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 jlscoob5@gmail.com

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lab Security

Anonymous said...

The Lab's security force seems to get bad press all the time in the media, but it did well again in this year's US National SWAT Championship. They came in 2nd last year. Results are at -

http://www.nationalswatchampionships.com/results.php

I ran across this story in World Nuclear News...

Bruce Power SWAT team hits the mark
25 June 2009

Security combat teams from nuclear-related sites and organizations performed well in the 2009 US National SWAT Championships (USNSC).

The championship was held on 18-20 June at the US Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Eighteen tactical teams including three international entrants participated in a range of trials such as 'Bus Assault', 'Multi-Gun Shootout' and 'Taser Team Takedown'.

The nuclear response team from Canada's Bruce Power won the contest for the second year in a row. They were followed by a team from the German counter-terrorist unit (GSG-9), with nuclear-related teams from Lawrence Livermore in California and Hanford in Washington coming in third and fourth.

SWAT competitions have been held in the Shooting Academy for over 25 years. In general, they are based on real tactical policing skills (individual and team) and involve demanding physical challenges as well as precise shooting skills. Most are coupled with training sessions and last from 2-5 days.

The inaugural USNSC were held in 2007 at the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Center (HRLETC) outside Denver, Colorado. The objective of the USNSC competition is to use live-fire SWAT scenarios and relays to test individual and team skills. The competition events are designed to provide a fair and equal opportunity for teams to demonstrate their abilities in three areas: team organization, weapons skills and fitness while negotiating courses of fire in a safe manner.

The USNSC normally consists of eight live-fire events run with teams running each course of fire head to head. Officers compete in full tactical gear and are only given one round for each assigned target. Scoring is based on time and target hits.

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Bruce_Power_SWAT_team_hits_the_mark-2606094.html

June 26, 2009 6:12 AM

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Neko is really scared . . . NOT!

Anonymous said...

Neko's Not Scared


What may happen to the guy running this blog if he isn't careful

June 24, 2009 5:07 PM

NUCLEAR BUDGET WATCHDOGS CALL ON U.S. ENERGY DEPARTMENT TO SLASH SPENDING

Title:

NUCLEAR BUDGET WATCHDOGS CALL ON U.S. ENERGY DEPARTMENT TO SLASH SPENDING ON WEAPONS PROGRAMS AND REACTOR SUBSIDIES, INCREASE CLEANUP FUNDING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Ran across this pdf about wanting to cut budgets and increase cleanup funds.

Watchdogs


Interesting reading.

June 22, 2009 10:24 AM

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buried in the Budget

Blogger Peter said...

The House Armed Services Committee published the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Bill last week. Buried inside was a last-minute change that took $369 million from DOE. The $369M was supposed to be used for cleanups at nuclear weapons sites but will be used instead to "bring home the bacon" and buy jets that the military admits it doesn't even need.

See the articles below for the details.

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4144686

http://pubfiles.computersforpeace.net/HR2647.pdf

http://armedservices.house.gov/apps/list/press/armedsvc_dem/skeltonpr061709.shtml





June 23, 2009 11:38 AM

Apparently, everyone in UC is going to take a 8% salary reduction!

Anonymous said...

I went to check on what is left of my retirement portfolio on uc bencom and saw this:
"Questions & Answers about Furlough/Salary Reductions Options"

Apparently, everyone in UC is going to take a 8% salary reduction! LBNL staff will be affected as well.

June 23, 2009 2:11 AM

UC Gives 'Thumbs Down' to Lab Health Care Petitioners

Anonymous said:

UC Gives 'Thumbs Down' to Lab Health Care Petitioners
From Independent News

The University of California has effectively said “no” to petitions signed by more than 500 Livermore Lab retirees requesting reinstatement to the UC medical programs that covered them when they retired.

“I understand your concerns with losing UC coverage when the Laboratory contract was changed at the end of 2007, wrote Katherine Lapp, executive vice president for business operations at the University, in a message to a number of the petitioners. “However, UC employees do not have a vested right to retiree healthcare benefits.” She noted that benefits had always been subject to change or termination at any time.
The Laboratory retirees who submitted the petitions were once UC employees who had the University’s group health coverage plans under a succession of contracts that lasted more than 50 years. Beginning in 2008, the new contractor, Lawrence Livermore National Security, used a health consulting firm and an insurance broker to move most retirees out of group insurance into individual plans that stand to become less secure and more expensive as retirees age.

The exception to date is Kaiser, which covers nearly 40 percent of Lab retirees in group plans very much like those that existed prior to 2008. Kaiser coverage is predicted to be shifted to the new system at year’s end in a move whose details have not yet been announced.

The complaints of retirees have fallen into several categories that contrast sharply with their favorable memories of the University’s reliable, easy to understand programs. One major complaint has been that poor service and communication have meant confusing administrative changes, unfamiliar plans, delays in reimbursement and even dropped coverage. Another is that being moved out of group plans into individual ones appears to set retirees up for future cost increases and possible insurance cancellation as they age and develop the inevitable medical burdens of later life.

And finally, on a personal basis, many retirees express anger that a company they never worked for – Lawrence Livermore National Security – is now defining their health care options.

At the most senior level, UC President Mark Yudoff asked that the organizer of the retiree petitions communicate in future with the UC Office of General Counsel. The organizer is Joe Requa, who formed the Livermore Retiree Group to deal with the health care issue and has seen an enthusiastic response from retirees.
For her part, UC Vice President Lapp cited a booklet called Your Group Insurance Plans. She said that the booklet makes it clear that “the benefits of all employees, retirees and plan beneficiaries are subject to change or termination at the time of contract renewal or at any other time by the University or other governing authorities."

While several retirees said they had no memory of such a warning, it exists and can be found in the fine print of UC publications, including “New Dimensions,” which is mailed periodically to retiree homes.

For example, the New Dimensions of Winter 2001 reads, "The University intends to continue the benefits described here indefinitely; however, the benefits of all employees, annuitants and plan beneficiaries are subject to change or termination at the time of contract renewal or at any other time by the University or other governing authorities. The University reserves the right to change the premiums and employer contributions at any time."

At the time The Independent went to press, retiree organizations had not responded formally to the University’s communication. Livermore Retiree Group leader Joe Requa said that his organization is preparing communications with UC Office of General Counsel as requested by President Yudoff. He also said his group is willing to press forward with legal action if necessary.
----------------------------
Does this effort have a chance?
What can be done to help?

June 22, 2009 7:36 AM

Looks like Congress my investigate NNSA's contract with LLNS

Anonymous said:

Looks like Congress my investigate NNSA's contract with LLNS if the House appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2010 on military activities of the Department of Defense [HR 2647] pass in its current form. Note this section on page 639 of the 650 page Bill...

-----
SEC. 3121. COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW OF MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS CONTRACT COSTS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY LABORATORIES.

(a) REVIEW REQUIRED. — The Comptroller General shall review the effects of the contracts entered into by the Department of Energy in 2006 and 2007 that provide for the management and operations of the covered national laboratories. The review shall include the following:

(1) A detailed description of the costs related to the transition from the period when the management and operations of the covered national laboratories were performed by the University of California to the period when such management and operations were performed by a covered contractor, including —

(A) a description of any continuing differences in the cost structure of the management and operations when performed by the University of California and the cost structure of the management and operations when performed by a covered contractor; and

(B) an assessment of the effect of such cost differences on the resources available to support scientific and technical programs at the covered national laboratories.

(2) A quantitative assessment of the ability of the covered national laboratories to perform other important laboratory functions, including safety, security, and environmental management.

(b) REPORT. — Not later than March 1, 2010, the Comptroller General shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the results of the review.

(c) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:

(1) The term "covered contractor" means—

(A) with respect to Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, LLC; and

(B) with respect to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC.

(2) The term "covered national laboratories" means—

(A) the Los Alamos National Laboratory; and

(B) the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

------
Full Bill is at:

Link


June 19, 2009 2:58 PM

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Public Dedication of NIF and other Illusions

Open Letter to Editors: The Public Dedication of NIF and other Illusions

Recently the Director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced the National Ignition Facility reached another project milestone 1 June 2009 when the facility was christened as "Certified". Various local newspapers reported the event with broad illuminations like these:

NIF Facility Dedication

The Certified NIF

NIF Opening Ceremony

NIF Official Opening

NIF was Unveiled

NIF Laser Commissioned Beam Lines

“Tests are about to start”

“Like the dedication of a Cathedral”

“The worlds most powerful laser is almost ready for use”

The Director of LLNL further claims the NIF is designed to achieve nuclear fusion ignition. To substantiate that claim the project leadership is obligated to produce documentation to actualize that claim. They are obligated to produce requirements and specifications as a guide to assure the project meets stated objectives in the specifications. They are also obligated to specify measurable criteria for determining success or failure of the stated objectives. The documents are minimally these:

* documents containing requirements and specifications from the customer DOE;
* documents containing results from qualification tests and system level tests;
* documented results from validation and verification tests to show the NIF subsystem under test is performing to meet written requirements.

The project is also accountable for our public funds spent, now six times the original estimate.

Vital elements of the NIF remain undisclosed at the dedication ceremony. If a NIF subsystem cannot be demonstrated as viable, there is no justification for proceeding with full scale development unless your motives are deceptive to both financiers and the Customer.

* A jump to build NIF without substantial proof of concept is unjustified
* Nova was the last subscale laser to support NIF and it was a flop
* Omega is the most recent subscale (HEPW) laser but does not support NIF as proof of concept, NIF would require upgrades to HEPW lasers to be relevant.
* The Laser MegaJoule (LMJ) in France is based on a subscale laser called the Ligne d'Int\'{e}gration Laser'' (LIL), this is the proof of concept for LMJ. NIF was constructed intentionally without a subscale laser.
* No Lab director has ever confessed the true state of the NIF ICCS (Integrated Computer Control System). In the absence of a Verified ICCS the NIF building complex is merely a concrete façade.
* Documentation for requirements and specifications are suspiciously missing from the public archives, the latest documents are vintage 1996, 13 years ago.
* Documentation for qualification test results are also missing from the public archives yet the rhetoric from this program boasts “commissioned beam lines”.
* Internal documents record commissioning the laser Quad, what do they say?

Current peer review articles and papers from scientific journals are available on-line from websites at LLNL, The Mitre Corporation (Jason Report), and federal government agencies. These articles show an end-to-end laser beam line had not been built much less qualified, and will not be commissioned in time for “testing in 2010”, recall the phrase “The World’s most powerful laser is almost ready for use”. The true context of this public statement is now apparent.

* When completing the latest review of NIF, the 2005 Jason report mentions only the Diagnostics subsystems, other critical laser subsystems were omitted. Critical subsystems are ICCS, LRU's, Switchyard, Final Optics, TARPOS, TASPOS. Critical systems issues are timing constraints, power levels, and contamination.
* https://lasers.llnl.gov/publications/journal_articles.php On this NIF website are 23 technical papers considered by LLNL as journal quality articles for the period 2005 to 2008. Only a meager 2 of the articles overview NIF qualification or address its subsystems. The first article for 2008 is titled "The National Ignition Facility 2007 Laser Performance".

- From the article: “In 2006 and 2007, a series of measurements were performed on the NIF laser, at both 1ω and 3ω (351 nm). When scaled to full 192-beam operation, these results lend confidence to the claim that NIF will meet its laser performance design criteria…" Note the conclusion is reached by pure speculation that performance criteria will be met through scaling not testing.

- Again from " The National Ignition Facility 2007 Laser Performance " has 22 contributing authors but is only 7 pages long

* The text further reads Laser Bay 2 has been qualified 100% and Laser Bay 1 is nearly complete, yet Table 1 shows only 2 percent of the Target Bay installed, only 24 percent of the Switchyard is installed. So Qualified as used in the text means only a component of the beam line is "qualified", not an end to end system test since the hardware for an end to end test was not built.
* These hyperbole are typical exaggeration boasted by NIF management throughout the duration of this program.

Another paper titled "Generating powerful ultraviolet beams with the Worlds largest laser" cites commissioning of a four laser beam Quad. This paper was published in 2006 but cites a single Quad commissioned during the Early Light event back in 2004 as another milestone. So no further Quads were commissioned since 2004? There are 48 bundles of Quads with four beams each to complete 192 beams. If beam operations are planned for 2009 when were the remaining 47 Quads commissioned? Some excerpts from this paper:

- "The frequency converted performance of the NIF laser has been tested and verified in a series of experimental campaigns referred to as NIF Early Light (ref 6). These campaigns, conducted between Nov 2002 and Sept 2004, included the first NIF target experiments utilizing one Quad of beams on the target chamber,"

From these tests for a single quad ( 4 beams) in 2004, the authors draw this conclusion

- "Installation and commissioning of the National Ignition Facility is proceeding on, or slightly ahead of schedule for the planned start of full 192-beam operations in 2009, and the first ignition campaign in 2010.

There are many editorials about the purpose of NIF and the claims the facility will perform to some objective criteria, one among the following: Stockpile Stewardship, Ignition, astrophysical hydrodynamics, carbon free energy from sea water). To establish the validity of those claims the reviewer need only critique the quality and quantity of peer review papers produced by this program available in public archives (dot gov dot org). The evidence in those documents falls far short of the performance claims.

The purpose of building NIF is to secure federal funding to sustain it financially year after year.

The object of LLNL public relations and marketing this project is to build public perception that NIF is worthwhile Science. See ‘purpose’ previous.

The Fusion Problem was also addressed in 1993 when the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) was abandoned. $2B dollars had already been spent and escalating costs of $12B was enough for the Clinton Administration to cancel the program in favor of better science conducted elsewhere. A summary of the SSC in Texas:

* $12B estimated project costs the SSC in Waxahachie, Texas
* $2B spent on the Superconducting Super Collider, then project canceled
* Scientists were looking for the Higgs Boson (The God Particle), a consequence of high energy particle collisions when anticipating particle fusion

Is the NIF just another Super Collider Déjà Vu?

The rhetoric used by LLNL when selling the NIF is not unlike that used for the SSC during its construction. Here are excerpts from articles written about the SSC:

* The "Desertron" (named by Professor Lederman of Colombia ) would be the largest single scientific instrument in the world
* Employ a staff of two thousand people … and various properly awestruck visiting scholars from overseas.
* 20 times mo’ powerful than Fermilab
* 60 times mo’ powerful than CERN circa 1982
* The accelerator’s 54 miles of deep tunnels … the size of Washington Beltway.
* The cost estimated at 3 billion dollars
* The goal of the Desertron, or at least its target of choice, would be the Higgs scalar boson (The God Particle), although its true nature is very much in doubt.
* The Higgs boson would be a glittering prize indeed, though not so glittering as the gigantic lab itself.

15 years ago the SSC shared similar “scientific goals” as the NIF does today.

* The particle collisions are expected to mimic conditions that prevailed during creation of the universe.
* Scientists hope to record the resulting smaller particles and bursts of energy and study them for clues to the fundamental structure of all matter.
* The purpose of SSC is to enhance the scientific understanding of the building blocks of matter.

Without serious re-direction and accountability of taxpayer dollars, the NIF might also suffer the same fate as SSC. NIF will also be archived and recorded as a project poorly planned, overbuilt, over budget, and missing its objectives.

For a more critical view of the NIF and LLNL, reporters should contact people who have work experience at LLNL. To build a balanced perspective of the NIF, journalists should contact Les Miklosy, David Lappa, Luciana Messina, Mathew Zipoli, Robert Civiak, Christopher Paine, Marylia Kelly, Andreas Toupadakis or Stephen Bodner.

Personal note: I am a consulting Mechanical Engineer with 25 years of working experience in the high-tech industry. I am a former employee of Lawrence Livermore Laboratories on the National Ignition Facility. I was hired at LLNL in 2002 as Computer Scientist to develop components for the Integrated Computer Control System (ICCS), a critical software control component of the NIF.

I supported the NIF program for one year when I was aggressively fired and removed from LLNL for asking too many embarrassing questions from NIF managers about specifying engineering requirements for my assignment. I sought a resolution for the Lab’s draconian reprisal and a legal remedy for my dismissal. I am labeled a Whistleblower as a consequence of the publicity and legal proceedings.

These managers who support NIF could never find a job in competitive Industry, consequently they will remain at the Lab forever secured in their dictatorial regime. I fully concur with David Lappa, the managers who dictate the LLNL NIF are Scumbags. Taken collectively they are a band of opportunistic Thugs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Possible Israeli Strike!

Anonymously contributed:

OT but a very interesting unclassified briefing by Anthony Cordesman entitled - "Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities."

http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/090316_israelistrikeiran.pdf

Cordesman has served as national security assistant to Senator John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee and civilian assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He was also the former director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What about the skilled craftsmen union members who were laid-off before a contract was negotiated and what is SPSE doing about it?

Anonymous said...

Please list this as a new topic, I would really like this to be published to show what SPSE is or isn't doing about this subject.

It only affects the 9 skilled craftsmen in plant who were axed, but the unions stand in this matter shows the true support they have for the members.


June 12, 2009 7:15 AM

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Please Describe the New Hires

Anonymous said...

For those left at the lab, please describe the people that they are hiring these days. Are they young? Overqualified?

June 11, 2009 6:36 PM

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A possibility....

Anonymously contributed:

Rather than blame and point fingers, let's focus on who can help- the only possibility in your list is DOE. We need to get out of NNSA and LLNS- the missions they span are certainly not our future- and move on to DOE Office of Science and broaden our programs.
"By decree of DOE, LLNL is no longer an NNSA laboratory" and "DOE has decided to re-bid the contract to manage LLNL" and "LLNS has decide to end its term as laboratory manager"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day care/school status

Anonymous said:
Does anyone know what is happenning to it?

Are you proud?

Anonymous said:

Are LLNL employees proud of what they are doing again? -- nope , it's just another job that allows us to make a house payment. I see nothing going on at llnl that's going to help the gross national product.

Family Days: A big success

Anynymous said:

Let's talk about Family Days. Seemed very successful to me. +15K in attendance - don't have the history, but I have heard it was a record. Are LLNL employees proud of what they are doing again? Looked like everyone pulled out all the stops for this one - well with the exception of O&B. There seemed to be lots of O&B folks doing all the hard work, but there wasn't much in the way of demo's - even the heart of O&B (B511) was closed!! The rest of the Lab deserves a big round of applause!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No new taxes!

Anonymous siad . . .

I know you are going to say this is not LLNL related but in reality it is since this movement needs to be stopped immediately and we have 8000+ people who need to write the Governator and say, "Hell no, we won't pay a dime more of taxes for any reason". If they get away with this you may as well sell your homes and rent for life or leave California. I'm tired of being used as the Bank of America and being taxed into poverty.

E-mail the governor http://gov.ca.gov/interact

http://www.modbee.com/opinion/v-print/story/729677.html

Posted on Thu, Jun. 04, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

M&O Contractor Salary Increase Budget, Submission and Implementation

From the LANL Blog

June 2, 2009
M&O Contractor Salary Increase Budget, Submission and Implementation
Department of Energy
National Nuclear Security Administration
Washington, DC 20585


FROM: GERALD L. TALBOT, JR.
ASSOCIATE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR FOR NUCLEAR SAFETY AND OPERATIONS

TO: SITE OFFICE MANAGERS

SUBJECT: M&O Contractor Salary Increase Budget, Submission and Implementation

The purpose of this document is to change the cycle for contractor Compensation Increase Plan (CIP) submissions to October 1 and to delay resultant pay raises to allow consideration of the most recent annual Program Evaluation Plans (PEP) in pay programs.

The change to the CIP submission date from July 1st to October 1st is for two reasons: First, NNSA has approved employee performance incentive pay (bonus) plans at KCP and Y-12 and is expecting proposals shortly from LLNS and LANS. Also, SNL has a variable pay component tied to performance. These plans should provide pay to employees based on the contractors' performance against PEP measures and on individuals' performance. Since Contractors submit CIPs on July 1st each year and many distribute pay raises and bonuses to employees on October 1st, the cycle does not allow consideration of the contractors' PEP performance in setting pay. Second, a delay in submission will allow for use of more current salary survey results published in July to determine position to market. Starting in 2009, the contractors shall submit their salary increase requests for the fiscal year on October 1st and shall not provide pay increases/incentive payments to employees until the PEP evaluation is complete and is considered in employee performance evaluation and pay determinations, where appropriate for this year. For future employee performance cycles, contractors will be expected to develop a method to consider PEP evaluations in pay determination decisions for employees as appropriate. This will facilitate contractor focus on contract performance in executing pay programs.

DOE Order 350.1 and/or your site contract require NNSA approval of the Contractor's annual compensation increase plan (CIP). For FY 2009, NNSA approved salary increase budgets in July 2008 that ranged between 3.5% and 6.1%. However, more recent data indicates that most commercial companies, who are providing salary increases in 2009, have revised their salary increase budgets to between 2% and 3%. Additionally, a recent survey by Grant Thornton LLP shows that 65% of companies surveyed said that they will not give pay raises in 2009. Since our contractors have already distributed their 2009 increases they have likely gained ground in pay relative to their market competitors. Therefore any CIP request greater than 3% will be heavily scrutinized given the data available to date. Updated data will become available by August and should be incorporated into the contractor's FY2010 submissions. Contractors shall perform their usual market analysis to determine their CIP request. It is imperative that annual Compensation Increase Plans (CIPs) submitted for NNSA approval contain adequate, up-to-date information in order for NNSA to make informed decisions regarding expenditure of taxpayer money.

Contracting Officers are hereby requested to make appropriate contract changes to facilitate the October 1st submission date for CIPs with increase salary payment dates that allow PEP evaluation consideration in setting pay increase and bonus amounts for employees. Please direct questions to David Boyd, Director Office of Acquisition and Supply Management, at (202) 586-7554.

Cc: Site Office Contracting Officers
NA-63
NNSA Service Center/OBS
Posted by Frank Young at 8:49 PM

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Will Z improve with the new program leader?

Anonymous said...

Will Z improve with the new program leader?

June 1, 2009 10:51 PM

Monday, June 1, 2009

What's up with ranking this year?

Anonymous said..

What's up with ranking this year?

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