelity Investments before 4:00 pm..."

This BLOG=crap?

Well, the entire blog is "crap" just to be clear. However, the obvious absence of the blog owner for so many days (weeks) indicates a lack of attention and commitment on his part. I for one would be happy if the blog went away, but to the extent it pretends to provide a venue for "current" LLNL issues, it is failing badly with no explanation. Can anyone explain why a blog owner cannot connect briefly in order to at least post a note as to why he is not able to attend his blog?? At least with the old LANL blog, when Frank was found dead in a hotel room, Doug was able to explain what was going on, and Doug was probably the worst blog owner in history.

Chill out!

Folks, take a chill pill. Or launch the blog of your choice. Clearly the moderator is out of the loop right now. Maybe they are enjoying a nice cruise. A bit of spam here is hardly a crisis and probably no more crap than some of the 'normal' commentary.

Unattended, neglected BLOG

Interesting how this blog can go so long unattended. No offense, Scooby, but could you clean up your act once in a while? Not all your corespondents are complying with the rules for posting. And you aren't complying with your own rules. This blog now seems like a sad, unattended vacation house with mouldy shutters and rotted wood, with 2 foot high weeds at the front door. Pretty sad. Say, any chance you'll be giving it up for good? Nah, too much to hope for.

Fatality at LANL

Fatality at LANL

One Dead in Pajarito Road Rollover Crash
By Carol A. Clark
Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 11:04 am (Updated: September 18, 2:47 pm)
A person was killed Saturday morning in a rollover crash on Pajarito Road, which is restricted and on Los Alamos National Laboratory property.

In typical "no information LANS policy", nothing been conveyed to LANL employees on this incident.

Solyndra and Dr Chu

I wonder what part Dr. Chu had in the sleazy Solyndra deal that has recently been uncovered?


March 20, 2009 – Solyndra, Inc. announced today that it is the first company to receive an offer for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Solyndra, a Fremont, California-based manufacturer of innovative cylindrical photovoltaic systems, will use the proceeds of a $535 million loan from the U.S. Treasury’s Federal Financing Bank to expand its solar panel manufacturing capacity in California.

“The leadership and actions of President Barack Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the U.S. Congress were instrumental in concluding this offer for a loan guarantee,” said Solyndra CEO and founder, Dr. Chris Gronet.

knolls Lab benefits slashed!

Saw this on another topic- would like to have a topic on the formation of a technical staff union at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, which is an NNSA lab that does work for the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program. The KAPL staff had recent benefits slashed under new management. How bad do things have to get at the weapons physics labs before this option is on the table? or will we just keep taking it form LLNS/LANS/NNSA in stride?

Who is the LLNS next president really?

Any word or serious rumor on the next LLNL Director. Isn't George Miller due to retire at the end of this month?

Do you know anything about Frank Russo?

There is a writer doing a story on Hanford for Seattle Weekly and he is wondering if someone might be willing to talk a bit about Frank Russo's history at LLNL?
Let me know and I will put you in touch with him.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Did LLNS lose lawsuit?

Anonymosuly contributed:

Rumor has it, LLNS lost a law suit with on a layoff action. The line I heard is that some of the trades laid off are being hired back, with back pay.

Any one have anything concrete?

Are we more secure?


Article by Diane Randall of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Leukemia while working at LLNL?

Anonymously contributed:

I am trying to find out information about LLNL and rates/statistics of Leukemia and if there are existing lawsuits against LLNL and DOE regarding getting Leukemia while working at LLNL.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

McMillan is actually good for LANL?

Maybe McMillan is actually good for LANL. At least he got rid of William Rees, who was an utter disaster. He got rid of all the good managers and completely turned everything upside down.
It went so fast on Fr, that we still have his picture an Bio on the GS webpage (today We), but with Terry Wallace the new PAD.

Maybe McMillan will reorganize the lab.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who is the LLNS president?

Anyone has an idea on who the LLNS president will be?

Flex Term?

As someone who is familiar with something called the private sector, can anybody please explain the the concept of the flextime/at-will employee? The way I read the LLNL definitions, you are a regular at will employee that can be fired for any reason (or no reason at all). But on top of that, you are guaranteed to be fired within 6 years. I don't understand, if you can be fired for any reason (or no reason at all), why do they tack on this seemingly superfluous: "Oh, and by the way, don't make yourself too comfortable. And certainty don't bother gaining experience in the arcane subtitles of laser ICF or weapons physics, since you'll be guaranteed to be out on the streets in 6 years, max!" And then they dangle this "career indefinite" carrot like its your ticket to the promised land--but as far as I cal tell, that's nothing more than a regular at-will position. Is it just me, or are these people living in a fairy land where rational, intelligent people (who aren't desperate Indian, Iranian or Chinese nationals fighting for a US Visa) will devote themselves to arcane LLNL endeavors with even less job security than the private sector? Or is that the point? There is an unlimited supply of third world migrants we can outsource the national lab jobs too?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's going on in NIF?

Anonymously contributed:

First, hasn't been any PR releases lately bragging about NIF greatness. Second, this week NIF seems to be taking both people and $$$ from WCI for some new activity

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

LANS Ceases Hiring all Design Physics (X) and Weapon Engineering (W) Personnel

Anonymously contributed:

Does anyone know why LANL X and W-Divisions suddenly closed all advertised positions and ceased hiring? Is this due to the downward spiral of weapon funding or another draconian move by Knapp to flex his weight? Is this the first sign that "firings" will soon begin at LANS?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where's/who the LLNS New Director?

Anonymously contributed:

Has anyone heard the status of Norm Pattiz's selection for the LLNS Director? What's taking him so long? Is he in the Caribbean or what? For those of us at LANS, we sure do hope it's Bret Knapp, you deserve him back.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Are scientists tied down by bureaucracy?

Thief said:
I'm not in science. I'm in "support" and don't get the opportunity to chat with those in the rarified air of "science". If the guy who made the condescending remark is right then there shouldn't be many comments. But since he brought it up I thought I would pursue it. Are those in the science and research areas paying any attention and how, if it all, are the issues discussed (funding, protocol, bureaucracy etc.) here impacting them.

I've been curious for a while now just how much the imposed protocol/documentation burden is hampering real science. I see it at my level that it takes anywhere from three to four times as long to get work done now as compared to when I started in the late 90's but again...that's not science.

How tied down are the postdocs and PHd's now and are we likely to see any relaxation or elimination of non science related "fluff" when the money gets really gets tight.

Are there any scientists who visit this blog?

Thief said, in response to a comment in another post:

Don't flatter yourself in your comparisons. The real scientists do not visit this blog often, if at all.

August 5, 2011 7:41 PM

You may be right....although you commit a glaring error in logic in your making that claim (I wonder if you know what it is....that's cool we'll leave it as a homework assignment for you) Anyway, does anybody in the lab scientific community regularly visit this blog and if so are you finding the increased paperwork burden and work control requirements a hindrance to your work?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More details please?

Anonymously contributed:

A budget deal has been reached, does anyone know how NNSA did?

Slow days...

Thief asked:

Anybody else notice how slow it is on Thursdays and Fridays these days? In the past when I would deign to come in to catch up on things on a Saturday or...gasp....Sunday there was always a little activity. These days the weekend seems to start around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon.

Am I crazy or just losing my powers of observation?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Security officers on loan?

Anonymously contributed:
Any one else notice the different uniformed security officers at the LLNL gates. I think they are on loan from other sites.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LLNL and LANL: The true story.... from Linton Brooks.

Anonymously contributed:

Here's is an interesting excerpt from the July 22, 2011 Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor story on the NAS Laboratory Management Panel's last public session with former NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks

------------------

In re-examining the decisions that led to the recompetition of the lab contracts nearly a decade ago, Brooks emphasized that it would be “difficult to overstate the anti- University of California bias existing at that time,” especially on Capitol Hill. However, he made it clear that the moves by DOE to consider re-bidding the Los Alamos contract—and ultimately the direction from Congress to recompete nearly all lab contracts—were fueled by concerns about business practices, not science. “There was never the slightest concern with the quality of science,” Brooks said. “The quality of science as far as we could tell then and as far as I can tell today is superb.” Przybylek [former NNSA General Counsel and Chair of the LANL contract selection board] agreed. “While we were looking for world-class on the science side, we were looking for ‘good enough’ on the back office side,” he said. “We recognized that you don’t want to pay for world-class business systems that cost a fortune that take away from the funding you have for science.”

Interestingly, Brooks suggested that NNSA would have decided not to recompete the Livermore contract, without intervention from Congress. “We explicitly and deliberately left open the question of whether there should be a competition for the management of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,” Brooks said. “At the time, the perception in DOE headquarters, including by me, was that Los Alamos was in trouble but that Livermore was doing generally well. There is absolutely no way to know what we would have really done if the Congress had not intervened. ... It is my guess, and only my guess, that we would have decided not to do a competition for Livermore.”

Notably, Brooks also considered combining Livermore and Los Alamos into a single competition. “Because I valued common management of the two laboratories, I went through a very brief phase of suggesting we would compete for the management of both labs as a package,” he said. “I ignited a firestorm primarily at the staff level, believing that the only entity who would be able to compete would be the University of California and that was unacceptable to the Hill. We therefore made the decision, accepted the reality, to compete them separately.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

So How Many Acres Did Burn on LANL Property, MacMillan?

Anonymously contributed:


So How Many Acres Did Burn on LANL Property MacMillan?

133 Acres Burned on Lab (LANL) Property

Las Conchas: The majority of the burned acreage, though, was due to backburn

By John Severance (LA Monitor)
Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm (Updated: July 24, 4:23 am)

Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory were insistent throughout that the Los Conchas Fire only came onto LANL and Department of Energy property twice.

The first came when the fire jumped over NM 4 onto TA-49, causing a one-acre fire that was quickly extinguished June 27, the second day of the fire.

The second came on July 2 when a squirrel touched contacts in an electrical substation’s transformer at TA-53, the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) Facility substation and that fire was put out within a short period.

On Friday, the Las Conchas Burned Area Emergency Response team released the acreage burned by jurisdiction. The chart said that 133 acres burned on DOE and LANL property.

So what’s the story?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brooks 'not Been Impressed' With Industrial Partners At LANL

Anonymously contributedL

From the lab's (LANL) Daily Clips page:

Weapons Complex Morning Briefing

July 19, 2011

Brooks 'not Been Impressed' With Industrial Partners At LANL

Addressing a National Academy of Sciences panel examining the management of NNSA's weapons laboratories yesterday, former NNSA Administrator Linton Brookssaid the recompetition of the Los Alamos National Laboratory contract to bring in industrial partners as part of the management team is not working out exactly as he'd hoped. Longtime LANL contractor University of California teamed with Bechtel, URS and B&W on its successful bid to keep the lab contract. "Our idea was that we would preserve the great science but improve safety, security and general management," Brooks said. "I think those areas have improved. It is unclear to me whether they have improved enough to justify the turbulence that the contract change caused. I think the jury is still out. I have not been impressed ... with the involvement of the industrial partners. I have not seen from them the same level of commitment and ownership."

As an example, Brooks cited how the key personnel on the contract differ in their commitment to the lab. "The lab director has, thus far, come out of the academic community and therefore has spent his-or someday her-life in the laboratory system," Brooks said. "The senior industrial people rotate in and out and see their long-term future with their parent corporation. I don't know whether that's a problem or just a fact. I did not internalize that as well as I wish I had when we were doing all of this. When I said I hadn't been impressed with the support of the industrial partners that was one of things I had in mind."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sandia Contract Expires September 2012

Anonymously contributed:

Time Running Out On Sandia Management Contract
Contract Expires September 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Officials said the clock is winding down for the federal government to decide whether to renew Lockheed Martin's contract to manage Sandia National Laboratories or hold a bidding competition to pick a corporate manager.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that the contract for the nuclear weapons lab expires at the end of September 2012.

Records suggested that the federal government has run out of options to easily grant the company a one-year extension.

A joint venture of Boeing and Fluor had already gone public with its desire to bid on a Sandia contract. Other possible contenders are believed to be waiting in the wings. Sandia National Laboratories is one of the nation's three nuclear weapons design and maintenance laboratories

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yet Another DOE Reorganization

Anonymously contributed:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is reorganizing the department’s nuclear weapons complex cleanup efforts, placing the department’s Office of Environmental Management under the jurisdiction of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Since the creation of NNSA, there has been tension between separate management structures of EM and the NNSA, which at times played out in confusion at Los Alamos National Laboratory about competing cleanup and weapons missions.

From Chu’s announcement, emailed to staff this afternoon:

While we have made enormous progress, there is still much left to do, and we will only succeed through teamwork and continuous improvement. In the critical area of project management, we must always strive to raise the bar on our own performance. As a next step in the process, I am pleased to announce some organizational changes the Department intends to make to align the program’s needs more closely with the agency’s resources, while enhancing project oversight. In the coming weeks, we intend to transition the Office of Environmental Management, the Office of Legacy Management, and the Office of the Chief of Nuclear Safety so that these offices will report directly to the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, Tom D’Agostino. This reorganization will capitalize on the expertise that exists throughout the Department on project management, nuclear materials and waste, and nuclear safety and security.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

LANS $58M Time and Effort Fire Cost

Anonymously contributed:


It's is too early to say how much the Las Conchas Fire will cost Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to laboratory spokesman Kevin Roark.

Some 13,000 LANL employees returned to work Wednesday.

"People are just now filling out their timecards for last week," Roark said, adding that there is a cost code for fire-related activities.

On the most elementary level, assuming a $2.5 billion annual budget and dividing that by the 260 days in a normal work year, there is a daily cost of $9.6 million — or $58 million for the six missed days.

But there is not a single number on which everyone agrees for the lab's annual income. Many operations run 24/7, with at least some of them continuing or even costing more during an emergency.

"The last time the lab calculated the cost of a 'snow day,' the number was about $3 million," Roark said.

After the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire, the lab received $341 million from the U.S. Energy Department, some of which went toward replacing damaged buildings and some for other infrastructure and improvements. It is not clear yet how much of the laboratory's losses, if any, can be passed along to sponsors.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Snowball's chance in...

Anonymously contributed:

NOT Going to Happen... A Snowball's chance in...

Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor - Martin Schneider

July 1, 2011
White House Considering Merging DOE With Commerce Department

The idea of broadly restructuring the Department of Energy is set to make a return engagement for the 2012 Presidential Election, with President Obama preparing to float the possibility of a new Department of Competitiveness that would include most of DOE as part of his reelection campaign, NW&M Monitor has learned. The proposal would consolidate the Department of Commerce with non-defense portions of the Department of Energy such as the Department’s loan office, Office of Nuclear Energy, Fossil Energy, and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The National Nuclear Security Administration would be split off into a separate standalone agency. It remains unclear where the offices of Environmental Management and Legacy Management would end up under the proposal.

The merger, which has been proposed in a white paper by White House Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients, would seek to better position the United States to compete against other countries with state- controlled industry, while freeing up the disparate missions within the Department of Energy. Industry officials expect the proposal to enjoy support from Democrats and opposition from Republicans. John Bryson, the Obama Administration’s nominee to be the next Secretary of Commerce, is likely to begin floating the idea if he is confirmed by the Senate.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Enough is enough.

The purpose of this BLOG, as you know, is to allow people to express how they feel on topics that affect all of us. Over of the almost 4 years of its existence and especially since the LANL blog closure, I will be first one to admit that the comments have turned into bitterness and negative dwelling. It is one thing to express disagreement and give your opinion, it is another to chew the same thoughts over and over; for example, what good does it do me and others to know that Charlie (is that his first name?) Mc Millan lives in Livermore or Los Alamos? or that someone in ULM drives a Bentley?
Learn how to make real contributions to the BLOG or don't make any.
BY the same token, I would like to thanks all contributors who have kept contributing despite the "trolling".

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stolen patent/invention

Anonymously contributed:


"I'm researching patent/IP theft, and I'm curious if you know -- or could put me in touch with someone who does know -- about patent/IP looting at national labs. I have a friend who works at a national lab in California who has been working on a design for some time. It's almost ready for technology transfer/licensing, and some claim-jumpers have started calling it "Our unique patented technology" and are out winning business plan competitions with it, and are shopping the gadget around for venture money and manufacture. My friend has had this happen to three of his inventions now, and the previous two times, the Lab folded its cards and granted licenses for token fees. Once again, the Lab looks to be issuing not-very-strongly-worded letters expressing concern about apparent improprieties, while eyeing the exits nervously. My suspicion is that various business types have discovered that if you just straight rip off a National Lab, the government is so full of people who are either A) afraid of controversy or B) convinced that "government bad, business good," that you can walk up, steal their lunch money, and they won't do anything about it.

If you can put me in touch with anyone whose useful invention has been stolen by the private sector while a National Lab sat by, wetting itself, I would very much like to know about it."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Does DOE wants its contractor's pension plan to fail

Anonymously contributed:

I didn't see George Miller's quarterly all-hands meeting yesterday, but thought this recap item today from Lab Public Affairs of note:

...Regarding the status of the LLNS defined benefit pension plan, Miller explained that although the plan is currently overfunded at 130 percent, future liabilities are such that employee and employer contributions will be needed within the next five years. "We believe the most prudent approach would be to start payments early, but DOE denied our request to begin contributions. I expect that we'll request approval again early next fiscal year."

Seems DOE wants its contractor's pension plan to fail.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reducing Costs to Programs

Anonymously contributed:

According to planned overhead taxes in FY13, my program costs go down significantly. The CFO people tell me that the rate change is caused by the fact that NIF will finally have to pay its fair share in taxes. Has anyone else noticed this change and received the same answer? Do you think it will really happen?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Committee in charge of selecting next LLNL director!

Anonymously contributed:

Note from Scooby: So many people, so much energy, so much money we dont have!
That is the NNSA way!

Here are the names of the Committee appointed by UC President Mark Yudof to select the new LLNL Director:

Norman J. Pattiz, Chairman
Chairman, LLNS Board of Governors
Chairman, UC Regents Committee on
Oversight of the DOE Labs
Chairman, Westwood One

J. Scott Ogilvie
Director
Bechtel Group, Inc.

Bruce B. Darling
LLNS Board of Governors Executive Committee
Vice President Laboratory Management
UC Office of the President

Sidney D. Drell
LLNS Board of Governors
Chair, Mission Committee
Professor & Deputy Director Emeritus
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

William R. Frazer
LLNS Board of Governors Executive Committee
Chair, S&T Committee
Senior Vice President Emeritus
UC Office of the President

Richard W. Mies
LLNS Board of Governors
Chair, Nuclear Weapons Complex Integration
Committee

Bruce D. Varner
LLNS Board of Governors
UC Regent
Partner, Varner & Brandt

Jeffrey Wadsworth
LLNS Board of Governors
President and CEO
Battelle Memorial Institute

-------
This is the Screening Task Force that will review all nominations and applications received for the LLNL Director position, and will make recommendations to the search committee for its consideration.

Marvin L. Adams
HTRI Professor of Nuclear Engineering; Director,
Institute of National Security Education & Research
Texas A&M University
Chairman, Screening Task Force

Miriam E. John
Former Director, Sandia California
Vice President Emeritus, Sandia National Laboratories

John D. Lindl
Chief Scientist, National Ignition Facility
LLNL

Warren F. “Pete” Miller
Former DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

Cherry A. Murray
(Former LLNL Deputy Director for Science)
Dean, School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Harvard University

Per F. Peterson
Professor and Chair of Nuclear Engineering
UC Berkeley

Lawrence H. Pitts
Provost and Executive Vice President
UC Office of the President

John M. Poate
Vice President for Research & Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines

Daniel Simmons
UC Academic Senate Representative

C. Bruce Tarter
Former LLNL Director

Elaine Stamman
Staff to the Committee
UC Office of the President

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chu, white House Expected to Play Larger Role in LLNL Director Search

Contributed by John:

This is also long but a very interesting read if true...


Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor
June 10, 2011
Chu, white House Expected to Play Larger Role in LLNL Director Search
-- Todd Jacobson

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and officials at the White House are expected to assert themselves in the search for a new director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, strongly pushing for candidates with more of a basic science and energy background after similar concerns raised during the recently completed Los Alamos National Laboratory director search came too late to influence the selection. Chu was lukewarm about the selection of Charlie McMillan as Los Alamos National Laboratory’s next director, NW&M Monitor has learned, initially favoring a candidate with more of a basic science and energy background before signing off on the choice.

Several officials with knowledge of the search have confirmed that White House Science and Technology Policy advisor John Holdren also contacted Chu to make the case that Los Alamos would be best served by a lab director without a weapons program pedigree. One official said that Holdren did not suggest a particular candidate, but wanted “somebody who was safe and reliable and not of the weapons program,” though that input came near the end of the search process. “They’re not going to make that mistake again,” the official said, referring to the fact that the White House became involved in the LANL search late in the process. DOE and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy did not respond to a request for comment. Potential intervention by the White House has stoked speculation that the University of California, which has the responsibility to conduct the search for lab contractor Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, could veer from the weaponeer profile embodied by retiring director George Miller, former LANL Director Mike Anastasio and McMillan in favor of a director with a more basic science-based resume. More than at Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore’s mission is evolving toward energy and threat reduction, though it will still play a significant role in weapons design and maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Chu and Holdren are believed to favor a lab director that better represents the evolving mission.

UC Turning Attention to LLNL Search
With the Los Alamos search out of the way, UC in recent weeks has turned its focus to the Livermore search. In a June 3 message to Livermore employees, Norman Pattiz, the chairman of the Board of Governors for Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC and the director of the Livermore lab director search committee, said the search will be very similar to the hunt for Los Alamos’ director that officials said drew approximately 150 applicants.

Pattiz said membership of the search committee hasn’t been finalized, but he said the panel will meet at the laboratory “within the next two months … to hear from various constituencies and to determine the criteria that we will use to evaluate candidates for the next director.” A screening task force will also be formed to recommend a pool of candidates to the search committee, though the committee could add additional names before bringing in candidates for interviews. He encouraged lab employees to submit potential candidates to the search committee

Different Approach, Different Candidates
If the search committee goes in the direction of a weaponeer, then Bruce Goodwin, the head of Livermore’s weapons program, is the front-runner, according to weapons complex observers. But if the committee were to seek a candidate with more of a science background, Under Secretary of Energy for Science Steve Koonin and Livermore Deputy Director for Science and Technology Tomas Diaz de la Rubia would be natural candidates, though there are likely many others in the scientific community that could draw interest. “Holdren really wants the Livermore director to be a nationally recognized scientist, as does Chu, and not someone from the nuclear weapons community,” another official told NW&M Monitor, adding: “There’s no doubt that if Holdren and Chu were picking, it would be someone that people in the [weapons] community had never heard of.” That potential approach has generated concern from some in the weapons community, given the central role of the weapons laboratory directors in annually certifying the nation’s nuclear stockpile. Though Livermore’s showpiece project, the National Ignition Facility, is up and running and eventually could lead to advances in clean energy, its primary mission involves maintenance of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. Livermore will also have its hands full over the next decade as the lead laboratory for the W78 warhead refurbishment, which is expected to be the first refurbishment that will create a common warhead that can be used on intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Stockpile a Priority in Procurement Docs
Procurement documents from the competition for the lab’s management in 2007 also place a premium on certifying the stockpile in the discussion of requirements for key personnel, listing it first among the experience demanded for potential lab directors in a list that also includes leading “a broad-based and world-class scientific organization” and leading “an organization that includes multiple operations and business functions.” Certifying the stockpile “is the main mission,” another industry official said. “That’s where all the money goes, and they can try to change that all they want, but that remains the most important thing.”

At Los Alamos, McMillan suggested in a recent interview with NW&M Monitor that his background within the weapons program would help the laboratory meet the large list of weapons-related challenges it is facing over the next decade, which includes work on several life extension programs, a busy experimental schedule, and construction work on a new Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility. “The labs have different needs at different times in their histories,” McMillan said.

“My view is today many of the deliverables that we face are in the weapons area and so someone who brings not only knowledge of that area, but also the sets of relationships with DoD and DOE/NNSA is the right kind of person today to be able to help ensure that we deliver on the kinds of commitments we have particularly in that area.”

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Do an evaluation of judge Frank Roesch

In solidarity with the group of UC retirees who experienced a setback in their benefits lawsuit, please give your feedback on judge Frank Roescher at:


http://courthouseforum.com/forums/evaluationtrial.php

Judge dismisses Livermore lab retirees' lawsuit

Anonymously contributed:

Judge dismisses Livermore lab retirees' lawsuit

Transfer of retiree health plan deemed legal
By Suzanne Bohan
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 06/07/2011 03:17:40 PM PDT
Updated: 06/08/2011 06:18:40 AM PDT

A three-year legal battle by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory retirees over medical benefits has sustained a major setback, according to a spokesman for the plaintiffs.
In a lawsuit against the regents of the University of California, four lab retirees argued that UC illegally transferred them into the health care plan of the entity that took over lab management from the university in 2007.
But on May 27, an Oakland judge dismissed the lawsuit.
The four plaintiffs, including a former associate lab director, are deciding whether they'll appeal.
"This is, of course, very disappointing news for the retiree group," said Carl Whitaker, the group's spokesman.
The group asserted that UC promised them lifetime health benefits comparable to other university retirees.
The plaintiffs, along with other lab retirees, pooled $150,000 for legal fees. They'll need another $75,000 to appeal, according to Joe Requa, a former lab computer scientist who has led the legal challenge.
Lawrence Livermore National Security -- a for-profit corporation that includes Bechtel Corp., Babcock & Wilcox Co. and others -- assumed lab management in 2007. Before that, UC had run the lab since its inception in 1952.
About 5,000 Livermore lab retirees and 2,500 spouses and dependents were transferred to the new lab management's retiree health plan. The retirees argue that LLNS's plan is inferior to that of other UC retirees, and that they should be reinstated into UC's plan.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch disagreed.
The plaintiffs didn't deliver evidence of "a binding contract" guaranteeing them health benefits "equal to those provided to other UC retirees," the judge wrote. Nor was their assertion of major financial injury upheld. Roesch wrote that the switch from one retiree health plan to another isn't "an injury so severe" as to require court intervention.
Charles Robinson, UC's vice president and general counsel for legal affairs, stated in an email that UC "is pleased that the judge acknowledged that the university's transfer of responsibility" for retiree medical benefits "was legal and appropriate."

Nuclear warriors shafted again. Asked by the leaders in DC to dedicate their lives and careers to protecting the country (sometimes at great peril to personal safety and health), and operating in relative anonymity for the entire time, UC (and DOE and LANS and LLNS), with the blessing of the courts, have decided our contribution wasn't worthy of making good on the promises they made to us. They decided that WE UC retirees weren't worth as much as other UC retirees at other campuses, like the professors who teach ridiculous and irrelevant subjects (Sanskrit?). Just imagine what the public reaction would be if the VA reneged on promises to veterans, or if cities reneged on promises to firefighters, police, or even teachers. Why, there would be an outpouring into the streets, protests, and general outrage. But the nuclear warriors? Tough shit, I guess. Maybe we SHOULD have had a union, with a giant PR machine, just like the firefighters, police, and teachers have, after all.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

LETTER FROM PATTIZ REGARDING DIRECTOR SEARCH

Contributed by John:

June 3, 2011

Dear members of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory community:

I am writing to you as a follow up to my letter of April 12, 2011, regarding George Millers decision to retire. We have begun our process to search for the next director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As part of this process, it is important that we hear directly from those who represent the real strength of the Laboratory the talented and dedicated LLNL staff.



As stipulated by the Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS)

partners, the University of California (UC) is responsible for leading the search for the new Laboratory director. The search process will be similar in scope and breadth to that which resulted in the recent successful recruitment of Charlie McMillan as the new director for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). It also is consistent with that used by the University in all searches for the chancellors of our campuses, as well as in searches for previous national laboratory directors.



This process includes a University-appointed search committee supported by a screening task force. As chairman of the LLNS Board of Governors and as chairman of the UC Regents Committee on Oversight of the DOE Laboratories, I will chair the search committee that will advise me on the final selection of the next director. UC President Mark Yudof and I will appoint committee members in accordance with regental policy. Once committee membership is finalized, we will share the membership list with you.



The position advertisement has been posted nationally and on the LLNL and UC job postings (See Newsline for more information). Nominations and applications are to be submitted to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) at the mailing or e-mail addresses noted in the job posting. All communication to these addresses will be held in confidence. The search committee also will be charged with holding all discussions and information in complete confidence.



Within the next two months, the search committee will meet at LLNL to hear from various constituencies and to determine the criteria that we will use to evaluate candidates for the next director. Since we will not be able to speak to every staff member when we visit Livermore, we encourage you to communicate your thoughts to us on the qualities and experience you consider most important for the next director. We ask that you communicate with us through the confidential UCOP addresses noted in the position advertisement, and we particularly welcome the submission of candidates you want us to consider for the position.



A screening task force will be formed to support the work of the search committee. The screening task force will ensure that we are looking at a broad and diverse spectrum of potential candidates and will evaluate the candidate pool against the selection criteria identified by the search committee. The task force will recommend a pool of candidates for consideration by the search committee, which may determine additional candidates prior to its decision on those to interview. We will share the composition of the task force, which will include some of your LLNL colleagues, when it is finalized.



Throughout the search process, non-confidential information on the search will be placed on Websites that are accessible to both internal and external audiences. At the conclusion of the process, the candidate nominated by the University of California for Laboratory director will be submitted to the chairman and vice chairman of the LLNS Board of Governors for approval and to the Secretary of Energy for his concurrence.



I want to thank you for your interest in the process and for your patience and support as we complete this important task. LLNL has a stellar record of outstanding science, engineering and technology in support of the nation, and the selection of a visionary leader is critical to the Laboratory's continued success. I can assure you that the selection of your next leader is a responsibility that all of us involved in the search process take very seriously. Collectively, we will have an impressive group of individuals providing advice and counsel, and I am confident that we will have an exceptional outcome.



I thank you for your continued dedication and service to LLNL and the nation.



Regards,



Norman J. Pattiz

Chairman, LLNL Director Search Committee

Chairman, LLNS, LLC Board of Governors

Chairman, UC Regents Committee on Oversight of the DOE Laboratories

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Livermore Continues to Lead Los Alamos

Anonymously contributed:

Charles McMillan has been appointed director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and president of Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), the company that manages and operates the Lab for the National Nuclear Security Administration. The appointments were announced today by Norman Pattiz, chairman of the LANS Board of Governors, and are effective June 1, 2011.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

who will the new director(s) be?

Contributed by thief:

Since this strikes me as a wagering crowd...or at least one favorably disposed to making wildly exaggerated statements about matters where there is little legitimate information....are we making bets about who the new director will be?

Monday, May 16, 2011

What is the DOE strategy?

Last week, Newsline announced that DOE will be outlining its strategies.
Does anyone know what they were? in summary?

Thank you!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Comments about my moderation

I started seeing people being hung up on the comments I delete after the fact.
If they violate posted blog rules, you bet I am going to delete them.
Comments about why I delete comments are, by their very nature, off topic and will too be deleted.
Don't bother making such comments. Instead, recommend a new post and let people comment on your post.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Lame Ducks spill the beans!

Anonymously contributed:

The Lame Ducks spill the beans.

It is interesting to read these two articles:


http://www.independentnews.com/news/article_7a30ea08-72bd-11e0-bd4d-001cc4c002e0.html



http://www.santafenewmexican.com/local%20news/Cost-crunch-takes-toll-on-science-at-LANL



Both are write ups of Miller's and Anastasio's testimony before the National
Academy of Science meetings. It seems that now that they have nothing to lose,they can begin to tell it like it is.

Miller points out that other entities of the government would like to do
business with LLNL but are thwarted by NNSA policy.

Anastasio indicates that the extra cost of running LANL by Bechtel inc. has "taken lot of flexibility taken out of the institution." Miller makes it a little more blunt by saying the change has caused a loss of morale and
stability.

When Miller was asked whether something should be read into the fact that the leaders of LANL, Sandia and LLNL were all departing, he smiled.

And once I leave this once great institution that is now circling the drain, I too will smile.

Friday, April 29, 2011

UC Official: Overlapping Lab Director Searches A ‘Positive’

Contributed by John:

Weapons Complex Monitor
April 28, 2011

UC Official: Overlapping Lab Director Searches A ‘Positive’

Bruce Darling, the University of California’s Vice President for Lab Management, provided few details about the searches for the next laboratory directors at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories yesterday, but he dismissed the notion that the overlapping searches could complicate the hunt for new directors at the laboratories. Mike Anastasio will retire from Los Alamos National Laboratory June 1, while George Miller will leave Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Oct. 1. “Neither search is going to be hurt or slowed down by the other going on at the same time,” Darling said on the sidelines of a National Academy of Sciences meeting at Lawrence Livermore yesterday, adding: “We view the fact that these are happening in sequence to be very positive. We’ve already been looking around the country for candidates for one lab director, and we have a large number. We’ll come to Livermore, we’ll talk with the staff and others
about what criteria they are seeking. We see it as a very positive thing.”

As part of the team that manages both laboratories, the University of California has the responsibility for choosing the laboratory directors at the institutions. Norm Pattiz, who chairs the Board of Governors for both labs, is heading up the searches, and while officials with knowledge of the effort have said that the Los Alamos search committee is not close to naming a new director and is still examining a relatively large pool of candidates, Darling said that the search committee for the Livermore search has not been formed. But he dismissed the notion that the searches were behind schedule. “We’re right on the schedule we laid out at the beginning of the process and we informed NNSA about,” Darling said. The candidate pool for both positions is likely to include LANL weapons program chief Charles McMillan, Livermore weapons chief Bruce Goodwin and Nevada National Security Site director Stephen Younger.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RIF?

Contributed by thief:

In one of the George Miller threads somebody mentioned a potential RIF. Anybody hear anything?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Keep after them!

Anonymously contributed:
LLNL Retirees Health payments Vs. Hewitt

Keep after them. Make sure they handle it.

Clear as mud?
For those retirees whose UC medical coverage has been yanked, LLNS doesn't do it themselves. They have hired Hewitt (now Aon Hewitt) who are supposed to send money to B of A, who LLNS has hired to run your HRA (Health Retirement Account.) This is a reduced amount, instead of LLNS or UC paying for health care. Max $2400/year. The amount is reduced based on years of service (rounded down to full years only). For the first year it is also reduced by being prorated by the months remaining in the calendar year once you reach 65.

I am in the midst of trying to get this to actually work, and get B of A to pay LLNS toward my Group Kaiser Senior Advantage and Delta Dental.

This has required so many long waits on the phones with every one of the cast of characters it is hard to believe. Hours on the phone.
But I am posting this to inform all that YOU need to keep at it:
I asked Hewitt and B of A to set this up starting last October of last year. I turned 65 in March.
Apparently Hewitt did nothing, and would continue to do nothing unless you call and complain. It appears that if you just wait, nothing at all will happen. Hewitt and B of A all say they have no way of knowing (or caring?) that nothing is happening.
For reasons unknown Hewitt failed to open my B of A account. Took over 2 months of calls, and being told they had already processed it, and to wait "10 Business Days", and while they do "Research," to finally get it open in mid April.
It looks like "Research" is a Hewitt code for "Goodbye". 4 of 5 times they never called back. You never get the same person twice. And they will not give you their phone number, or their e-mail.

Then Hewitt failed to fund the HRA. I still can not find out why they didn't put in the money- they said it is a glitch. Here again, if you don't ask, nobody tells you anything is wrong.

Anyway B of A has finally gotten my funds (too late to pay for April), so now they send it back to LLNS, and I have to get them to disburse it toward the health care.

Q. How many others have had similar experiences,
or does anyone know how to get this to work?

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