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


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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Funding nukes to eliminate them

Interesting view from The Strategic and International studies

Invisible costs!

Anonymously contributed:

Read this George:

Warren Buffet writes in the Berkshire-Hathaway annual letter to shareholders this year that:

"We would rather suffer the visible costs of a few bad decisions than incur the many invisible costs that come from decisions made too slowly – or not at all – because of a stifling bureaucracy."

Compare this to the DOE/NNSA/LLNS and LANS, who would rather suffer the many invisible costs from decisions made too slowly--or not at all--because of a stifling bureaucracy than incur the visible costs of a few bad decisions.

This in a nutshell is what has gone so wrong at the Labs and their owning agencies, by Congressional demand.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vehicle safety

Here is a message from the PAO: read second sentence: does it make sense?
You cannot be wearing yyour seat belt when exiting your vehicle!


Laboratory colleagues:

Last year we had the first and only fatality on site in the history
of the Lab. You will remember that one of our colleagues was not
wearing his seat belt when exiting the running vehicle he was driving

We continue to hear about situations where employees are involved
with dangerous moving vehicular situations. There have been several
recent incidents of employees exiting running vehicles. Thankfully,
no one was injured but there were near misses.

I have made the error of exiting running vehicles myself. I can say
from my own personal experience that changing 40-plus-years of
ingrained habits requires constant attention and vigilance. It takes
great self-awareness to break bad habits. Personal and work safety
includes an enormous spectrum of activities and discipline. But it
can be the difference between life and death.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How was your raise?

Anonymously contributed:

I'd like to hear about the raises again. Did anyone quit over the poor raises, or are they taking it in stride? Are people working less, or putting in resumes to other corporations? Anyone file an administrative review over a zero raise? Any luck?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where was LLNL?

Where was the LLNL when it came to this?

Looks like we missed the boat again people. We've basically done nothing good for the immediate needs of the country since Starwars, and we most certainly could never accomplish what we did then in the same period of time. I’m so disgusted with this place it’s unreal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Strange posting:

ANonymously contributed:
This is posted on L-hire. Can someone tell me whta a 10% Group Leader is?
Is that the same as asking a judge, mayor, Captain, etc.. to work part-time?

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) Computing (NIFC) Division within the Computing Applications and Research (CAR) Department has an opening for a 10% Group Leader in the Test Group. The successful candidate will manage NIFC computer scientists and technicians supporting software and/or hardware controls verification and validation for the NIF. The candidate will participate in NIFC Division hiring, performance evaluations, peer grouping and salary management. Candidate must currently have a technical assignment in support of the NIF Project. Candidate will report to the NIFC Division Leader.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Does the Secretary of Energy have a bit too much free time?

Anonymously contributed:

Does the Secretary of Energy have a bit too much free time?

Cal physicist helps confirm Einstein theory
David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle Science Editor
Monday, February 22, 2010

A UC Berkeley physicist and a Nobel prize-winning colleague now in President Obama's Cabinet report they have confirmed one of Albert Einstein's most revolutionary theories 10,000 times more accurately than ever before.

Einstein's theory of general relativity has already been tested and confirmed to a degree as a true picture of reality by scores of experimenters, ever since he proposed it to the world nearly a century ago.

In the immediate decades after the theory's publication, legend had it that only 12 people in the world could understand it, although physicists have long revered it. Even today, relativity remains an arcane subject for most of us, but it does have relevance to all science and even to everyday life - for meticulous timekeepers, for space explorers, for astronomers studying black holes and even for anyone driving a car with a Global Positioning System device navigating around the Bay Area's tricky freeway mazes.

One basic prediction from Einstein's theory is that the tug of gravity makes clocks slow down.

Now Holger Müller, a physicist at UC Berkeley, together with Steven Chu, former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and now Obama's energy secretary, as well as Achim Peters of Humboldt University in Berlin, report they have developed what is by far the best confirmation yet of Einstein's monumental achievement.

Details of their work are published in the current issue of the journal Nature…

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fleeting Youth, Fading Creativity

Anonymously contributed:

Here's an interesting article from WSJ.

"Another possible factor in the decline of successful young scientists is the institutions and funding mechanisms that discourage the sort of risky research that produces major innovations. Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University who has studied the funding bodies that support the arts, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, notes that these institutions frequently become more risk-averse over time. "They become more beholden to special interests and fall under greater political scrutiny," he says. The end result is an increasing unwillingness to support projects that might fail. Mr. Cowen notes, for instance, that the NEA has gone from directly funding "whomever they wanted, with very little scrutiny"—this led to many success and scandals, such as the furor over Robert Mapplethorpe—to a recent focus on Shakespeare, classic jazz and the teaching of poetry in high school. While such programs are laudable, they're also unlikely to produce major cultural innovations.

I'm betting the next Lawrence Fellow will be doing more simulations of radiation damage. That's despite a total lack of support for LIFE in Washington. Does this mean that we are being audacious or autocratic? Was there ever any rationale provided for shifting LDRD towards the institutional SI? The trend seems to be towards centralized control.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interesting topics on Director's Office "Topics and Questions" website

Anonymously contributed:

I ran across these on the Director's Office "Topics and Questions" website on the internal LLNL website, and thought they might be of interest.

Q: I heard rumors that NNSA may raid our TCP1 fund to help fund other sites’ defined benefit plans? Is this true and is it legal?

A: No, NNSA cannot touch the LLNS Defined Benefit Retirement Plan (TCP1) funds. The plan is governed by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which means that all of the plan’s assets must remain in the plan (that is, the plan’s assets cannot be “raided”). Regarding the status of the other NNSA sites’ defined benefit plans, NNSA is looking for funds throughout the complex to make contributions to under-funded plans. These other funds could be operating funds from all sites in the complex, which could affect our Laboratory’s operating budget — but not the LLNS Defined Benefit Retirement Plan (TCP1).

Q: Will employees in TCP1 have to start making contributions to the plan?

A: At the present time, LLNS does not anticipate the need to initiate employee contributions to the LLNS Defined Benefit Plan (TCP1). The plan was funded at approximately 150 percent as of Jan. 1, 2009, which is a very healthy level compared to other defined benefit plans. The next valuation will be performed using plan information as of Jan. 1, 2010 — this process is under way.

Nuke Spending Boost Needed to Disarm, Biden Says

ANonymously contributed:

Global Security Newswire

Nuke Spending Boost Needed to Disarm, Biden Says
Friday, Feb. 19, 2010

U.S. nuclear-weapon laboratories require a dramatic funding boost to help maintain the reliability of the nation's nuclear deterrent as the Obama administration pursues further arsenal reductions and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said in a speech yesterday (see GSN, Feb. 18).

The administration plans to seek more than $5 billion in additional funding over five years for sustaining the U.S. nuclear complex and deterrent, starting with a $624 million increase in fiscal 2011. The $7 billion request submitted this month would increase nuclear weapon-related spending by 13.5 percent in the next budget cycle, according to the Associated Press.

Despite 10 years of budget reductions at the National Nuclear Security Administration, the semiautonomous Energy Department agency that oversees the U.S. nuclear stockpile, "our labs know more about our arsenal today than when they were able to explode weapons (in tests)," Biden said...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The truth about reclassification

The SPSE said this last year about the 200 reclassification (Thank you SPSE!):

The first ever reclassification of professionals at the Lab is in progress and is expected to be implemented early in 2010. The Scientist and Engineers Classification Project (internal Lab link) started last year with an announcement in the October 20th Newsline. The project started with recommendations from the Compensation Review Board that were released in August of last year.
After months of work by a select committee of 200-series employees charged with defining new job classification levels within the 200 series (Scientists and Engineers), the final model (internal Lab link), approved by LLNS and DOE, has been released. The purpose of this reclassification project is ostensibly to provide a clearly defined career promotion path for scientists and engineers. But, if this were its true purpose, why do the classification levels, IC-1 through IC-5, look much like the current rank groups?
The effect of placing all 200-series employees in these new IC levels will basically be to lock-in the current rank order. The good thing about that is no more dramatic drops in ranking from one year to the next, as some employees have experienced in the past. The bad thing is that it will likely be even more difficult to move up, too. Have you ever asked your supervisor what you have to do to move up a rank group? Were you given a “clear path” of how to do that?
There is another, more serious downside to this proposed reclassification. To explain, a little historical background is required first. The Lab used to have classification levels for scientists and engineers. In the late ‘70s SPSE played a prominent role in bringing about the California Public Records Act (CPRA). As UC employees, information on salaries for all public-sector employees in California became publicly available. With pay and promotion practices of Lab management open to scrutiny, discriminatory practices began to become more and more apparent, leading eventually to a number of discrimination complaints and lawsuits. Instead of correcting the discriminatory practices, Lab management simply eliminated the classification levels.
We lost a lot of things at the transition to private company management of the Lab, but arguably the most important thing we lost is access to information under the CPRA. This is why you no longer see salary data or SPSE’s publication of the yearly S-curve. Since there is no longer openness and transparency in pay and promotion practices, the job reclassification process is sure to become just as arbitrary and corrupt as the ranking process has been.
We welcome your feedback and comments on this article. Please respond by sending comments to, and we will publish a synopsis so there will be an open channel for comments on the S&E Classification Project other than the one picked by management.

More on Bechtel...

Anonymously contributed:
You dont have to look further than the US to discover Bechtel's reputatiion.
You can find it here:

Bechtel Defends Role in Bolivia

Anonymously contributed: moved from under the post "is privatization better in th e long run?":

"Bechtel Defends Role in Bolivia" on PBS Frontline

You can expect to hear the same PR story from Bechtel about how they are effectively "handling" the management of the NNSA labs for greater cost efficiency.

Bechtel owns the heart and soul of what's left of LLNL and LANL. Their 'Judas Goats' are everywhere in the circles of the labs' top management.

Perhaps PBS Frontline should do an investigative report someday on how Bechtel and BWXT turned the nuclear weapons complex into one of the most profitable endeavors in the whole US government. They should concentrate on how a non-profit management contract was covertly converted into a profit based contract that increased the government's costs by over 1000%.

Now, that would be some story!

Berrylium exposures.

Anonymously contributed (not verified):

Be: there were two Be incidents at LLNL last week; 321A personal where found machining Be in a uncontroled area. the personal where exposed to the Be and had to be treated for the exposure.383 someone had brought Be into the 383 machine shop offices thus exposing personal and facility to Be.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is privatization better in the long run?

Anonymously contributed:

I thought I recognized the new business MO.

Yes, corporate efficiency is a strict taskmaster, and, yes, privatization is a difficult process, but it's better for everyone in the long run! It's change we can believe in, right?

BLOGs monitoring.

Anonymously contributed:

The Department of Homeland Security has disclosed that it will be monitoring the comments and posts on websites and social media like Twitter for information on possible terror threats.

To DHS: No terrorist threats on this blog. Just bad LANL (and LLNL) management coming to light.

Hello, Ben Dover Here Again

Hello, Ben Dover here again. It seems like it was just yesterday, when I got the shaft from LLNS - Oh wait, It was just a few days ago so I guess yesterday is close enough.

I was hoping to finally replace my old POS Honda with a new one this year after a year of promises from my management that I was doing a great job and would be rewarded for it. My raise for the entire year would not even make a single payment. The job market still stinks and I owe more money on the house than it's worth.

Now with the point of this post. We are all in a real stinking job market - whether you get a 0.5% raise or a 5.0% raise it's still not that much money. I have friends who have been out of work for more than a year now. I have friends who took a pay cut in order to keep their jobs. The "good ol' boys" got huge raises and bonuses while they shafted anyone not in their club. My guess would be that those who got less than package were those that ULM knows they can't just pack up and leave - not those who did a poor job. Heck, there is no one left who does a bad job anymore. We are all doing the work of at least two people, living in dirty offices and bringing in our own office supplies in order to do our jobs.

Thank you to Uncle George, Uncle Ed and Uncle Steve. I'm holding up one finger. Can you guess which one it is?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What do you think of the 200 reclassification project?

Anonymously asked:
What do people think of the "Scientist and Engineer" reclassification project. Is doing away with the 200 series job classification really going to improve the Lab?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

POGO requests White House intervention for Los Alamos

Anonymously contributed:

POGO (or Project on Governement Oversight) Requests White House Intervention for Los Alamos

Time for a Different Kind of "Energetic Reaction" at Los Alamos

POGO has obtained a recent internal memo from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) demonstrating a steady lapse in enforcement of safety policies at the Los Alamos Site Office. The contents don't paint a pretty picture, noting a sense of déjà vu about recent safety episodes, including (but "not limited to") shock and burn of a worker, several explosions, and a certain incident with a large-bore powder gun:

These events are similar to each other and to prior events, indicating that prior corrective actions have not been fully effective or have degraded with time. Without appropriate management focus, evaluation, and response, these could become precursors to incidents of even greater significance, up to and including serious injuries or fatalities.

What do you plan to do with your raises

Anonymously asked:
What do you plan to do with your raise?

Note from Scooby: Hey original poster, it would good if you are the first to answer your own question.

Air Force Abruptly Decertifies Nuclear Warheads

Anonymously contributed:

Another "By the way..." story.

Air Force Abruptly Decertifies Nuclear Warheads Unit in New Mexico

Would think this would be getting more coverage in the news.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DOE alters bid policies for national labs

Anonymously contributed:

DOE alters bid policies for national labs

How was this overlooked?

I guess we don’t care or are just so in agreement with current contracting practice.

DOE alters bid policies for national labs
RICHLAND — The Department of Energy no longer will automatically seek bids for management of national laboratories, including Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and may instead renew agreements with current contractors.

In a new policy statement, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the practice common under the previous presidential administration DOE alters bid policies for national labs under Chu's leadership, the decision on whether to open management contracts for competition will be decided case by case.

I know a few M&Os that would like to apply this decision retroactively.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More emergency drills.

Anonymously asked:

Anyone know why there seem to be a lot of emergency drills going on around the lab?

Lay Off the Layoffs

Anonymously contributed by a contributor who dropped this article as a comment in the
post "Is Lab renting space?".
I dont see the link to the topic; was going to delete it but decided it was interesting enough to turn into a new post (Hey contributor, use the new topic section, next time)

=== Lay Off the Layoffs (Newsweek, Feb 5) ===

Our over-reliance on downsizing is killing workers, the economy — and even the bottom line.

On Sept. 12, 2001, there were no commercial flights in the United States. It was uncertain when airlines would be permitted to start flying again—or how many customers would be on them. Airlines faced not only the tragedy of 9/11 but the fact that economy was entering a recession. So almost immediately, all the U.S. airlines, save one, did what so many U.S. corporations are particularly skilled at doing: they began announcing tens of thousandANyns of layoffs. Today the one airline that didn't cut staff, Southwest, still has never had an involuntary layoff in its almost 40-year history. It's now the largest domestic U.S. airline and has a market capitalization bigger than all its domestic competitors combined. As its former head of human resources once told me: "If people are your most important assets, why would you get rid of them?"

...Anyone who's suffered a layoff or watched a loved one lose a job can understand why downsizees exhibit increased rates of alcoholism, smoking, drug abuse, and depression. In economic terms, we should think of these as "externalities," just like air and water pollution, since many of the costs of these behaviors and ailments are borne by the larger society.

Despite all the research suggesting downsizing hurts companies, managers everywhere continue to do it. That raises an obvious question: why? Part of the answer lies in the immense pressure corporate leaders feel—from the media, from analysts, from peers—to follow the crowd no matter what. When SAS Institute, the $2 billion software company, considered going public about a decade ago, its potential underwriter told the company to do things that would make it look more like other software companies: pay sales people on commission, offer stock options, and cut back on the lavish benefits that landed SAS at No. 1 on Fortune's annual Best Places to Work list. (SAS stayed private.) It's an example of how managerial behavior can be contagious, spreading like the flu across companies. One study of downsizing over a 15-year period found a strong "adoption effect"—companies copied the behavior of other firms to which they had social ties.


Something to think about, esp. considering the previous LLNS layoffs and possible future layoffs to come.

And with which company do both LLNS and LANS have strong "social ties" to spread the "contagion" which Newsweek speaks of?

I guess in the case of LLNL and LANL that contagion would most likely be coming from Bechtel.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Former LANL blog readers should be welcome

Anonymously contributed:

I think we should welcome refugees from the LANL blog. As a sister lab, they may bring insight,intelligence, and a breath of life back into this blog.
1. ask the lanl blog owner to put a new post with a link to this site.
2. preface lanl specific topics with:

Is Lab renting space to private companies?

Anonymously contributed:

I hear the Lab is trying to rent space to private companies. There seems to be more emphasis on providing a good place to do business, but the work does not necessarily have to be with the Lab itself. Maybe we can highlight our great lunch facilities.

Can anyone confirm?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

GAO Calls for More Uniform Security Standards at U.S. Nuclear Sites

Anonymously contributed:

GAO Calls for More Uniform Security Standards at U.S. Nuclear Sites

The Obama administration should further standardize training and management protocols for security forces charged with protecting sites that hold weapon-grade nuclear material, congressional investigators asserted in a Government Accountability Office report issued Friday (see GSN, Dec. 23, 2009).

The U.S. Energy Department depends on more than 2,000 private contractors to safeguard six permanent sites for storing and working with plutonium and highly enriched uranium, GAO auditors found. The department has moved toward adopting training standards for the forces comparable to U.S. military instruction, but the six sites have progressed unevenly toward adopting key "Tactical Response Force" requirements, according to the report.

The facilities are the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico; the Y-12 National Security Complex in ennessee; the Pantex Plant in Texas; the Nevada Test Site; the Savannah River Site in South Carolina; and the Idaho National Laboratory.

The Energy Department last year deemed a potential federal security force to be an insufficiently cost-effective means of bolstering the security of the nuclear-weapon facilities. In an effort to lower costs, the department's National Nuclear Security Administration launched one program aimed at lowering costs by supplying common uniforms, weapons and other equipment for security forces (U.S. Government Accountability Office release, Jan. 29).

More beauracracy will improve the security of NNSA Sites?

Health spending accounts in 2010

Anonymously contributed:

This might be old, old, old news, but we only signed up for the SHPS health spending account this year. Having read the fine print, which defers to the IRS, I just found out from that venerable institution that kids under age 25 by the end of the tax year are covered for SHPS expenses under their rules---and the IRS is SHPS's Higher Power. All HSAs are tax-shelters, not health plans. (LLNS shouldn't even care since it's not costing them anything.) Might be of extreme interest to those employees with college-age kids, as LLNS cuts students off from all benefits on their 22nd birthdays!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chu names Blue Ribbon Commission

Anonymously contributed:

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. The commission, led by former Congressman Lee Hamilton and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft will provide recommendations for developing a safe, long-term solution to managing the Nation’s used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

Ho hum…another Blue Ribbon Committee that will spend $millions with boondogles to Russia, Europe, etc. only to produce a report in 2 years that will most likely say we need to do more R&D. Do you think they’ll study the Yucca Mountain option?

This is how the current Admin supports nuclear energy without ever really expanding nuclear energy.

In 2012 a new Admin will perhaps restart Yucca Mtn.

Monday, February 1, 2010

NNSA Administrator D’Agostino to Brief Reporters on the President’s FY2011 Budget

Anonymous said...

NNSA Administrator D’Agostino to Brief Reporters on the President’s FY2011 Budget Request for NNSA Monday,Feb 01, 2010

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Thomas D’Agostino will brief reporters on President Obama’s FY2011 budget request on Monday, Feb. 1 at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

Administrator D’Agostino will highlight NNSA’s commitment to managing the stockpile without nuclear testing, working with our international partners to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, recapitalizing the nuclear security enterprise, strengthening our ability to recruit the next generation of nuclear security experts, and continuing the management reforms that enable effective stewardship of the taxpayer’s money.

February 1, 2010 6:16 AM

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