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. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Thursday, March 31, 2011

UPTE meeting al LANL

I don't know how many have received the invitation to the UPTE presentation in Los Alamos, so I thought I post it here:

To a reprise of UPTE’s presentation to the National Academy of Sciences Committee to Review the Quality of the Management and of the Science and Engineering Research at the Department of Energy’s National Security Laboratories:



“Effects of Privatization on the DOE/NNSA Labs’ Science and National Security Missions”



Date: Thursday, April 7



Place: Best Western Hilltop House Hotel

400 Trinity Dr at Central, Los Alamos



Time: 5:30 pm

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nat’l Academy Panel Takes Aim at Fee Issues in Lab Visit

Anonymously contributed:

An Update on the NAS review from
Nuclear Weapons Monitor

March 23, 2011
Nat’l Academy Panel Takes Aim at Fee Issues in Lab Visit

What, exactly, is the National Nuclear Security Agency getting for the money it spends on its management contracts at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories? That was the implicit question behind an exchange Tuesday between former Lawrence Berkeley lab director Charles Shank and Paul Hommert, current head of Sandia National Laboratories. Shank co-chairs a National Academy of Sciences panel looking at science and engineering management at the nuclear weapons laboratories, and during a meeting at Sandia yesterday, Shank said the panel's members were trying to figure out what the government was getting for the money it spends on management contracts at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, more than double---and in Los Alamos' case nearly triple---the $25 million a year it pays Lockheed Martin to run Sandia.

Hommert, who appeared taken aback by the question, noted that for most of Sandia's history, AT&T managed the lab for $1 a year. Today's fee difference in part reflects a different risk profile, because Sandia has no major nuclear operations. As for the benefits of a higher fee, Hommert pointed to Lockheed Martin's use of some of the money to match employee United Way contributions, then suggested that some of the money from an increased fee might be pumped back into the lab to support Sandia's research base---an issue of intense interest among members of the NRC panel.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nat'l Academy's Weapons Lab Panel Hits The Road

Anonymously contributed:
From
Weapons Complex Monitor
March 17, 2011

Nat'l Academy's Weapons Lab Panel Hits The Road

The National Academy of Sciences panel tasked with studying the health of the National Nuclear Security Administration's three nuclear weapons laboratories and the impact privatizing management has had on the institutions will hold public meetings at all three of the labs it is studying over the next month or so. The panel, which is chaired by former Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director Charles Shank and UCLA professor Kumar Patel, will host a meeting next week at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and will visit Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in April.

At the March 22-23 Sandia meeting, the panel will hear testimony from a handful of lab officials, including current lab director Paul Hommert as well as retired lab director Tom Hunter and Sandia Site Office Manager Patty Wagner. The panel will visit Los Alamos April 11-12 and Lawrence Livermore April 26-27, but agendas for those meetings have not been released.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anastasio Reorganizes LANS

Anastasio Reorganizes LANS

With 3-months left at LANS, Anastasio forms a "Bechtel" Principal Associate Directorate (PADCAP) and "selects" a Bechtel Manager without posting the position. It appears the "lame duck" Anastasio has begun his pardons and favors. Come one, come all from Bechtel to join PADCAP.

SUBJECT: Organizational Restructuring

Today, I am announcing a new senior leadership position - Principal Associate Director for Capital Projects (PADCAP) - and a restructuring that will shift the project management functions from the Project Management & Site Services (ADPMSS) directorate, together with the directorate for Environmental Programs (ADEP) in its entirety, to the new PAD organization.

I have selected Paul Henry as the PADCAP. Paul is a Bechtel senior manager who brings 32 years of construction and enterprise management experience to the Lab. He will relocate from Pueblo, Colorado, where he has served most recently as project manager on the megaproject to safely destroy the stockpile of deadly mustard chemical agent at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Unprecedented Raises at LANS

Anonymously contributed:

In an unprecedented communication, LANS has announced a 2-percent pay increase to all LANS employees. Make sure you give full-credit, appreciation, and accolades to LANS Management for making this happen!

Great Financial News!

If you have not noticed already, employees’ take-home pay in effect increased by 2 percent in 2011 as a result of the Tax Relief Act of 2010, which lowered workers’ Social Security (FICA) tax withholdings from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. The employer portion remains the same at 6.2 percent.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Livermore lab watchdog group appeals decision to allow research on bioterror agents

Anonymously contributed:

Livermore lab watchdog group appeals decision to allow research on bioterror agents
By Suzanne Bohan
Contra Costa Times
03/11/2011 11:01:09 PM PST

Tri-Valley CAREs, a Lawrence Livermore Laboratory watchdog group, on Friday appealed a district court's ruling that Lawrence Livermore Laboratory can study deadly pathogens such as anthrax.

The appeal, filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenges a September ruling of the U.S. District Court in Oakland that permits the Department of Energy to proceed with research at secured facility called Biosafety Level-3, or BSL-3. The Energy Department oversees the national security lab.

The research involves the study of microbes such as anthrax, plague, Q fever and other deadly pathogens.

The group is requesting that the appeals court reverse the earlier ruling and require a comprehensive environmental assessment before the research with the microbes continues. Tri-Valley CAREs describes the work as "biowarfare research."

A lab spokesman strenuously objected to the characterization.

Biowarfare research is illegal under a convention signed by the United States, said Steve Wampler.

Instead, he said, the biosafety researchers seek new technologies for detecting these pathogens, including in public places such as train terminals.

"What we are trying to do is develop bio-detection technology to protect and help innocent civilians," he said.

Earlier court decisions have affirmed the safety of the facility, he said. "This is probably one of the best-protected BSL-3 facilities in the country," he said. "We have protective service officers, we have fences, we have limited access to the building to only a few people."

A Tri-Valley CAREs attorney said the government's own analysis indicates the danger level.

An Energy Department study found sabotage or terrorism a low probability but also found that a hostile breach of the facility could have devastating consequences, said attorney Scott Yundt.

The analysis "acknowledged potentially great consequences of an act if it were to occur, but failed to analyze those consequences," Yundt said.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Congress Seen Cutting Obama's Nuke Budget

Anonymously contributed:

Congress Seen Cutting Obama's Nuke Budget
Friday, March 11, 2011 – Global Security Newswire

Recently defeated budget bills suggest fiscal 2011 funding for the maintenance of U.S. nuclear weapons will ultimately fall below levels sought by the Obama administration, the Albuquerque Journal reported on Thursday (see GSN, March 3).

President Obama requested $7 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration's weapons stockpile activities in the current budget cycle, which ends on September 30. Congress has yet to approve a final budget for the current fiscal year and the federal government is operating under a continuing funding resolution set to expire next Friday.

The fiscal 2011 spending budget passed by the House of Representatives would provide $6.7 billion for nuclear stockpile work. Though the amount is less than what Obama sought, it would provide a 7 percent increase over fiscal 2010 funding levels. A separate Senate budget proposal would have allotted $6.8 billion to NNSA weapons programs.

Though neither the Democrat-sponsored Senate plan nor the Republican-backed House proposal acquired enough votes for passage in the Senate on Wednesday, the fiscal 2011 stockpile funding levels offered by both bills suggest the ultimate amount would fall between $6.7 and $6.8 billion, Friends Committee on National Legislation lobbyist David Culp said.

"The Senate cut less, but certainly followed suit," Union of Concerned Scientists stockpile policy analyst Nickolas Roth said.

The debate over stockpile funding in the current budget cycle indicates fiscal 2012 funding negotiations could be similarly contentious, Culp added.

The White House is seeking $7.6 billion for NNSA "weapons activities" in fiscal 2012, according to a previous report (John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal, March 10).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LANS Pension Numbers and Balances

LANS Pension Numbers and Balances

Anonymously contributed:


I recently checked my retirement contributions being "held" by LANS. Until recently, I was showing $26K in pension contributions (prior to LANS) with interest. To my dismay I checked my balance to find it zeroed, i.e., $0. I called Hewlett and after waiting 15-minutes they informed me that there was "glitch in the system". I would highly recommend that those that are on TCP-1 verify the accuracy of information "regularly". I have absolutely no confidence or trust in LANS or Hewlett, especially with my money. Zero! None!

New uniform

Anonymously contributed:

Does anyone else think that the new LLNL Security Officer "US Army clone" combat fatigues look silly? They look like clowns not security/law enforcement professionals. The Lab isn't a military base located in remote desert, it's suppose to be a civilian run research facility located in the suburbs. What a waste of money, especially since half of these officers will be let go when the SNM leaves and security is downgraded at the site in the next year or so.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Livermore Moves Closer to Annexing National Lab Properties

Anonymously contributed:

Expanded city limits linked to economic development efforts.
By James Brice (livermore.patch.com)
March 2, 2011

A plan to bring the campuses of Lawrence Livermore and Sandia California national laboratories inside the city limits of Livermore moved closer to reality Tuesday with a unanimous vote of the city’s planning commission to recommend the proposal to the City Council.

The annexation plan would expand Livermore’s southeastern boundaries to cover 15 land parcels covering 1,022 acres east of Vasco Road, south of Patterson Pass Road and west of Greenville Road.

The property includes the 627-acre campus of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the 390-acre site of Sandia California National Laboratory. The land is now in an unincorporated area of Alameda County. The labs' campuses are owned by the federal government.

Two privately-owned parcels covering five acres composed of a private residence and vacant lot, and Greenville Road right-of-way between Patterson Pass Road and about 400 feet south of East Avenue to the South Bay Aqueduct also would be included in the city limits.

The proposal drew few comments and no opposition before Tuesday night’s vote, though several members expressed support for arguments favoring annexation in a 15-page analysis by the city’s planning staff.

It said annexation could aid economic development through the Green Advanced Transportation Excellence (i-GATE) Innovation Hub (iHub), a long-term collaboration between lab scientists, Las Positas College and private businesses. The report estimated that i-GATE could create more than 5,000 jobs and add more than $1 billion to the local economy in less than 10 years.

The Livermore Valley was identified by California state government in February 2010 as one of six inaugural hubs to warrant i-GATE iHub designation.

Though more than 30 East Bay agencies and organization are involved, the participation of LLNL and Sandia was considered pivotal for the initiative.

LLNL and Sandia California fulfill broadly based research and development roles for the Departments of Energy and Defense, and intelligence communities. Their scientists design nuclear weapons for the Department of Defense and assure the integrity of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Their missions recently have shifted in step with the expanded mission of the DOE into alternative-energy development and strategies to fight global warming.

The Livermore annexation effort was first proposed in mid-2009, about the same time city officials began lobbying the state for iHUB designation, according to Rob White, Livermore’s economic development director and iHUB coordinator.

If adopted, the annexation plan would set aside about 200 acres of LLNL property at the intersection of Greenville Road and East Ave for a Livermore Open Campus, as a site devoted to public-private research collaborations, White said in an interview after the vote.

“Annexation is consistent with the laboratories’ goals, the city’s goals and the Innovation Hub’s goals,” he said.

The annexation plan will assure appropriate transportation access to the open campus along Greenville Avenue and that research facilities built on campus meet the needs of its lab, academic, and commercial collaborators.

“We want to make sure that everyone is on the same page,” White said. “(Annexation will) allow us to coordinate this in a way that Alameda County was unable to coordinate.”

The Livermore City Council will hear public comments about the annexation proposal at its March 14 meeting. An expanded staff report will be available for review at City Hall on March 10 after 3:30 p.m.

If adopted, the plan will be forwarded to Alameda County’s Local Agency Formation Commission for final action.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An LBNL campus in Dublin, CA: Interesting idea...

Anonymoulsly contributed:

Dublin City Council Supports Hosting Lawrence Berkeley Lab

The City Council asks the mayor to provide a letter of support for the proposal for a lab at Camp Parks.
By David Mills (dublin.patch.com)
March 2, 2011

The Dublin City Council has joined the campaign to bring another laboratory to the city.

The council Tuesday night directed Mayor Tim Sbranti to provide a letter of support for a second Lawrence Berkeley National Lab campus in Dublin.

The letter backs a proposal by Argent Development Group to build the science research lab on land at U.S. Army Reserve's Camp Parks.

City Council members were adamant that Dublin is the perfect place for the facility.

They said Dublin is home to two other labs in addition to being next door to the Lawrence Livermore Lab. They also noted that the new West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and the transit hub and housing planned around the station would provide transportation and housing for lab workers.

"We can offer a really great package," said Sbranti.

The council talked about the jobs and prestige the lab would bring to the city.

"This could be a game changer for Dublin," the mayor said.

Lawrence Berkeley issued a formal request in early January for communities within a 20- or 25-minute drive of the current facility in the hills above U.C. Berkeley to submit proposals touting their qualifications to house the lab.

The prestigious laboratory is looking for space to expand and consolidate satellite sites in Walnut Creek, Emeryville and west Berkeley. 

Attributes being sought by the lab include the ability to build a "state-of-the-art facility in a beautiful environment," and space for up to 2 million square feet of laboratory, office and support facilities.

The lab's request said the site should be in a safe and welcoming community and have access to public transportation and other amenities, including restaurants, hotels, recreation facilities and child-care centers.

UC says a short list of site contenders will be announced by the end of March and a site will be chosen by June

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1000 more to go

Anonymously contributed:

Note from Scooby: Hey contributor: who is this message from?

1000 more to go. I say lets Get-R-Done ASAP Nationally across the board.

To: all-employee
Subject: Update

As I promised to do in my column earlier this week, I want to update everyone as to the actions we're taking to inform Congress about what impact serious Federal budget cuts would have on the national laboratories.

I spent most of this week in Washington, D.C. with several of my fellow lab directors, visiting members of Congress. We delivered the message that thousands of jobs would be lost, and America's competitiveness and capacity for innovation in scientific research would be seriously jeopardized in both the short and long term if cuts proposed by the House are enacted. We plan to continue making those points with lawmakers between now and March 4, when the continuing resolution currently funding the Federal Government runs out.

To bring the point home, the laboratories undertook a budget exercise, showing how devastating an 18 percent cut would be in the middle of the fiscal year. For SLAC, such a cut would mean most activity at the lab would stop for the rest of the fiscal year and we would have to lay off or furlough up to 1000 staff. This message has made headway with some lawmakers, who discussed it in a press conference yesterday. A story about how the cuts would affect SLAC ran today in the Palo Alto Weekly on line.

It's important to keep in mind that these numbers represent a worst-case scenario. As I said in my column, there is a significant difference between what is being proposed by the House Appropriations Committee, and the President's budget priorities. It remains unlikely that a budget would pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the President with cuts as severe as these. Nevertheless, it's crucial that we continue to communicate how SLAC and other laboratories are making a difference, not only in providing jobs and benefits to our communities, but how innovations arising from national laboratory research is changing people's lives every day.

I'll continue to keep you informed as the situation develops.

Persis

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