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Monday, November 24, 2014

E-mail trail does not support claims of Lab Director!

E-mail trail does not support claims of Lab Director!

“The Lab was very open with the Department of Energy and the Carlsbad Field Office about hypotheses under evaluation, with daily discussions on all efforts to discover the cause of the breach and to ensure the safety and security of the remaining drums,” McMillan wrote in the memo to lab workers Monday.

But emails that were the basis for the news report contradict McMillan’s memo. Those messages, colored at times by outrage from WIPP officials about what they weren’t told by LANL, show that despite daily briefings between WIPP and Los Alamos personnel about the ongoing investigations into the leak, a week passed before WIPP officials learned of Clemmons’ findings about the potentially explosive mixture in the waste.

Officials at WIPP became aware of Clemmons’ memo only after a Department of Energy employee at LANL leaked it to a colleague in Carlsbad, who then shared it with them. The discovery prompted decision-makers at WIPP to postpone a scheduled expedition by employees to collect specimens for scientific testing in the area where the drum burst.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lanl-chief-denies-lab-hid-facts-from-wipp/article_8e167469-861b-52b1-be8b-3a64d75c7aff.html

DOE Launches Enforcement Investigation into Los Alamos TRU Waste Program

Weapons Complex Monitor
November 20, 2014

DOE Launches Enforcement Investigation into Los Alamos TRU Waste Program

The Department of Energy’s Office of Enterprise Assessment is conducting an investigation into remediation of transuranic waste drums at Los Alamos National Laboratory that have been linked to the release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The Office of Enforcement’s investigation will center on “the facts and circumstances associated with the remediation of selected transuranic waste drums at Los Alamos National Laboratory and its potential relationship to the radiological release event” at WIPP, according to a Nov. 14 notice to LANL from Office of Enforcement Director Steven Simonson. Separately, the New Mexico Environment Department is expected to also soon take enforcement action against Los Alamos for violations related to transuranic waste processing.

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/11/f19/LANS Notice of Investigation (11-14-14).pdf

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Rumors" -Timex Social Club



It's quite unfortunate when an eighties high school pop song can describe a premier weapons lab.

"Rumors" -Timex Social Club

How do rumors get started
They're started by the jealous people
And they get mad seeing something
They had and somebody else is holding

They tell me that temptation is very hard to resist
But these wicked women, ooh, they just persist
Maybe you think it's cute, but girl
I'm not impressed, I'll tell you one time only
With my business please, don't mess

When you look at all these rumors surrounding
Me every day I just need some time, some time
To get away from from all these rumors
I can't take it no more, my best friend said
There's one out now about me and the girl next door

Did you hear the one about Tina
Some say she's much too loose
That came straight from a guy who claims
He's tasted her juice, did you hear the one about Michael?
Some say he must be gay I tried to argue

But they said if he was straight
He wouldn't move that way
Did you hear that one about Susan?
Some say she's just a tease in a camisole
She's six feet tall, she'll knock you to your knees

When you look at all these rumors surrounding
Me every day I just need some time, some time
To get away from from all these rumors
I can't take it no more, my best friend said
There's one out now about me and the girl next door

I can't go no place without somebody
Pointing a finger I can't show my face
รข€~Cause when it comes to rumors I'm a dead ringer
It seems from rumors I just can't get away

I'll bet there'll even be rumors floating around on
Judgment Day I'll think I'll write my congressman
And tell him to pass a bill, so the next time they catch
Somebody starting rumors, shoot to kill

When you look at all these rumors surrounding
Me every day I just need some time, some time
To get away from from all these rumors
I can't take it no more, my best friend said
There's one out now about me and the girl next door

What's mine is mine, I ain't got time for rumors
In my life I'm a man who thinks, not a man who drinks
So please let me live my life, what's mine is mine
I ain't got time for rumors in my life

Look at all these rumors
I'm a man who thinks, not a man who drinks
So please let me live my life what's mine is mine
I ain't got time for rumors in my life

Look at all these rumors
I'm a man who thinks, not a man who drinks
So please let me live my life

When you look at all these rumors surrounding
Me every day I just need some time, some time
To get away from from all these rumors
I can't take it no more, my best friend said
There's one out now about me and the girl next door

When you look at all these rumors surrounding
Me every day I just need some time, some time
To get away from from all these rumors
I can't take it no more, my best friend said
There's one out now about me and the girl next door

Stop, stop spreading those rumors around
Stop, stop spreading the lies
Stop, stop spreading those rumors around
Stop, stop spreading the lies

Stop, stop spreading those rumors around
Stop, stop spreading the lies
Stop, stop spreading those rumors around
Stop, stop spreading the lies

Stop, stop spreading those rumors
Around stop, stop spreading the lies

Mines president named in Sandia scandal by Inspector General

Mines president named in Sandia scandal by Inspector General:

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/mines-president-named-in-doe-inspector-general-s-probe/article_b984ab84-d593-5578-8007-e70e7c9e986f.html

Carl Beard is leaving LANL

 Carl Beard is leaving LANL per LANL-wide email today and I also hear LANS is all done in 2018 running LANLWord is LANS lost its contract extension or something like that for two years in a row so that apparently means they are all done when their current term expires at the end of FY17. This is also the reason Carl Beard had to go.

A message from LLNL Director Bill Goldstein

A message from LLNL Director Bill Goldstein
11/19/2014

It is with great sadness that I announce the loss of our friend and colleague, Bret Knapp. Bret was an inspiration to many of us and his contributions were extraordinary. He made a significant impact during his short tenure as the acting LLNL director and LLNS president and during his earlier 26-year LLNL career. During his treatment for cancer, he remained optimistic about the future and continued working for the benefit of both LLNL and LANL. Bret was deeply committed to the national security of the nation and is admired by all who knew him. He will be sorely missed. Please keep his family in your thoughts.

Los Alamos Director Charles McMillan sent the following message to LANL employees this morning:

It is with deep grief that I inform the Laboratory family of the passing of Bret Knapp. Bret was a leader in national nuclear security and his unparalleled expertise in the weapons program was invaluable in shaping the contributions of both Los Alamos and Livermore to this critical mission.

Bret served in a series of weapons engineering roles at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 26 years before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2006 as associate director for Weapons Engineering. He had a far reaching impact not only in the stockpile stewardship program, but in cost efficiencies, programmatic excellence, selection of leaders and open and honest communication that fostered collaboration across the laboratories. His leadership was recognized as he earned progressively more challenging roles in the weapons complex, first as the principal associate director of Weapons Programs at Los Alamos, then as the acting director at Livermore in 2013. Shortly thereafter in the Spring of 2014, he announced the illness to which he succumbed this week.

Bret was my close colleague and friend for more than 30 years and leaves an honored legacy of service to the nation. His loss is overwhelming. We will miss him. As our Laboratory family grieves, our thoughts are also with his family.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Brett Knapp passed away

I was just told that Bret Knapp passed away yesterday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Plagiarism reported to the Royal Society of Chemistry.

I heard that the same Sandia Livermore authors accused of plagiarism in the Journal of Physical Chemistry have now been reported to the Royal Society of Chemistry.

http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2014/09/plagiarism-by-sandia.html

Now both the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry have been warned of this ethical behavior. Investigations are underway.

Dismissal case update

My September 2013 dismissal from LLNS Update

In the attempt to resolve concerns with LLNS while employed at LLNS, I requested meetings with the Director long before and after the 2013 DRB decision to dismiss me. The Director declined my offers.

LLNS contested my CA unemployment benefit based on “poor employee conduct”. Therefore my CA unemployment benefit was initially denied. I appealed the decision. Representing myself, I appeared before the CA unemployment benefit appeals Judge. Representing the LLNS side were my 2 former engineering division level managers and their Staff Relations attorney. LLNS management and I provided the Judge with supporting documentation and under oath and audio recorded testimony which I have a copy of. 

On 1-30-14 the unemployment benefit appeals Judge reversed the earlier decision and stated:

“…The employer has not sustained its burden to show that the claimant’s conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances and therefore has not shown misconduct. Accordingly, the employer discharged the claimant for reasons other than misconduct and the claimant is not disqualified for benefits under code section 1256…”

I filed a DOE 708 complaint against LLNS in January 2014. In response to my complaint, LLNS sent a letter and their support documentation to DOE/NNSA and requested its dismissal in February of 2014. Receiving documentation from both parties, DOE/NNSA accepted my 708 complaint in March 2014. I selected the "investigation followed by a hearing" option. 

After DOE/NNSA accepted my 708 case in March of 2014, I twice offered the Director of LLNS a DOE/NNSA encouraged “informal resolution” to be completely reinstated at LLNS. The informal resolution would have ended the formal DOE OHA investigation followed by a hearing, but my offer was refused in both instances.

My DOE case was dismissed in September of 2014 without a hearing. I appealed the decision to the DOE OHA Director in October of 2014. I may receive a response to my appeal in 30-60 days. 

I believe my case has strong past and present similarities to other DOE "whistleblower" cases. As such, I have asked Tim Murphy, Congressman (PA), Chairman of Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to determine if material corrections, in his view, have occurred with DOE and the NNSA in response to the Subcommittee’s year 2000 concerns regarding the purported “whistleblower” worker protection/non-retaliation program at DOE facilities Additionally, I have asked the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to review the present DOE “Whistleblower” retaliation policy, and if needed, request prompt and measurable actions from DOE/NNSA to address new or chronic problems or material weaknesses identified. 

I wrote to Norman J. Pattiz, Chair of the Committee on Oversight of the DOE Energy Labs, and to Janet Napolitano, University of California President, requesting they investigate, review, and revise the LLNS Dismissal Review Board (DRB) policy and practices at LLNS under the authority defined in University of California “Bylaw 12.6 a-d Committee on Oversight of the Department of Energy Laboratories”. 

On 11-12-14, I was informed by the UC Regents General Counsel that Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein was asked to review and respond to the questions raised in my 11-3-14 memorandum to the UC Regents. 

Applicable to both DOE and LLNS policies and practices, there is a distinction between the merits of a process and the merits of an outcome built on that process. I have requested process review and provided detailed justification to do so.

LANL officials downplayed waste’s dangers

LANL officials downplayed waste’s dangers even after leak

Not a pretty story here.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lanl-officials-downplayed-waste-s-dangers-even-after-wipp-leak/article_54d7f3d2-8c99-5793-8c17-c4bdb0b72ef1.html

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another nuclear success story:

Another nuclear success story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/14/us/politics/pentagon-studies-reveal-major-nuclear-problems.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

No bid contract worth 2.4B

Here an article about this form the Washington post. The contractor casino in full swing.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/11/12/report-energy-contractor-and-former-lawmaker-lobbied-officials-for-no-bid-contract-worth-2-4-billion-per-year/?tid=hpModule_308f7142-9199-11e2-bdea-e32ad90da239&hpid=z15

SNL got caught by IG

Ruh roh, looks like SNL got caught by IG



Our inspection substantiated the allegation. We found that SNL used Federal contract funds to engage in activities that were intended to influence the extension of Sandia Corporation's contract with the Department—a contract then valued at about $2.4 billion per year. In particular, SNL developed and executed a plan that involved meeting with and attempting to influence Federal and Congressional officials to provide assistance in obtaining a noncompetitive extension of its contract with the Department. We determined that these activities appeared to

have violated United States Code (U.S.C.) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provisions prohibiting the use of Federal funds to influence members of Congress or Federal officials with regard to an extension of a contract. We also concluded that such activities were impermissible under a provision of the Sandia Corporation M&O contract, which prohibits the contractor from making interface with any Federal, state, municipal or local legislators, or legislative personnel for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business for Sandia Corporation.

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/11/f19/IG-0927.pdf

LANL chief's compensation tops $1.5M

LANL chief's compensation tops $1.5M
No similar information was available for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. A spokesman said pay for officials at Sandia, also run by a ...
 

LANL chief’s compensation tops $1.5M

By 
PUBLISHED: Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 12:05 am
SANTA FE – The annual compensation for Los Alamos National Laboratory director Charles McMillan has topped $1.5 million, federal records show.
That’s up from the $800,348 director’s compensation that the same records showed for 2009 and is nearly three times the LANL chief’s compensation in 2006, the last year the lab was still run by the University of California.
McMILLAN: Los Alamos National Lab director
McMILLAN: Los Alamos National Lab director
The lab has since been run by a private consortium, Los Alamos National Security LLC, that includes the university, the Bechtel corporation and other partners.
Although LANS is a private enterprise, its compensation figures for top lab officials have been made public in the past few years as part of disclosure forms required for recipients of federal stimulus money distributed in the wake of the 2008 economic crash.
What appear to be two of the most recent disclosure forms, 2013 reports on funds awarded in 2009 and 2010, show McMillan’s annual compensation at $1,538,256. The second highest amount was $567,949, for the chief financial officer at the time covered by one of the disclosure forms.
LANL provided this brief statement about McMillan’s compensation: “The amount reported reflects total compensation that includes salary and the change in current value of pension benefits. Not all of the compensation comes directly from taxpayer money, a significant portion comes from the private corporation that manages the Laboratory. Note that the change in pension value is not a salary wage, but a change in the current value of future pension benefits.”
The last time the Journal reported on McMillan’s compensation, also from the stimulus award forms, was in 2012, when the amount was about $1.1 million.
No similar information was available for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. A spokesman said pay for officials at Sandia, also run by a private contractor, was proprietary.
In 2012, Sandia provided a statement to the Journal that president Paul Hommert’s total compensation was $1.3 million. That was down from what stimulus disclosure forms showed was $1.7 million for former Sandia president Tom Hunter, whom Hommert replaced in 2010.
Los Alamos lab watchdog Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, in an email calling attention to McMillan’s compensation, referred to the performance-based fee adjustments that LANS receives based on evaluating how it met standards set by the federal government.
“So the performance-based bonus system is working just fine, right?” Mello wrote. “It really helped with LANL’s performance vis-a-vis WIPP, didn’t it?”
The lab has come under fire after a radioactive waste drum packaged at Los Alamos popped open and contaminated the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, the nation’s underground nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad, earlier this year.
WIPP has been closed since. The cause of the chemical reaction that caused the breach in the LANL waste drum is still under investigation.

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