Saturday, December 31, 2016


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why nuclear power may be the only way to avoid geoengineering:

We have a couple of great articles, just posted. The first is an interview with climate scientist Tom Wigley, who believes it's time to consider nuclear energy if we are to avoid geoengineering as a response to climate change. The second is about the Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative, and the call for a new organization to combat attacks to the grid. Best, Janice
A new organization for cybersecurity across the electric grid:

--Janice Sinclaire Internet Outreach Coordinator

PX and Y-12 Voluntary Separation Program Announcement

PX and Y-12 Voluntary Separation Program Announcement

Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:17 PM
Subject: FW: Voluntary Separation Program

General Manager’s Message: Voluntary Separation Program

Today, we were directed by NNSA to conduct a voluntary separation program (VSP) as part of the implementation of Consolidated Nuclear Security’s (CNS) staffing plan for the operation of the combined contract for Y-12 and Pantex. Both Y-12 and Pantex have been directed to conduct a VSP. We don’t have all of the details finalized yet, but I wanted to let you know what information we do have at this time.

This VSP will be targeted to specific job classifications and roles identified by CNS. Only employees in these specific classifications/roles will be eligible to apply for the VSP.

Currently, B&W Y-12 is in the process of putting together a VSP plan that is in alignment with CNS’ staffing desires. We will submit our VSP plan later this week. Once this plan is approved by NNSA, we’ll communicate more details to you; specifically, each person eligible to participate in the VSP will be notified.

It’s our intention to implement the VSP plan as quickly as possible, so that we do all we can to support the orderly transition to CNS. In order to do this, we’ll provide a clear explanation of how the program works, let employees know who is eligible and how they can apply, allow time for people to make their decisions, and finally, announce the results of the VSP program in the upcoming weeks.

Once we get full approval for our VSP plan, I’ll be completely transparent with the information needed. Right now, we simply don’t have much more in the way of specifics to share with you as we are still in the process of receiving input from CNS and drafting our VSP plan. Until we do, I ask for your patience. I realize the uncertainty of a transition may be a stressful period; and the details of a VSP plan are of high interest to many of you. I promise I will give you all the information you need to make decisions as soon as I can.

Will this change things?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz, USAF (Ret), Confirmed as Energy Department Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator for NNSA

US Department of Energy News Release

Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz, USAF (Ret), Confirmed as Energy Department Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator for NNSA

April 8, 2014 - 5:15pm

WASHINGTON – Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz, United States Air Force (Ret), was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, April 08, 2014, as the Department of Energy’s Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

“Lieutenant General Klotz’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “His breadth of military and national security leadership experience makes him uniquely suited to lead the NNSA, fulfilling its commitments to the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, naval reactor programs, and nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness efforts. I thank the Senate for their attention to Lieutenant General Klotz’s nomination, and I look forward to working with him. I also thank Acting Administrator Bruce Held for his outstanding leadership of NNSA as Acting Administrator.”

As Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, Lt. Gen. Klotz is responsible for the management and operation of the NNSA, as well as policy matters across the Department of Energy and NNSA enterprise in support of President Obama’s nuclear security agenda. Acting Administrator Held will return to his position as Associate Deputy Secretary.

Prior to his Senate confirmation, Lt. Gen. Klotz served in a variety of military and national security positions. As the former Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, a position he held from 2009 to 2011, he established and then led a brand new 23,000-person organization that merged responsibility for all U.S. nuclear-capable bombers and land-based missiles under a single chain of command. From 2007 to 2009, Lt. Gen. Klotz was the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director of the Air Staff. He served as the Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command from 2005 to 2007 and was the Commander of the Twentieth Air Force from 2003 to 2005.

Lt. Gen. Klotz served at the White House from 2001 to 2003 as the Director for Nuclear Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council, where he represented the White House in the talks that led to the 2002 Moscow Treaty to reduce strategic nuclear weapons. Earlier in his career, he served as the defense attaché at U.S. Embassy Moscow during a particularly eventful period in U.S.-Russian relations.

A distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Lt. Gen. Klotz attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he earned an MPhil in international relations and a DPhil in politics. He is also a graduate of the National War College in Washington, DC. Most recently, Lt. Gen. Klotz was a senior fellow for strategic studies and arms control at the Council on Foreign Relations.

New strategy: don't hype NIF, hype OMAR!

New strategy: don't hype NIF, hype OMAR!

Morale deflater

Talk about morale deflater. Someone should be fired over this kind of mistake. Inexcusable. 

From: , "Michael G." 
Date: Monday, April 7, 2014 at 3:38 PM
To: tid mailing list
Subject: Salary Cards for TID

Dear Colleagues in TID,

Last week, I learned that we made an inadvertent error when preparing the salary increase cards for TID supervisors to distribute to each of you. Because of this mistake, the information you received from your supervisor may have been incorrect. In some cases, the reported increase was too high; in other cases, it was too low. The salary data in your LAPIS record is correct.

I did not learn about the error until the new salary information became available to employees in LAPIS, and I wanted each of you to hear directly from me about the problem. As I’m sure you can imagine, everyone involved in the salary review process feels awful that the mistake slipped through every stage of review.

Ultimately, I am responsible for ensuring that we get the process right and that the information you receive is accurate. I also want to emphasize that your supervisor passed along the incorrect information in good faith. Please be assured that I am taking steps to prevent such a problem in the future. 

I sincerely apologize for this unfortunate mistake. I appreciate your understanding and your continued good service to the Laboratory and our nation’s security. 

--Mike Payne

Women in America's nuclear history

Lovely Umayam has a terrific essay that asks us to remember and honor the women in America's nuclear history. 
Best regards,

Janice Sinclaire
Internet Outreach Coordinator

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ethics scandal

The official DOE Inspector General report finally came out last week regarding the ethics scandal involving former Los Alamos National Laboratory deputy director Beth Sellers, who resigned March 7.
The Los Alamos Monitor reported last month that Sellers was the subject of a draft IG report that revealed Sellers and husband William failed to notify lab officials of a potential conflict of interest. William Sellers eventually was awarded a sole-source contract and according to the report, he billed the lab for work that was never performed.
In the final report, there is a response from acting NNSA administrator Bruce Held regarding the investigation.
Held listed the corrective actions the lab had made in regard to the situation.
Then he said, “findings identified in this report were considered in developing the
lab’s FY13 Performance Evaluation Report and we are evaluating whether any additional management action may be necessary given the results of the Inspsectors’ review.
“We take seriously our responsibility to ensure our federal and contractor staff adheres to the highest standards for ethical conduct and will ensure that lessons learned from this incident are shared across the nuclear security enterprise.”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Patriot update

IG findings on LANL

Much of the press that has carried this story for the past few days has focused on the challenge of matching up specific weapon serial numbers and the corresponding design drawings. Considering the age of much of the stockpile, and the rate at which it was produced in the Cold War, it is not surprising that the drawings are not all collected in a modern format. 

If you bother to look up the report and read it, it comes out that the IG also found that LANL was adding to the historical challenge by how it handled drawings. 

"We also found that the risk of unauthorized changes to classified nuclear weapons drawings existed because LANL had not limited access to the drawings as required and had circumvented a control over changes to post-release drawings. Department of Energy Order 452.8, Control of Nuclear Weapons Data, prohibits granting need-to-know access to nuclear weapons drawings to entire organizations or functional groups. However, we noted that LANL had given system access to approximately 30 nuclear weapons designers regardless of whether they were assigned to a nuclear weapon project. LANL officials told us that they chose not to limit designer access to nuclear weapons drawings because they believed that their internal processes were more efficient, without raising risk issues."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It is now April 2014 and the TA-55 'it's-not-just-fence' project is close, really close, really really close, to being complete. This project at LANL has taken missing deadlines to a new level, even by NNSA standards.‘it’s-not-just-fence

By The Staff
Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Updated: March 29, 8:00 pm)
It’s really close.
That was the assessment of Los Alamos National Laboratory director Charlie McMillan when he talked about the Nuclear Materials Safeguards and Security Upgrade Project at Technical Area 55.

LANL senior management woes

We found that LANL inappropriately awarded a sole source consultant agreement to an individual who was the spouse of a senior LANL manager. We also discovered that the consultant did not disclose his spousal relationship with the senior LANL manager at the time of award. In addition, the senior manager did not notify LANL ethics officials or her superior of a potential conflict of interest involving her spouse's consulting agreement until 5 months after the consultant agreement was awarded.

New Leadership at Two National Laboratories

U.S. Department of Energy Media Release

A Statement from U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on New Leadership at Two National Laboratories
March 27, 2014

"This week, two of the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories welcomed new directors -- Peter Littlewood to Argonne National Laboratory and Bill Goldstein to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

"As a professor of physics at the University of Chicago and the Associate Laboratory Director, Peter will continue the great work that Eric Isaacs fostered in his tenure as Director. Argonne is known for its transformational work in batteries and energy storage, high-performance computing and synchrotron science. I also thank Eric for his great service over the past five years.

"Bill has a strong commitment to, and understanding of, the critical role Lawrence Livermore plays in national security, not only through the stockpile stewardship program, but through advancing energy and environmental research, homeland security, high-energy density physics, computational science and more. His skills and experience will ensure Lawrence Livermore continues its history of scientific and technological excellence in service to our nation. I am thankful to Bret Knapp for providing strong leadership as acting director during the search and to former director Parney Albright for his many contributions to nuclear security and homeland defense.

"We look forward to seeing the important innovations that both Argonne and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories will put forth in the national interest with this renewal of strong leadership."

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Another article on NNSA

REPORT: "U.S. Nuclear Security Agency Has 'Failed,' Says Advisory Panel"

Relax. Nothing is going to change. 

This is just one report like all the others detailing the failure of the NNSA and the decline of the highly demoralized weapon labs. The path forward will continue as planned. 

The TA-55 plutonium "Work Free Safety Zone" at LANL will continue. No startup anytime soon. LLNL and LANL will face further cuts in their work. The nation will not be building any new warheads and work on the previous warheads will slow down to a crawl. Bechtel profiteers and their enablers in management will continue to have free reign at the weapon labs.

Parney is right with his recent comments. The weapon research staff have become little more than 'Maytag' repairmen, sitting around with little to do. Keep wearing those shoes that GRIP and taking those endless rounds of online training. What else is there left to do? Last one to leave should remember to turn out the lights and lock the front gates.

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