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Friday, April 17, 2009


So, rumor is that EM is running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Something about optics doomed to failure after the beam is reflected off the plasma produced during a shot.


Anonymous said...

Actually, it is worse than that. We in Comp had an employee that reached their on-site point limit for vehicle infractions. We sent the employee over to the badge office to have "non-driving" status put on their badge and discovered that the policy was "on hold" because someone in NIF had a similar problem and Moses wanted the policy changed.

I guess it is not enough that we are supporting NIF financially; a new rule set is being developed for NIF employee behavior.

Anonymous said...

Why is this a surprise? Thats the way the crew at the top running the show has always acted!

Anonymous said...

I am not familiar or involved with NIF. Can anyone tell me what would happen if NIF is a blazing success? What happens if it crashes and burns? I mean would this bring lot more funds to the lab (or close it down with failure)? Or would there be little effect either way?

Anonymous said...

Lets hear more about the optic failure and why. Is this going to be an ongoing issue and at ( $200K an hour ) to the customer shooting cost be enough to cover the cost of repairs. I want to know who's going to pay this shot rate?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Moses run the Lab? Unfortunately he may just be running it into the ground by sucking the life blood from the rest of the Lab! By the way, when NIF fails he will certainly find plenty of others to blame.....never himself because he sees himself as omnipotent.

Anonymous said...

April 18, 2009 12:29 PM

If NIF fails he'll just retire and draw his pension and big one at that. He can not be hurt no matter what happens. I'm sure he'll be real concerned while he's on the beach.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there any technical people who read this blog and can address the real issue of this topic? It doesn't seem to have technical merit.

Anonymous said...

If NIF fails LLNL is dead and closed or a mere shadow of its self in five years or less.

All Cat I/II SNM in Superblock is being removed, so it will closed and the $150 million/yr direct funding for security to protect the block cut to zero.

RRW is dead, and it looks like only the LANL designs are going to remain in the enduring stockpile. Also the number of deployed systems may be cut as low as 1000 if the Russians and new administration can reach an agreement.

Site 300 has no work and no mission.

NNSA is going to get much smaller - so can (or will) it be able to fund two large design/physics labs. Or as the poorly written POGO report urges, will the NWC be shrunk and consolidated. I really think the NWC could go down to - LANL, SNL/NM, NTS, Pantex, and KCP.

If LLNL wants to be around, it is going to have to rethink how it does its mission. GM needs to be quietly lobbying in the halls of congress and DOE to move LLNL out of NNSA and back to DOE.

LLNL can be either a national security lab or national science lab in DOE, but it will die if it tries to be a "nuclear security" lab in NNSA.

Anonymous said...

April 18, 2009 8:29 PM

It does have technical merit and in fact is true. I know folks (personally) who are working the problem. Apparently there is a crash target redesign in the works to try to capture the stray energy so that it does not propagate back to optics/diagnostics.

Anonymous said...

"All Cat I/II SNM in Superblock is being removed, so it will closed and the $150 million/yr direct funding for security to protect the block cut to zero."

All of Security is about $100M, and protecting the block is about $50M - $55M of that.

Anonymous said...

April 19, 2009 1:38 PM You are correct, I had my numbers wrong so I checked the FY08 annual report and S&S was $112.6 million. However, this is direct NNSA funding and fenced money for the primary purpose of protecting SNM at LLNL.

Security (and safety, environmental, etc.) cost at most national labs is derived from overhead tax - spreading the cost across all of the lab's organizations, since security protects the whole lab not just one building. Remember, it use to be that way at LLNL until the GAO and DOE IG reports in the 1990s criticized this approach - as a way of both hiding the true cost of security and not funding it sufficiently.

NNSA is on public record saying the removal of Cat I/II SNM from LLNL will result in major cost savings to NNSA.

When the SNM goes away, the DBT requirements go away, and there's DBT for storage of explosive materials or classified information. So the driver for NNSA giving LLNL $100+ million a year goes away. It will be very hard for NNSA to justify an annual budget item for security at LLNL once the SNM is removed. The Lab programs will once again have to eat security cost, just like any other overhead cost.

So get ready for a $50+ million increase in overhead cost. Also expect LLNS to go bare bones on security capabilities or contract it out to a private company or Alameda Sheriff (like they did with the Lab fire department, which in fact has saved the Lab money with no impact on services).

Anonymous said...

After all the subsidizing my program has done over the past 10 years to pay for NIF, I would have thought that major showstoppers would have been fixed a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Livermore just lost the B61 Life Extension Program Phase 6.2 study. Los Alamos is holding a party tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

April 19, 2009 5:34 PM

You need to get your facts straight. The $112M, or whatever the exact number was, represented all security costs, including cyber, not just for the protection of SNM.

Also, security funding for LLNL is essentially the same as other DOE sites--direct. It is not paid by overhead. Direct funding for security began for all in FY01--a dumb move on DOE's part. DOE tried to switch it back about two years ago, but Congress wasn't interested.

Finally, with most of the SNM gone, security funding will still be direct, but, yes. several 10s, maybe $40-50M less.

Anonymous said...

You need to look at the DOE/NNSA Budget documents.

Look at the "Laboratory Table" and check LLNL.

Under "Weapons Activities" FY2008
Cyber Security -$17.9 million
Defense Nuclear Security - $95.4 million

Anonymous said...

Do DOE budgets really matter at LLNL. The system feels rigged to feed what ever ULM desires. The current change in LDRD funding being driven by the 5 pillars of science and technology make it seem clear that even more money will be shuttled to NIF/LIFE from the taxes leveraged on WFO across the lab.

Also, they want ldrd to fund 80% SI projects and only 20% ER projects. That means less applied and basic science.

Anonymous said...

April 25, 2009 12:40 PM

NIF is all that LLNL has left and NOTHING else matters. If NIF fails, which it won't, you can close the doors of LLNL and mothball the rest. There is talk about separating NIF physically from the rest of LLNL. It's only a matter of time before she stands by herself. And that's the way it is, thanks for your business.

Anonymous said...

"There is talk about separating NIF physically from the rest of LLNL."

Yes, having sucked all we could from the lab, the photon factory will want to disconnect from lab to avoid actually having to contribute back.

Why is this surprising to you? It is the laser way...

Anonymous said...

If NIF stands by itself, it will be a miracle. It was built on the backs of other programs that subsidized it. When the other programs fold, maybe NIF can qualify for a stimulus package.

Anonymous said...

May 1, 2009 6:01 PM

Get real. NIF is a huge drain on the rest of us. NIF has not paid its fair share of lab upkeep, and has disproportionately taken all internal investment.

If NIF were shut down tomorrow, the result for the rest of us would be lower taxes, opportunities for the rest of us to help shape the lab's future, and some gardening staff freed up to work on non-NIF landscaping.

It is such a fallacy that we are dependent on NIF. In fact, an LLNL without NIF would have many options for new missions that it cannot have under the current regime.

Anonymous said...

NIF was built on the backs of the rest of the lab. GM and EM have put the whole lab at risk by betting everthing on NIF. What happens when it turns out to be the failure many of us expect it will be? LIFE indeed! Whatever happened to the NIF role in "stockpile assessment and certification strategy" the bill of goods originally sold to the taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

May 1, 2009 8:50 PM

Get real, you dudes couldn't even get part of a $700M dollar grant for alternative energy research. That's how much DOE thinks about YOU, non nifites... I doubt you'll get anything else, especially with Obama in office where he needs to cut funds for non essentials to aid his social programs. NIF will soon be doing it's normal 10% cut per year for as long as it exist sending back those they don't need to their parent commands. Since you guys have no money I can only assume those people will be going out the gate. Isn't that called a reorg?

Anonymous said...

"Get real, you dudes couldn't even get part of a $700M dollar grant for alternative energy research".

The above is one of the best reasons for shutting LLNL down. It no longer works as a cohesive unit for the benefit of the country. Does NIF really have any national recognition outside the fence?

Despite the high taxes (induced due to NIF) and declining interest from DOE to fund the NNSA labs, the rest of LLNL still manages to maintain WFO and DOE funding. Several areas are even growing. Removing NIF from the equation would only cause these non-NIF programs to bloom and prosper.

If management woke-up and stopped feeding the beast (NIF), they might be surprised to find a bunch of staff ready to lead and move LLNL forward to meet the National needs of the 21st century!

Anonymous said...

The NIF is going to be so remarkably costly to operate (if it works ) that there will be only one client that can afford to use it and that would be the NNSA. Other than weapons work there is really nothing left for the NIF. That is what LIFE is all about. It is a last gasp effort to find "life" sustaining revenue for the NIF.


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