BLOG purpose

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


  • Stay on topic.
  • No foul, vulgar, or inflammatory language.
  • No name calling.
  • No personal attacks or put-downs of other blog users.
  • Be patient. Moderator checks and approves new posts several times a day.

Suggest new topics here


Submit candidates for new topics here only. Stay on topic with National Labs' related issues. All submissions are screened first for ...

Friday, July 31, 2009

D'Agostino's speech on 7/29

Contributed by John:

July 29, 2009

Presented at U.S. Strategic Command’s Strategic Deterrence Symposium - "The Nuclear Security Enterprise and Our Strategic Deterrent"
Presented by Thomas D'Agostino, Administrator, NNSA

Good afternoon.
Let me begin by echoing so many other speakers and thanking STRATCOM for organizing this symposium, and all of you for being here.
In his Prague speech, President Obama charted a new course for the United States. Like President Reagan before him, he spoke of a long-term glide slope to zero nuclear weapons. But he also made clear that, “[a]s long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies . . .”
In pursuit of this agenda, there are two efforts currently underway – both of which will have major implications for the U.S. nuclear deterrent and for the infrastructure we employ to support that deterrent.
First, as was discussed this morning, the Nuclear Posture Review will provide the necessary requirements that NNSA will use to shape our nuclear security infrastructure. Second, of course, is the START Follow-On effort to reduce the size of U.S. nuclear forces in parallel with Russian reductions.
Negotiating a START Follow-On Agreement is an important demonstration of our commitment to fulfilling our obligations under Article VI of the NPT. However, as our stockpile gets smaller, it becomes increasingly important that remaining forces are safe, secure and effective, and, to mitigate future technical and geopolitical risks, that our nuclear infrastructure is responsive.
Over the coming months, President Obama will be advancing his program to bolster U.S. leadership in reducing global nuclear dangers and achieving strengthened nonproliferation. Because of our core capabilities, NNSA and the Department of Energy will play a critical role in this effort.
Throughout the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons program, the scientists and engineers at our labs and plants have developed and sustained a very unique set of skills and capabilities that service a broad array of nuclear security needs.
However, while maintaining and modernizing our nuclear stockpile forms the core of their work, it is these people and the skills and capabilities they provide that form the foundation for a broader agenda. Specifically:

* They provide support to international efforts to control warheads and fissile material;
* They provide support to the intelligence community on foreign nuclear weapons programs;
* They allow us to work effectively with our international partners on the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism;
* They enable us to assess potential terrorist nuclear designs to inform our capabilities and to render those warheads safe through disarmament;
* They support the development of nuclear forensics capabilities to identify the origin of terrorist devices and thereby provide means to deter state transfers to terrorists of warheads and materials;
* They provide nuclear incident response and consequence management;
* And, of course they provide R&D to:
* Detect nuclear warheads/materials being smuggled;
* Detect proliferant activities; and,
* Strengthen capabilities for treaty monitoring and warhead transparency.

In a sense, our job is much more than Stockpile Stewardship; it is the stewardship of a science and technology base that can respond to a wide array of national security concerns.
Maintaining our nuclear stockpile forms the core of our work, but that core also provides the foundation for ongoing nonproliferation and threat reduction programs, and this cannot be overlooked.
It is essential that we retain these core capabilities and broaden and deepen their application to a wider range of security issues beyond nuclear weapons.
Moving forward, the nuclear security infrastructure has to reflect that reality.
In so doing, the common linkages connecting U.S. nuclear force posture, nuclear threat reduction activities, nonproliferation, nuclear counterterrorism, and arms control and disarmament will be strengthened, global security will be advanced, and our nation will be stronger and safer.
Let me comment for a moment about our physical infrastructure. Our plutonium and uranium facilities need to be replaced. World class scientists and engineers deserve state of the art facilities.
General Chilton asked this morning, how should the practice of deterrence change in the future? That is a great question. In keeping with our Yogi Berra theme, he once said: “If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.”
However, I will say with confidence that the “practice” element of any problem in the future will likely involve the application of advanced technologies. This is best described in a story.
When we created the ASCI program 15 years ago, it was about the challenge of maintaining our stockpile without testing. It still is. But we would never have imagined at that time that we would use this capability to help address our satellite problem – and, for that matter, many other pressing national challenges.
My main concern with respect to infrastructure and deterrence – the topic of this panel – is that we must continue to modernize, advance and exercise our technical capabilities. We must replace old, expensive, large Manhattan Project-era facilities. And, finally, we must recruit and retain the best scientists and engineers in the world.
In other words -- to borrow another Yogi quote -- 15 years from now, I want the NNSA Administrator to be able to say “We have deep depth.”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Any news on hearings?

Anonymously asked:

Anyone have any information on developments, comments,status on the ongoing NLRB hearing that started on the 27th Jul in Oakland for the illegally laid-off skilled crafts workers? Sounds as if UPTE is actually doing something and standing up for workers rights.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BLOG changes

In the last 3 months, I relied heavily on a co-blogger who helped me tremendously.
I am very thankful for that.
When he left, I received very nasty emails and comments calling me all kinds of names. So, I decided to comb the Blog to see why people were so outraged.
Here it was, a side bar link for political views that was filled with hate and bigotry.
This one slipped through. I will not apologize on behalf of someone else BUT I went ahead and removed it. No more political views!

Cost control a la Bechtel!

This is who runs the Lab! Scroll down to middle of page

Friday, July 24, 2009

Health Benefits The UC, LLNS, LANS Mashup

From the LANL BLOG:

Consider the current political situation. NNSA is in the fourth year of its plan to reconfigure the nuclear weapons complex. The plan is oriented toward retrenching and down sizing probably requiring closing one weapons lab. Since some of the weapons work is being consolidated at LANL but none at LLNL, it is clear which lab they will chose to close. The move of Anastasio to LANL and putting Miller in charge at LLNL was another indicator. Miller was the also ran in every selection of a new director during my time at LLNL. He is a prime choice to preside over the dismemberment of LLNL.

The NNSA reconfiguration plan was predicated on Congress approving the Reliable Replacement Warhead and scheduling 5-year upgrade cycles. Not only is that not going to happen, Obama has promised to quit paying for the unused weapons of the Cold War. Guess what weapons are on the top of the list. That leaves NNSA with no weapons programs to fund the weapons labs. The way the government works, it takes time to wind down large unneeded organizations. The NNSA reconfiguration plan is a good start at it. Without viable nuclear weapons programs, is not a question of if but when LANL will follow LLNL into oblivion.

We at LLNL are fighting to have responsibility for our retiree medical benefits moved back to the University of California. LLNS and NNSA never intended to assume responsibility for our medical benefits. Last August, I complained to UC’s top lawyer, Jeffery Blair, that UC was in breach of my employment contract. Soon thereafter, NNSA modified the LLNS contract to allow retroactive modification of the TCP1 medical insurance requirements. Then I got an email from an LLNS lawyer saying that she was replying for Jeffery Blair and that LLNS was doing a great job providing our medical benefits. That made me mad enough to do something about the situation.

I formed the University of California Livermore Retirees Group to put public, political and legal pressure on UC to resume their obligation for our benefits. Neither UC nor we are parties to the NNSA-LLNS contract so it doesn’t change our legal relationship. We are at the point of soliciting funds and hiring legal council to initiate a suit against UC.

Earlier this year I tried to contract LANL employees and convince them to join us. At that time nobody showed any interest. I believe it is time to ask LANL retirees again if they are interested in joining their LLNL counterparts. If so, now is the time to act. We have collected enough funds to get our legal situation analyzed. We are negotiating with a top national law firm, having the expertise and resources to handle UC. LANL retirees are in nearly the same position as we. They haven’t been severely impacted yet, but it looks like it will not be for long. Remember that LLNS and LANS are LLCs so when they disappear, so do all their liabilities, including retiree medical benefits.

It would be a shame if we have the facts to prevail but lack the funds to pursue our case. We need more recruits to help us. If you would like to find out more about us, type into the navigation bar of your web browser or email

- Joe Requa

We used to do R&D, now we watch the landscape!

Anonymously contributed:

When I came to this place 30 plus years ago there was hardly any landscaping. Didn't bother me. Didn't bother anyone else I worked with (unless they were just keeping mum).I don't think anyone really cared. We were there to do R&D, not admire the landscape. Today, it is a different story.I have no idea how much this beautification project cost or how much it will cost to maintain but I agree it is a serious waste of taxpayer money.


Anonymously contributed:
The 5% tax is being used to cover the cost of NIF Dedication and Family Day. A ridiculous amount of money was spent on these activities. Trees, roads, bark, paint, shrubs, more bark, a water conservation project (complete with amphitheater), grass, irrigation, signs, pavement, and oh, was there a spot that didn't get bark? Hopefully someone will shine the light of truth on the games that are being played with our tax dollars. How do you think all of this work was paid for?? What Science? We have become an arboretum. It does look nice, no?

Audit of Dependent Eligibility for Health and Welfare Enrollment

Anonymously contributed:

I was just wondering how many folks actually got this Audit of Dependent Eligibility letter?

It says that if I do not prove that I am married to my husband of 40 years that he and I will BOTH be de-enrolled from insurance coverage for a period of 12 months. I had to go to my bank safe deposit box and get a copy of my marriage license and give that to benefits.

If a person has other dependents such as children, birth certificates of all dependents would have to be provided.

I don't understand why this is necessary since my husband and I have BOTH gone through the Lab Q Clearance process since 1991 and many re-investigations and have never been asked to provide a copy of our marriage license.

Never in my 40 years of marriage and many loans and even a passport have I been asked to prove that I was married.

What about all of the retirees? I know my mother-in-law didn't have to prove she was married to her husband to collect his retirement after he passed away.

Also, what would happen to someone who was sent the letter but it never arrived at their home? Would their benefits be out off?

I suggest anyone who did get this letter, have Benefits provide them with proof that you actually gave it to them.

This just doesn't make sense.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adherence to BLOG rules

I admit that this year, moderation of this BLOG has been a little relaxed, in the interest of freedom of speech. It was hard to publish some views and not publish opposing views.

It is time to go back to the purpose of the LOG.

From here on, I will not publish anything not related to:

1) Impact of privatization of the Lab on employees, past and present and friends and families.
2) Opinions on LLNS operation of the Lab
3) reports of waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA.

or criticism without suggested solutions

and remember:
The BLOG author(s) do not have to agree or disagree with any post or comments before publishing them. They serve as impartial moderators.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This blog is a joke?

Anonymously contributed:

This blog is a joke. Either nobody reads it, nobody cares to comment on it, or the moderator doesn't care/is lazy/whatever. There are few relevant posts and even fewer relevant comments. Sad. The blog HAD noble goals out the should read the LANL blog least it's active, at least it's relevant. And the info often applies to LLNL/LLNS as well as LANL/LANS. Unless somebody breathes some life into this one, it ought to be terminated. Sorry for the harsh opinion, but it's just a waste of time to come here.

A company I never worked for provides my medical benefits?

Anonymously contributed in the LANL Blog:

I never signed any contract to work for DOE or the Federal government. I signed up as a UC employee. No different than if I worked as a researcher at UC working on a CONTRACT for NASA, NIH, etc. I was a UC employee. Payed into and was promised the UC retirement system. Retired under UC BEFORE LANS was even a thought in someone's mind. Remain retired under UCRP. But now my medical benefits are provided by some company I never worked for, while other UC retirees from other institutions are treated differently and better. How can DOE allow one entity (UC) to get off the hook and assign their obligations to their retirees to a new company that can downgrade and eliminate those obligations at will? Crap, it's one think to be traded when you are still's quite another to be promised one thing, devote your entire working career to it, and then have it yanked out from under you. Legal or not, it's not fair. Mark my words, this will end up in court and DOE, UC, and LANS will be held accountable.


Anonymously contributed in the LANL BLOG:

OK, it's understood that retiree medical benefits are not vested or guaranteed. But nobody has answered these questions:

Why, having retired under UCRP as a UC employee who worked at the Lab for 30 years, are my retiree medical benefits substantially different (worse) than those being provided to UC retirees from other campuses? They are paying less, and getting more services (and choices), than we are. Why must we be subjected to the whims of LANS and LLNS, companies we never worked for, companies that didn't even exist when we were employed by UC? We were sold on the concept that we were UC employees, that the Labs were basically like UC research "campuses". Heck, we were all UC, all the way, all the time. That is, until it came time to deliver our retiree medical benefits. Then the rules changed, and we became "second-class" UC retirees. Again, it's understood that retiree medical benefits could be reduced or even eliminated (and they probably will), BUT HOW CAN THEY LEGALLY TREAT US DIFFERENTLY THAN RETIREES IN UCRP FROM OTHER CAMPUSES?" It's discrimination, I tell you. If retirees from Berkeley, Davis, UCLA, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Cruz, Merced, UCSF, and Santa Barbara were in the same boat as us and were getting the same reduction in benefits at increased cost, I'd still complain, but at least I'd understand. But as it is, with the UC retirees from the Labs being singled out and screwed over by DOE/NNSA through LANS/LLNS with apparent UC concurrence, it seems unfair and the obvious ripe fruit for a class action lawsuit. Sign me up.

Livermore Lab Retirees Criticize Reductions to Health Benefits

Anonymous said...
From The Daily Californian via the LANL blog:

Livermore Lab Retirees Criticize Reductions to Health Benefits
By Javier Panzar
Contributing Writer
Monday, July 20, 2009

Retirees from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are voicing concerns over their health benefits, which they say have been reduced since new management took over the labs in 2007.

The retirees went before the UC Board of Regents last week, claiming that they retired before the switch in management occurred in 2007 and that their benefits should be consistent with retired employees under UC management.

Joseph Requa retired from the lab in 1999 and is the organizer of UC Livermore Retiree Group.

"What we want is that UC takes back responsibility for determining our health benefits and that the levels are consistent with what other UC retirees receive ," Requa said.

The laboratory was run by the University of California until October 2007 when Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC took over management.

The corporation is comprised of the Bechtel Corporation, the University of California, and other energy companies.

When the corporation took over management, its contract stated it would provide equivalent health coverage to the UC plan, according to Lynda Seaver, a spokesperson for the corporation.

But in September 2008, as medical costs rose, LLNS changed its health care costs to keep with industry standards, Seaver said.

The retirees claim the new level of benefits is significantly lower than the UC's.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi wrote a letter to UC President Mark Yudof in support of the 5,500 retirees.

UC spokesperson Peter King said that the Office of the President will be looking at the situation.

"President Yudof and Bruce Darling, (Executive Vice President of lab management,) are going to look for ways of fairness and equity to see what can be done," he said.

Requa's organization has 600 members and is collecting funds in the event that legal action becomes necessary.

"If we need that stick, we have it in our back pocket," Requa said.

Manuel Perry, who retired from the lab in 1993, said that many retirees stayed with the UC system through good times and bad and hope that the issue can be resolved amicably.

"We don't think there is a need for lawsuits when the UC can talk to us," Perry said. "We want to be brought back into the (UC) family as retirees and be treated as the rest of the retirees."

Flawed program for protecting Livermore lab workers from beryllium comes under federal scrutiny

By Suzanne Bohan, Contra Costa Times

Kelye Allen still speaks with pride about her 18-year career with Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, where she worked as a machinist helping to build components for nuclear weapons.

A feeling of patriotism and duty animates the workforce there, Allen said.

"You want to protect the country," she said. "Stuff we do there directly affects national security."

Along with her enduring pride, however, Allen is left with a permanent health condition from her work with a prized but hazardous metal called beryllium.

The Department of Energy, which oversees the lab, is currently conducting an enforcement investigation into whether the lab violated health and safety regulations related to its chronic beryllium disease prevention program.

On Aug. 3, lab officials will respond during an enforcement conference to preliminary findings by the National Nuclear Security Administration that the lab violated Energy Department regulations. If the agency determines enforcement actions are warranted, the lab could be subject to fines or penalties, or both, said John Belluardo, a spokesman for the nuclear security agency's office at the Livermore site.

"The LLNS system for beryllium hazard identification, assessment and abatement is not as comprehensive or thorough as it should be," Belluardo said.

LLNS refers to the Lawrence Livermore National Security, a partnership including the University of California and several companies led by Bechtel, which operates the lab under contract with the Department of Energy.

The enforcement investigation follows an October 2008 report from the nuclear security agency, which found lapses throughout the beryllium worker-protection program. The agency demanded the lab launch a corrective-action plan, which lab officials implemented earlier this year.

The lab takes the nuclear security agency's findings seriously, stated an e-mail response by lab spokesman Jim Bono.

"The lab has a sound hazards control system in place," he wrote. "However, some mistakes were made with regard to beryllium exposures. We have since taken steps to prevent such events from happening again."

Since a voluntary employee testing program began at the lab in 1999 for beryllium exposure, 1,068 people have been tested, Bono wrote. Of those, 32 were positive for beryllium sensitivity, and three had developed chronic beryllium disease.

Beryllium sensitivity is triggered by inhalation of beryllium dust or possibly through contact with skin. A small percentage of those with the condition develop chronic beryllium disease, which causes scarring of lung tissue and can prove fatal. Beryllium is also considered a human carcinogen.

In September, Allen discovered she had beryllium sensitivity through a free screening program for former lab workers to find out if they were exposed to radioactive or toxic substances. That program began in 2007 for former Livermore Lab and Sandia National Laboratories California division workers, and expanded this past week to cover previous Berkeley Lab workers.

"I was absolutely floored, shocked," said Allen, 49, a San Ramon resident who was laid off in 2008 from Livermore Lab. "I had gone through blood tests at work and had come up negative."

As a machinist, she regularly handled the metal.

The dangers of beryllium, a lightweight metal that stays stable at high temperatures, has long been known. In 1949, the now-defunct United States Atomic Energy Commission set the first workplace standards for beryllium exposure, which are still in effect today. Beryllium is used in a number of industries, including the automotive, electronics, aerospace, medical and defense industries.

And national weapons labs such as Livermore have in place programs to protect workers from beryllium exposure.

Protections at Livermore Lab, however, have been inadequate, concluded the October 2008 report, and possibly in violation of Department of Energy regulations.

The report sought to assess the lab's program for protecting workers from adverse health effects while working with beryllium. It also assessed if the lab had effectively analyzed the reasons behind 11 new cases of beryllium sensitivity found between 2006 and 2008, as well as the factors behind the four "reportable events" of beryllium exposure since 2006 at the lab, such as the discovery that at least 178 contract workers may have been exposed to the metal during a seismic retrofit project.

The report authors noted "deficiencies" and "overall program weakness" in all those areas, backed by observations during lab inspections.

In addition to conducting the enforcement investigation, the National Nuclear Security Administration is monitoring the Livermore lab's corrective action plan for preventing chronic beryllium disease.

"They appear to be making good progress," Belluardo said.

Bono said that after the release of the 2008 report, the lab "temporarily halted beryllium operations last fall to re-evaluate beryllium work controls, procedures and training." It also expanded its beryllium communication and education program for employees, among other measures, in addition to developing the comprehensive plan for improving the lab's chronic beryllium disease protection program.

"The laboratory is committed to improving our ability to protect the health and safety of all workers at the lab, and the NNSA assessment has helped us do that," Bono said.

Reach Suzanne Bohan at 510-262-2789 or

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Attention Computational scientists!

Robert said:

Raytheon is hiring High Performance Computing Computation Scientists. The locations vary but most are on the east coast.

Go out to and do a search with the Keyword "HPC"

If you would like a referral, email me @ rggleason at gmail dot com and I can send you a referral link. I worked in Comp for a lot of my stint at the lab so I am familiar with that environment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It may not make headlines

Blogger PJB said...

It may not make headlines like healthcare reform, but there are some things going on in the House and Senate that will directly impact the Department of Energy, NNSA and the labs. I posted a few weeks ago about the The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010 (H.R. 2647) that had been passed by the House Armed Services Committee... It has now been overwhelmingly passed by the House. The Senate Armed Services Committee is now working on their version of the bill. The House version of this bill includes a provision that takes $369 Million from NNSA in order to fund F-22 Raptor fighter jets that the Pentagon has said they don't want or need.

President Obama has said that he would veto any bill that includes increased funding for the F-22 program, but this has not deterred members of the House. There was an article summarizing the mechanics of this process on the news wires today:

It's still not too late to contact your friendly neighborhood senator or congressperson regarding this pork-barrel item. By taking this money away from DOE they are taking jobs from workers and are risking the health of thousands of Americans by delaying cleanup efforts at nuclear sites.

July 12, 2009 8:05 PM

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Anonymous said...

FR was escorting uncleared personel through a Q only area the other day, this person was busy taking pictures when FR left them alone in the area; the FPOC found the person wondering around with the camera and ask them who was escorting them, they replied FR; when FR return the fpoc then asked him why he wasn't notified of such activity and why the proper signs where not put out to notify building personal of the uncleared visitor; FR blamed his secretary for the mix up. AGAIN IS ULM ABOVE THE LAW???????

July 12, 2009 2:37 PM

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Meeting on energy and water

From the calendar, today at 10:00 a.m:
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, markup of the energy and water appropriations bill, which includes the nuclear weapons programs of the Energy Department. 124 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington. Video webcast on and audio webcast on

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

RUMOR CORNER: What's happened to the rumors?

So, it seems that the rumors that have turned out not to be rumors has dried up. So, you have any rumors to share?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

5% Retroactive Tax

So, I hear that the programs are being charged a 5% retroactive (back to October 1, 2008) tax to help pay for a shortage in the "management fee".

My first question is this true?

My second question if true, does NIF have to pay, or do they get off the hook again?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dublin man run over by his own truck dies of injuries

Sophia Kazmi
Valley Times
Posted: 06/29/2009 12:29:58 PM PDT
Updated: 06/29/2009 01:38:41 PM PDT

LIVERMORE — A 58-year-old Dublin man struck by his runaway pickup truck at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory has died of his injuries.

James Leadstrom died Sunday at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, according to the California Highway Patrol. He was flown there Friday morning after he received head trauma and internal injuries trying to stop his 2008 Chevrolet Silverado.

According to accident investigators, Leadstrom had parked his pickup truck in a lab parking lot near Vasco Road and East Avenue around 10:30 a.m. Friday. but the truck had been left in reverse gear and it began to roll backward.

Leadstrom partially entered the truck to apply the brakes, but instead hit the accelerator, according to the CHP. The truck accelerated backward, struck a parked Chevrolet Impala, then a Toyota Celica.

Leadstrom was thrown behind the truck after the second car was hit and was run over by the pickup after it hit a Honda motorcycle. The truck hit one more car, a Nissan Altima, before coming to rest.

— Sophia Kazmi

ENOUGH of the political bantering

Major posts need to be related to LLNL, NNSA, DOE, LLNS in some way. Comments must be on the topic.

I will no longer post ANYONE'S political trashing and thrashings - no more name calling. There are other blogs and venues for such antics.

Posts you viewed tbe most last 30 days