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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 author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email


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Monday, March 30, 2009

Face the truth

Anonymous said: It is over! people!

Face the truth

World's largest laser now ready for use


WASHINGTON (AP) — After more than a decade of work and $3.5 billion, engineers have completed the world's most powerful laser, capable of simulating the energy force of a hydrogen bomb and the sun itself.

The Energy Department will announce Tuesday that it has officially certified the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, clearing the way for a series of experiments over the next year. Scientists hope the experiments eventually will mimic the heat and pressure found at the center of the sun.

The facility, the size of a football field, consists of 192 separate laser beams, each traveling 1,000 feet in a one-thousandth of a second to converge simultaneously on a target the size of a pencil eraser.

While the NIF laser is expected to be used for a wide range of high-energy and high-density physics experiments, its primary purpose is to help government physicists ensure the reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons as they become older.

The laser "will be a cornerstone" of the weapons stewardship program "ensuring the continuing reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile without underground nuclear testing," Thomas D'Agostino, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in an interview Monday.

The NNSA, a semi-independent arm of the Energy Department, oversees nuclear weapons programs.

The NIF laser was first proposed in the early 1990s, when the project's cost was put at $700 million. Construction began in 1997. Its early years were marked by setbacks including trouble — eventually overcome — in keeping its critical optics perfectly clean.

NIF now is expected to ramp up power gradually in a series of experiments over the next year, culminating at a power level in 2010 to achieve what scientists call "fusion ignition" — enough heat and pressure to fuse hydrogen atoms in a tiny cylindrical "target" so that more energy is released than is generated by the laser beams themselves.

That is what happens when a hydrogen bomb explodes and what takes place at the center of the sun. It's also what scientists would one day like to achieve on a continuing basis to produce a clean, safe form of energy by fusing atoms instead of splitting them.

Edward Moses, director of the NIF project who has led its development since 1999, said he's ever more confident that NIF will be able to achieve fusion ignition.

"It's now operational," said Moses in a telephone interview. "The lasers are there. The targets are there and we've proven the optics. But now the proof is in the shooting. We've got to put all this together and shoot the targets. It's the first time anyone has ever done experiments at this scale."

NIF's 192 laser beams produce 60 to 70 times more energy than a 60-beam system at the University of Rochester, which is the second most powerful laser, said Moses.

In addition to helping diagnose the functioning of nuclear warheads, the NIF laser is expected to be use in astrophysics, allowing scientists to mimic conditions inside planets and new solar systems.

Moses said he sees NIF as key in the move toward developing a fusion energy source.

"What we want to show is scientific proof of the principle of fusion energy," said Moses, predicting some experiments for a short time may produce 50 to 100 times more energy than the lasers themselves generate.
On the Net:

* NIF Project at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Project NIF

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Since the LLNS take over of LLNL, what has been the best news and the worst news that you've heard about the Lab.


GM, When will bloated management be reduced?

We have an enormous management burden at the lab. 2600 or so non-management employees and contractors were laid off, but the numbers show very few managers were laid off. The management size relative to workers has increased dramatically. The costs and budget shortfalls at this point are NOT a function of us bringing in less money. We can solve the shortfalls, even probably have a surplus, by eliminating this huge costly management burden. Given the size of the RIF, management should have been reduced about 40-50%. Instead, we have a relative 40% increase. The budget gimmicks of shifting costs around avoid this fundamental problem. We are all sinking because of the apparent willingness to fire the people who work on projects, but managers are protected no matter the cost. Well, those costs are now here to roost. One manager laid off, given their gross overpayment, saves 2-3 people working on projects. If managers are pushed out of management into the working ranks, their pay must be reduced accordingly. I am hearing of some managers being pushed into non-management positions but they are keeping their high pay. Worse, the efforts to recruit key people to work on technical projects is not working. People inside and out of the lab can see these problems, yet our management is either clueless, or ineffective in dealing with these problems. Myself and others working on projects are looking to leave the lab (as many others have done) because it has become clear that the management is most concerned with protecting management, protecting their pay, their positions, even if it means firing and humiliating scores of people working on projects. Why are you not generating the overhead to pay the management? Duh, lay off the people that do the work and produce the overhead, while expanding the size of management. The people working on projects almost universally have noted you will not get rid of managers, even if incompetent. Hopefully you won't sink the entire lab just so that you can pad your pockets for a little while longer. And please, don't lay off a competent person working on a project so you can replace them with an incompetent, technically inferior manager, just so you can preserve one of your own. It is time to cut these folks.

March 28, 2009 2:18 PM

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tauscher Signals Leftward Shift on Arms Control

Anonymously contributed:

(Moved here from the NIF topic):

What do people think about the news that Congresswoman Tauscher is heading to the State Department?

Tauscher Signals Leftward Shift on Arms Control

Nuclear Security Official Hints at Leaner, Less Costly Weapons Complex

Nuclear Security Official Hints at Leaner, Less Costly Weapons Complex
By Walter Pincus
Tuesday, March 24, 2009; A11

The best status report on the U.S. nuclear weapons program and its future was delivered last Tuesday at a session of the House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development, where the head of the program declared, "We must stop pouring money into an old, Cold War complex that is too big and too expensive."
The speaker was Thomas P. D'Agostino, who heads the National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the nuclear weapons complex and is a carryover from the Bush administration. As he had done before, D'Agostino pressed Congress to fund "urgent" change, while acknowledging that President Obama will favor a reduction in the nuclear weapons stockpile.
For example, he noted that over the past two years, the projection of the number of new plutonium triggers that will be needed to keep the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile reliable and secure has steadily dropped from 450 a year to 20.

The Rest of the Story

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NIF Rumors

Anonymous said...

How come no one is talking about Ed Moses getting kicked out of Forrestal recently?

March 20, 2009 7:17 PM

Blogger Neko said...

Do you have any proof?

March 20, 2009 8:23 PM

Anonymous said...

What would constitute proof?

Start asking around; you should be able to collect enough to substantiate the allegation.

Perhaps Ed was foaming at the mouth when he understood the NIF (and TSF) hits coming in 2010.

March 21, 2009 4:20 PM

Anonymous said...

What is Forrestal?

March 21, 2009 6:23 PM

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ed was foaming at the mouth when he understood the NIF (and TSF) hits coming in 2010.

I hope this doesn't mean he'll have less money to run the place then he does now because I'll tell you they have not allocated enough to even do required maintenance no longer if they have a mishap or have to replace vital parts. I'll bet they are under funded by at least a factor of four or more.

March 21, 2009 8:09 PM

Friday, March 20, 2009

Old nova target bay area is being retro-fitted for a accelerator?

10 BEAM said...

I was visiting a buddy of mine in 391 today and he told me that the old nova target bay area is being retro-fitted for a accelerator I thought he was kidding but I witness the engineer's discussing how to remove the space frame that held the target chamber. I hope the boys from RECHTEL do not screw this up

March 19, 2009 7:52 PM

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Star Wars becomes Bug Zapper.

Remember Lowell Wood? Looks like he's still coming up with "unique" ideas. Now he's decided to fight malaria by aiming lasers at mosquitoes.

Here is story in the Wall Street Journal...

Rocket Scientists Shoot Down Mosquitoes With Lasers

March 17, 2009 5:31 AM

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hearing on Nuclear Weapons Complex

The week of March 16th:

In the calendar of the Friends Committee on National Legislation
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, hearing on the Nuclear Weapons Complex, with National Nuclear Security Administrator Thomas D'Agostino, David Overskei, Nuclear Weapons Complex Infrastructure Task Force, Philip Coyle, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Everet Beckner, National Nuclear Security Administration (possible).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who is next?

As LLNS is approaching its two year point, which senior manager will be next to announce he/she is deserting this sinking ship?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Has the last big layoff made the Lab better and your job easier?

Results from last Months Poll:

115 people voted and 109 of them do not think their job has gotten easier. Of the 6 people who voted that their job was made easier because of the layoffs, I wonder how many are ULM?

What Happened at JASPER??

Anyone know what happened at JASPER?

World's largest laser gears up for ignition experiments

LIVERMORE, Calif. - Construction of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world's largest and highest-energy laser system, was essentially completed on Feb. 26, when technicians at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where the laser is located, fired the first full system shot to the center of the NIF target chamber.

"IF" - The Rest of the Story

Nuclear-Warhead Upgrade Delayed

Nuclear-Warhead Upgrade Delayed; Government Labs Forgot How to Make Parts

Nuclear Warhead Article

March 9, 2009 3:05 PM

As predicted, the true cost of layoffs becoming apparent

Anonymous said...

As predicted, the true cost of layoffs becoming apparent.

GAO report on problems remanufacturing warheads

Apparently this story has been covered by local papers around Oak Ridge for some time. Has now hit the national and international news.

Nickel summary - we've lost the ability to make components for Trident warheads due to loss of documentation and people leaving the complex. And the computer models were worthless when faced with trying new alternate materials on the old design.

GAO Report

March 9, 2009 3:04 PM

Cherry A. Murray named dean at Harvard University

E-LINE: Cherry A. Murray named dean at Harvard University

The Harvard Corporation has announced that it has selected Cherry A. Murray, principal associate director for Science and Technology, to be dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, George Miller announced this morning in an administrative memo. Murray also will become the John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The appointment is effective July 1.

Murray has had oversight of the Laboratory's scientific and technical programs and the quality of science and technology Laboratory-wide since she joined the Lab in 2004. She served as the deputy director for Science and Technology from 2004 to 2007 and then was named as key personnel for the contract proposal, becoming the principal associate director for Science and Technology under the LLNS management in 2007.

Murray has been a dedicated proponent and architect of the Laboratory's strategic science and technology vision, and has successfully championed strong partnerships with government, academia and private industry, Miller said.

"She is an internationally recognized premier scientist and she has made substantial contributions to the Laboratory. She has been a critical force in focusing the Laboratory's science and technology capabilities on the major challenges facing our country in national security, energy and environmental and economic sustainment," Miller added. "I know Cherry will be a tremendous asset to Harvard University. She will be greatly missed here at the Laboratory."

The position of principal associate director for Science and Technology will be posted and a Screening Committee will be appointed.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

So whom is coming to first NIF this weekend?

Anonymous said...

OT crafts jobs were canceled and made to pick up all the wood & tools ! Anyone care to Guess?

March 6, 2009 6:37 PM

Did you know EM's new landscaping project by the central cafe is supposed to be a green project!

Anonymous said...

Yup, enough rain water is to be captured off the roof of the central cafe to water all those lush plants EM loves to look at. Buuuut, just in case it isnt enough they are tapping into our water supply from Hetch Heychy to keep the tanks full to make it look good!!

March 6, 2009 6:49 PM

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fond memories at LLNL

Anonymously contributed:

Pining for the good old days?

Let's remember some golden moments.

Alchohol onsite. Old Rad Lab punch made from reagent-grade ethanol. Popular until someone barfed in the stairwell in B-111.

A Lab Director trying to hop the fence and getting caught.

The Star supercomputer.

One of the lead scientists in MFE who was a notorious womaniser and loved to flim-flam Congress with outrageous promises about progress on fusion.

Using bolts and a steel girdle to "repair" quake-damaged buildings. Ones with asbestos in them.

Not knowing how to operate high-power switches properly ends up launching one of the main lab transformers into low orbit.

Forged x-ray laser data.

Associate Directors openly defying the Director's new IT policies.

Having machinists manufacture awards for Directorates.

An employee getting approval for more disk drives to soup up his onsite porn server.

Credit card abuse.

Another Director whose testimony in congress indicated he knew nothing about existing computer security practices at his own lab.

The new "fairer" job-ranking system.

Off-site "planning sessions" at luxery resorts.

A steel trampoline for car-bombs along East Avenue. Two flatbed trucks blow through Echo-1 gate and get 3/4 of the way down the road before being stopped.

High-power weapons are too dangerous to the local populace. So LLNL buys 6 miniguns that will cut a car in half and run for maybe 30 secs at best.

Anyone have more fond memories?

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