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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sandia scientist and lawsuit:

Sandia scientist and lawsuit:

http://scienceblog.com/74074/former-sandia-scientist-pleads-guilty-taking-government-property-china/#fFdBB0kcTSVsrRkp.97

A new LLNL contractor?

A new LLNL contractor?

What is the value added of bringing in a new contractor to manage LLNL by ending the LLNS contract ASAP? Without exclusive UC management of LLNL, would we be better or worse off with another LLC? Be specific please.
August 26, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Don't you get it yet? It ain't gonna happen. Ever. Go back to sleep!
August 26, 2014 at 8:02 PM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
So you believe DOE will continue the pay more get less for profit contractor model?
August 26, 2014 at 8:26 PM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
"So you believe DOE will continue the pay more get less for profit contractor model?

August 26, 2014 at 8:26 PM"

Yes, as long as the for profit companies make sure certain ex-DOE employees get get lucrative jobs in the end. Will congress see this as a problem? No because they too want to get on on the big money by working for corporations. Everyone is seeing the end name and wants to make as much as they can before the whole thing goes down. They know this system cannot and will not last and they are hoping to be the last ones before the end.

Monday, August 25, 2014

More cyber intrusions

More cyber intrusions at the "for-profit" federal organization tasks with doing clearances! The latest one targeted employees of DHS. What a mess:


Official says hackers hit up to 25,000 fed workers

Aug 22, 7:16 PM (ET) By STEPHEN BRAUN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The internal records of as many as 25,000 Homeland Security Department employees were exposed during a recent computer break-in at a federal contractor that handles security clearances, an agency official said Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of an incident that is under active federal criminal investigation, said the number of victims could be greater. The department was informing employees whose files were exposed in the hacking against contractor USIS and warning them to monitor their financial accounts.

Earlier this month, USIS acknowledged the break-in, saying its internal cybersecurity team had detected what appeared to be an intrusion with "all the markings of a state-sponsored attack." Neither USIS nor government officials have speculated on the identity of the foreign government. A USIS spokeswoman reached Friday declined to comment on the DHS notifications.

apnews.myway.com/article/20140822/ us--security_clearances-hacking -3bd5aa797f.html

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fired Los Alamos nuclear expert files appeal

Fired Los Alamos nuclear expert files appeal
Center for Public Integrity - August 22nd

A former Los Alamos nuclear policy expert has filed an appeal in a whistleblower case to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, arguing that the Energy Department had abused its power to label documents secret and retaliated against him for expressing his views.

James E. Doyle was fired July 8 after spending 18 months trying to force Los Alamos officials to reverse their ruling that an article he published in a foreign journal, which questioned the rationale for nuclear deterrence, had disclosed state secrets. The Center for Public Integrity first reported on Doyle's case last month...

news.yahoo.com/ fired-los-alamos-nuclear-expert-090000252.html

Energy secretary finally states the obvious at WIPP



Albuquerque Journal - Editorial
August 19, 2014

After months of the congressional delegation and the Gov. Susana Martinez administration asking, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz made time last week to visit the nation’s only underground nuclear waste disposal facility – still closed after two serious safety breaches in February. It may be several years before it reopens.

At a town hall in Carlsbad, Moniz attempted to reassure Waste Isolation Pilot Plant workers and members of the community of how important the facility really is to the U.S. government. Well, the people of southeastern New Mexico knew that, but the U.S. Department of Energy hasn’t been acting like it is convinced or it would have made sure:

* That the 29-year-old salt mining truck that caught fire on Feb. 5 in the 2,150-foot-deep mine had been properly maintained and had a working fire suppression system.

* That its Carlsbad Field Office had corrected long-running problems related to nuclear safety, maintenance and emergency management.

* That it had provided better oversight of the field office and the WIPP contractor.

In other words, that it had paid better attention.

The cherry on top of this sundae of neglect was that the DOE gave the WIPP contractor a nearly $2 million bonus for exemplary performance just five days after the truck fire and just four days before the radiation leak, even though investigations into the incidents show deficiencies that go back years.

The safety breaches represent unprecedented warning signs. When it comes to the federal government, just what does it take not to get a bonus?

All along, DOE officials blindly held that a radiation leak couldn’t happen, putting the odds of such an accident at one chance in 10,000 to one in 1 million during any given year of WIPP operations.

Now nearly six months after the Feb. 15 radiation leak, Moniz tells New Mexico, “This is really an absolutely core facility for the country,” getting it back online is “a very high priority” and “safety has to be the driver” of that recovery.

Indeed. Secretary Moniz should make sure that happens – and that oversight is given a higher priority.

Experiences with LLNS Staff Relations?

Experiences with LLNS Staff Relations?

How would you rate the new Staff Relations Division Leader and how does she compare to Bob (retired) in terms of objectivity, patience, or work style? Be constructive please.

August 20, 2014 at 8:11 AM


comments:
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm not being rude....I didn't know we had a new SRDL.
August 21, 2014 at 1:16 PM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bob retired from Staff Relations nearly a year ago.
August 21, 2014 at 5:11 PM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bob Perks was a lamb compare to Jennifer S. This woman lies to her teeth. She hides her claws and fangs very well, until you have a complaint against the lab. I had personal experience with her. She only works for the lab. Fortunately I was well represented by the SPSE and won the case. This shows that the LLNL nowadays only can afford to have a lawyer without integrity to deal with its employees.
August 21, 2014 at 6:24 PM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I didn't agree with Bob on most matters involving LLNS policy and employment practices but he was approachable, polite, and professional.
August 21, 2014 at 8:24 PM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
You're not being rude for not knowing there was a "new" Staff Relations Division Leader. It's because the position was never posted!! It was just given to Szutu. Of course, that's o.k. if you are a lawyer, because Lawyers don't have to follow the rules. Where was HR and why do they condone and allow this type of activity?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From fission to fusion

Yale's Jason Parisi thinks fusion power may provide the answer for clean, safe energy.
Best,
Janice


-- 
Janice Sinclaire
Internet Outreach Coordinator

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL  60637
U.S.A.


LLNL Pastor

The following story was posted on LLNL's daily NewsLine site. It's stirring up quite a bit of controversy (more comments than I've  seen in over a decade at LLNL). So far there's been zero feedback from Lab management. I'm wondering what the outside community might think about this posting.


Up to 200 inmates gather on Sundays to attend church services at a medium-security state prison located in the picturesque foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. One of their preachers at the Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) near Jamestown is not your typical prison pastor.

His name is Owen Alford and he happens to work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Alford, a senior engineering associate in the National Security Engineering Division, is passionate about two things: engineering and his Christian faith. So when he had the opportunity 15 years ago to share his faith with prisoners he believed could benefit from it, he embraced the challenge.

"Engineering types typically look for and enjoy solving the most difficult problems," said Alford, 59, a Lab veteran whose career began in 1980. "Ministering in prison is a difficult problem. Helping men come to faith and enabling them to reenter society better equipped to meet their personal challenges are all worthwhile and rewarding endeavors."

His journey to become a volunteer prison pastor began when a Florida church that received letters from SCC inmates seeking volunteer pastors to lead services and teach Sunday school contacted Alford's church in Pleasanton, the Christ Bible Church. Churches in the SCC region decided not to participate in the program, so they contacted the Florida church, which offered online Bible study courses, as a last resort.

The Florida church's pastor knew Alford's pastor, so the opportunity blossomed. Christ Bible Church - a congregation of 75 members -- had never done anything like that before, but Alford and his pastor knew it was important to help the inmates.

Alford and his pastor - who now preaches at San Quentin State Prison - became volunteer ministers who assisted the prison chaplain with services and Sunday school. In the beginning, Alford would go to SCC twice a month, driving an hour from his home in Tracy to the prison, which sits in a bucolic region between Oakdale and Yosemite National Park. He now goes once a month.

Whatismyrealname said:

His prison congregation and Sunday school students -- dressed in their inmate jumpsuits -- have included murderers, rapists, robbers, thieves, drug dealers and other offenders. The high-risk offenders, such as the murderers and rapists, have since been transferred to other prisons.

Some inmates were professing Christians before their incarceration, while other convicts became Christians while serving time. A majority are genuinely interested in Sunday services. But a handful also attends church to earn points for good behavior in an effort to receive special privileges.

Since these men worship in a state penitentiary, up to 10 armed guards are close by and ready to enter the prison chapel's doors if there's a problem that causes a preacher to push the alarm. Fortunately for Alford, there have never been any major behavioral issues. 

Tall and fit, the bearded Alford commands attention when he steps on the pulpit in the stained glass chapel to begin his 45-minute sermons after an inmate band plays Christian songs.

"Inmates can ethically and morally live in this world, despite being where they are at," Alford said. "If someone has committed a serious crime, they can still find forgiveness through their faith."

Asked if he has contributed to changing the inmates' lives, Alford said yes, but added that the biggest change occurs when the inmates embrace and practice the teachings of their religion themselves. He believes his biggest contribution is to help inmates develop their faith.

"They want to become better people through their faith," Alford said. "And it's changing their hearts."

The feedback he receives is always positive and the inmates are thankful. Prison staff is appreciative too - so much so that they eventually gave Alford a primetime spot for his Sunday services: 10 a.m.

At the end of the day, Alford doesn't mind spending his Sundays in prison.

"I appreciate the opportunity to share my faith with an audience I wouldn't have guessed in my wildest dreams I would be sharing with," he said. "When they leave prison, the inmates want to be the typical American who is not trouble with the law. They also want to get jobs and reconcile with their families."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

New director at SLAC

I am hearing rumors that Mike Dunne (former head of Laser Fusion Energy in NIF and leading the LIFE program) has been selected to be the new director of LCLS at SLAC. Does anyone know more?

HEAF corrective actions

Has HEAF completed their pledged "corrective actions" to all concerns identified in the September 2013 DOE IG report?

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/10/f3/INS-O-13-06.pdf
Anonymous said...
Why do you care? Are you going to get brownie points for telling if they didn't?
Anonymous said...
The "why do you care" topic gatekeeper is making the rounds to earn corporate loyalty brownie points and thats OK. What ever floats their boat.
Anonymous said...
"...Why do you care?..."

According to the DOE IG Report on HEAF, LLNS Management "generally agreed with the report's findings and recommendations". Therefore it is reasonable for an employee of LLNS, a taxpayer, or just a lab neighbor to inquire about LLNS corrective measures. None of whom by the way, require your approval to care. I'm sorry this doesn't meet your expectations. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

rent at LANL is too damn high

Yes, indeed, "The rent at LANL is too damn high"! 

This even applies to bio-defense work. LANL has managed to price itself out of most research markets and even the DOE admits this fact. 

So much for the expected cost savings at the lab through privatization of the lab's management. The for-profit management system has only made out of control costs and bloat grow much worse:


* Feds blast plans for bio-defense labs at LANL *

Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug 11th

.... “Despite LANL’s assertions, we found outside demand for a new ... facility to be less certain,” auditors reported. The audit noted that LANL’s reports ignored the prevalence of bio-security services throughout the country, and officials with federal agencies that LANL plans to rely on for business at the expanded labs told auditors they would be unlikely to use it because less expensive, equally secure options already exist.

“In our judgment, NNSA needs to fully reassess its need for biological research facilities,” auditors reported.

.... Auditors also questioned cost estimates LANL provided for the proposed expansion.

“LANL’s current cost allocation practices may have understated the costs of biological research personnel,” running afoul of the Energy Department’s cost ­recovery policies by applying funds allocated for specific projects to work for other government agencies.

Not so fast!

DOE IG says not so fast to LANL on new bio safety lab



http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/08/f18/DOE-IG-0917%20%28Biosafety%29.pdf

Employer contributions to TCP-1.

Employer contributions to TCP-1.

The following appeared in Newsline today. Are the facts correct? I thought LLNS committed to make the contributions, but never actually made a portion of them.

"Because of this reality, LLNS requested and obtained permission from DOE/NNSA to make a series of employer contributions to the plan beginning in 2012. These contributions, though not legally required by ERISA at the time, were made to ensure the long-term health of the plan and avoid otherwise mandatory (and potentially much larger) contributions in the future, at a time when many more active employees transition to retirement. The Laboratory made a $20 million contribution in 2012, a $40 million contribution in FY13 and received permission from DOE/NNSA to make a $20 million contribution this fiscal year. LLNS will continue to request permission from DOE/NNSA for additional employer contributions as prudent over the coming years. The size and timing of the employer contributions are determined in consultation with Laboratory senior management, the plan actuaries and DOE/NNSA, based on projections of the future funded status of the plan, congressional direction, interest rates, the performance and risks of the investment markets and impacts to the Laboratory's annual operating budget with implications for programs, level of staffing and infrastructure."

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