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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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bureaucracy Strangles National Laboratories

Anonymous contributed:

This article below from the ABQ Journal that came out today by John Fleck is a "must read":

*** Bureaucracy Strangles National Laboratories ***

By John Fleck / Journal Staff Writer on Tue, Feb 28, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

DOE cowboy!

Anonymously contributed.

Congressional Testimony Reinforces Picture Of Damage To Labs from Federal Micromanagement

Anonymously contributed:

Congressional Testimony Reinforces Picture Of Damage To Labs from Federal Micromanagement

From the Independent 2/24/2012:
Too big to post all here, see complete at:

posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 12:05 pm, Thu Feb 23, 2012.
By Jeff Garberson
Critical Congressional testimony last week strongly reinforced concerns expressed only two days earlier in a national report about the damage that federal micromanagement is inflicting on the nation’s three national security laboratories, including Lawrence Livermore.
The testimony was delivered to a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee by several former laboratory directors, including Livermore’s George Miller and Michael Anastasio.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A message from the LLNL director on LANL workforce plan

A message from the LLNL director on LANL workforce plan

You may have seen that Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced it is working with NNSA to develop a workforce plan to help mitigate the impact of budget shortfalls at LANL for fiscal year 2012.

Our Laboratory remains on a sound footing for FY12. As you know, there is still a great deal of uncertainty in Washington over final appropriations for FY13 and beyond, and LLNL senior leaders continue to work the situation very closely. The Laboratory can remain on a sound footing if final appropriations for FY13 are consistent with FY12.

LLNL senior management is working proactively to maintain stability throughout the expected federal budget turmoil, to include a possible yearlong Continuing Resolution at the end of FY12, while keeping the entire institution fiscally sound and meeting the demands of our many missions.

Parney Albright

Budget Forced Delay of Los Alamos Plutonium Lab

Anonymously contributed:

From Global Security Newswire
Feb. 21, 2012

Budget Forced Delay of Los Alamos Plutonium Lab: DOE Secretary

Spending restrictions forced the Obama administration to slash funding for a plutonium facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Thursday (see GSN, Feb. 14).

The Energy Department's semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration plans a five-year delay in construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement site, which would supplant a decades-old facility that provides analytical chemistry and other research services for production of plutonium nuclear-weapon cores at Los Alamos. The replacement plant is now estimated to cost up to $6 billion.

"Because of the budget constraints ... we have to look at all the other projects and we felt we could not simply start CMRR and the Uranium Processing Facility at Oak Ridge," the Albuquerque Journal quoted Chu as saying during a Senate committee hearing. "We felt there was more compelling reason to begin with that" UPF site at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee.

A senior NNSA official last week said the deterioration of an existing Y-12 facility for processing weapon-grade uranium demanded that the Uranium Processing Facility take precedence. The administration is seeking $340 million for the project in the budget year that begins on Oct. 1.

Some observers have said the budget decision spells the end for the Los Alamos plutonium facility. Chu, though, said his department intends to move ahead with design of the site to 90 percent.

"That's very prudent because for a number of reasons, before you start construction it is best to have most of it designed," he told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said Chu skirted his questions about the plutonium project but that he would continue to pursue the matter.

"The truth is we don't know at this point whether there is a case to be made that they are making a mistake here," the lawmaker said. "Clearly, the projected cost of this facility has grown enormously, and I'm sure that's one reason they've decided not to go forward with it as this point."

LANL Downsizing begins

Anonymously contributed:

From: Charles F. McMillan

Date: February 21, 2012

Subject: Cost Management and Workforce Planning

On Thursday, the Laboratory submitted a plan to NNSA calling for a
voluntary separation program (VSP) with a severance package based
on years of service. There are three main reasons why we are
taking this action now:

* Our current budget and future financial outlook require
significant cost-cutting to position the Lab for FY13 and
beyond. In FY12 alone, we face a budget reduction of around
$300 million across multiple programs.
* By implementing a voluntary separation plan, we mitigate the
possibility of an involuntary separation program later; and
* We are positioning the Laboratory to meet future mission
needs with a smaller workforce. For a variety of reasons,
attrition has been low for the last three years, so we
cannot rely on attrition alone to achieve workforce

When I established the Laboratory Integrated Stewardship Council
(LISC) in November, I knew it was necessary to take immediate
measures in anticipation of significant budget uncertainties.

The LISC has managed decisions on hiring actions and large
procurements to ensure that we proceed only with actions that are
reasonable and necessary. Additionally, the principal associate
directors have championed initiatives to reduce costs related to
travel, materials, and services. We also have invited employees to
submit their own ideas for cost-cutting, and have established a
committee to review every idea and to present recommendations to
the LISC.

While I am pleased with the progress and the savings from these
actions, the Lab needs to take additional steps for FY13 and
beyond. With labor comprising 63 percent of the budget, a smaller
workforce is part of the solution.

I have asked the LISC to monitor and recommend appropriate action
with respect to reducing costs associated with our flexible
workforce. In that vein, the LISC has already capped student
hiring at 2011 levels. Craft employment has always fluctuated
based on available work and will continue to do so. Analysis
continues of the term and staff augmentation workforce.

With respect to the regular workforce, the VSP we submitted
proposes a regular workforce reduction of 400 to 800 employees to
align our funding with our missions.

One of our top priorities as we go through this process will be to
ensure we meet mission deliverables this year and going forward.
Similar to the voluntary program in 2008, critical skilled
positions will be excluded from eligibility. In addition, we will
decide whether to decline individual applications based on the
need to retain a sufficient number of employees with certain
essential skills. Though we also retained that discretion in 2008,
we did not exercise it. Unlike the program in that year, we expect
to deny some applications in this VSP.

We anticipate the VSP will be completed in a matter of weeks
rather than months. Knowing that many of you face a difficult
personal decision, I encourage you to begin thinking about the
program now. We will provide details of the plan to you
immediately after NNSA approval. Human Resources will be prepared
to respond to your benefits questions and will schedule
information programs.

We are committed to treating all employees fairly and respectfully
in this process. We did so during the voluntary program in 2008
and we will do so again. I will maintain open and effective
communication with you and other stakeholders of the Laboratory.
This includes all-employee meetings such as the one scheduled
today. Please remember that we are still in a planning phase, and
there are many questions to which we do not yet have answers. We
will have more details as soon as NNSA approves the plan.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

watch you tube video of 2008 laid off LLNL employees

Anonymously contributed:


Scooby's note: Please read. The very first post is for suggested new topics.

I was laid off from Livermore Lab on May 22, 2008, after almost 20 years of service. The Lab denies age discrimination; however, time and time again they ignored their own lay-off policies. Instead of using an inverse order of seniority in which layoffs are determined by job classification based on the Lab's population as a whole, the Lab used a convoluted process in which the layoff decisions were made at the smallest possible level within each and every department (sometimes down to a unit of 2!). This made it easier to target who could be let go. Many older workers were "set up" by being moved into affected units prior to the lay-off, and their positions were then filled with much younger workers. There was also a large enough population of contract and supplemental workers that a lay-off of career Lab employees should have been unnecessary.

The vast majority of those laid off were older workers. We were too young to retire, but too old to easily find other employment (it took me two years to find a part-time job). Many have still not found work and are on the brink of bankruptcy. Although I now have a job that I love, to this day, I feel like I've been raped. The losses that I and the other laid-off workers have suffered are staggering. Our attorneys have prepared a youtube video, which gives just a small taste of what we have experienced. Please watch.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Anonymously contributed:


BY: Bill Gertz - February 17, 2012 9:51 am

Layoff Lawsuit

Anonymously contributed:

Layoff Lawsuit

Remember the lawsuit filed by 130 laid-off employees against LLNL? It's heating up a bit now...

Scooby's note: Before anyone believes employees are LLNL's most precious asset, watch the video and see the suffering caused by the privatization.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NAS report released on lab management!

Anonymously contributed:
For what it's worth, which is not much in my opinion...

NAS report released on lab management

The National Academy of Sciences today has released a new report that evaluates how management and operations contracts of the National Nuclear Security Administration's national security labs are affecting the quality of science and engineering work.

The report concludes that scientists and engineers at the three national security laboratories (Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia) appear committed to their work and core mission of maintaining the country's nuclear weapons stockpile.

Recommendation 3-1:
The study committee recommends that Congress recognize that maintenance of the stockpile remains the core mission of the Labs, and in that context consider endorsing and supporting in some way the evolution of the NNSA Laboratories to National Security Laboratories as described in the July 2010 four-agency Governance Charter for an Interagency Council on the Strategic Capability of DOE National Laboratories.

Recommendation 3-2:
The study committee recommends that Congress and NNSA maintain strong support of the LDRD program as it is an essential component of enabling the long-term viability of the Laboratories.

Recommendation 3-3:
The study committee recommends that Congress reduce the number of restrictive budget reporting categories in the Nuclear Weapons Program and permit the use of such funds to support a robust core weapons research program and further develop necessary S&E capability.

Recommendation 4-1:
The study committee recommends that NNSA and each of the Laboratories commit to the goal of rebalancing the managerial and governance relationship to build in a higher level of trust in program execution and Laboratory operations in general.

Recommendation 4-2:
The study committee recommends that NNSA and the Laboratories agree on a set of principles that clearly lay out the boundaries and roles of each management structure, and also that program managers at headquarters, the Site Offices, and in the Laboratories be directed to abide by these principles.

Recommendation 4-3:
The study committee recommends that the goal of rebalancing the relationship and the set of principles laying out the boundaries and roles of each management structure be memorialized in memoranda of understanding between NNSA and its Laboratories. NNSA should assess performance against these understandings on an annual basis over a five-year period and report these assessments to Congress.

Recommendation 5-1:
The study committee recommends that the NNSA, Congress, and top management of the Laboratories recognize that safety and security systems at the Laboratories have been strengthened to the point where they no longer need special attention. NNSA and Laboratory management should explore ways by which the administrative, safety, and security costs can be reduced, so that they not impose an excessive burden on essential S&E activities.

Recommendation 5-2:
The study committee recommends that NNSA reduce reporting and administrative burdens on the Lab directors, and purposely free directors to establish strategic science and engineering direction at the Laboratories.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

LLNL unofficial RIFs

Anonymously contributed:

I am hearing that Global Security, NIF and other departments are laying off small groups of people citing funding cuts.
Does anyone informed or affected care to give detail?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

UPF tops Oak Ridge budget news

CMRR and UPF from the Oak Ridge media's Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground

Anonymously contributed:

February 13, 2012

UPF tops Oak Ridge budget news

The Obama administration has amped up support for a new production facility at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, proposing to boost funding in a big way and accelerate construction of the multibillion-dollar project.

In the Fiscal Year 2013 budget request released today, the National Nuclear Security Administration seeks $340 million to jump-start construction of the Uranium Processing Facility. That's more than double this year's funding level on the Oak Ridge project and up significantly from an earlier plan to request $190 million for UPF in FY 2013, which begins Oct. 1....

The UPF currently is in the latter stages of design, with construction scheduled to start by year's end. The project is estimated to cost between $4.2 billion and $6.5 billion.

Ramping up UPF comes as NNSA announced its intent to defer construction of a similarly sized project at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Federal officials cited the increasingly deteriorated state of weapons-making facilities at Oak Ridge for making UPF a priority. Parts of Building 9212, Y-12's hub for processing bomb-grade uranium and manufacturing warhead parts, date back to the World War II Manhattan Project.

Tom D'Agostino, under secretary of energy and administrator of the NNSA, and his deputy, Don Cook, cited the tough fiscal climate in the United States and said it was not a good time to push two high-dollar projects at the same time. Detailed reviews concluded that the need for the Uranium Processing Facility was more urgent than the proposed Los Alamos facility -- known as the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement -- for plutonium work

The proposal announced Monday would defer CMRR work at least five years, but D'Agostino emphasized in a teleconference with news reporters that the government is not killing the project....


A major topic at today's media teleconference with NNSA officials on the FY 2013 budget request was the decision to defer work on the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement project at Los Alamos while adding emphasis (and money) to the Uranium Processing Center at Y-12.

Don Cook, the National Nuclear Security Administration's deputy administrator for defense programs, said, "I'd say the choice we made was a hard fiscal choice." In effect, it put the work on uranium ahead of the work on plutonium, but it was forced by the situation at Y-12, he said.

"We don't have any option not to get out of 9212 (the main production facility at Y-12)," Cook said. "That building is used up, and that's where we make components for nuclear weapons."

While there were important reasons for building CMRR, the actual plutonium pits were being made in another facility, he noted.

The impression left from the conference today is that NNSA may relook the whole Los Alamos situation and possibly come up with a combo facility or something in that future realm to do the fabrication work with plutonium and the research with materials, etc.

What's notably interesting is that a review just a couple of year ago concluded that if the government were forced to make a choice on which should come first, CMRR or UPF, the conclusion was that CMRR was the higher priority.

Is the big change in decisionmaking simply a recognition that 9212 is in sad, sad shape? If so, then Y-12 folks have done a terrific job in repeatedly sharing that news with every visitors to the Oak Ridge plant and making it known in every way available.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

CMRR-NF: Delay Makes Sense

Anonymously contributed:
Seems like in the past few weeks there has been a growing level of talk in Congress (both Rep and Dem sides) that CMRR should not be built. So is there a really a good counter argument for CMRR, and if it is killed or significantly delayed what does this mean for de-inventory of SuperBlock at LLNL?

CMRR-NF: Delay Makes Sense
by Lisbeth Gronlund
by Stephen Young
February 10, 2012 - Union of Concerned Scientist

On Monday, when the Obama administration releases its FY13 budget request, it will announce a delay in the construction of a proposed new facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)—the so-called Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF). As we discuss in a new UCS working paper [ ] ,we think a delay is good.

There are three possible reasons to build the CMRR-NF:

1. To allow an increase in pit production capacity. Pits are produced at LANL’s Plutonium Facility-4 (PF-4), which currently can produce 10 to 20 pits annually. But that rate could be increased to 50 annually without building the CMRR-NF. Building the CMRR-NF would allow PF-4 to up production to 50 to 80 pits a year by moving some of the work now done in PF-4 into the CMRR-NF.

2. To provide replacement laboratory space for activities now undertaken elsewhere.

3. To provide additional storage space for plutonium and other nuclear materials.

Our paper shows that the only plausible need to increase pit production capacity above the current level of 10-20 annually is to support a life extension program (LEP) for the W78 and W88 warheads—if they use new pits. However, even in this case, an annual production capacity of 40-45 pits would be adequate, and this could be accomplished without building CMRR-NF. If the United States reduced its arsenal below 3,500 weapons over the next few decades, an even lower annual production capacity would be required.

In any event, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) hasn’t yet made a decision to use new pits for the W78 and W88 LEPs, and the studies and engineering phase for the W78 will not be complete until FY21. Thus, there is as yet no identified need for an increase in pit production capacity beyond even the 10 to 20 pits per year. (There would also be concerns about such a “mix and match” approach to maintaining the stockpile. Such an ambitious LEP will face not only steep technical challenges but deep skepticism from Congress.)

The CMRR-NF would provide additional laboratory and storage space for handling plutonium and other radioactive materials, but there are other, likely less expensive, approaches. Delaying construction will allow these other options to be assessed. Given today’s budget climate, that makes sense.

It’s important to keep in mind that plans for the CMRR-NF were made long before the New START agreement was negotiated and Obama’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review was completed. And, following a lengthy Pentagon-led review of options, the President will soon make decisions about the size, structure and mission of U.S. nuclear forces, which will likely result in a smaller U.S. arsenal. Thus, delaying construction of the CMRR-NF will also provide time for the administration to take these nuclear weapons policy changes into account.

Friday, February 10, 2012

real mission is to make the world safer

Director Parney Albright opened his first all-hands meeting of the year with the observation that 2012 is "going to be a very busy year, and the next couple years are going to be very important for our Lab and how we contribute to the nation."

He then presented his view of the Laboratory's mission, vision, values and priorities, noting the things he will focus on, as well as what he wants employees to focus on. (See the whole presentation).

"Our mission is pretty much straight out of the LLNS Prime Contract," Albright noted. "Or as George Shultz put it during his recent visit here this week, our 'real mission is to make the world safer.'

"We do this in a lot of different ways - our traditional focus on nuclear deterrence and our broadening efforts in national security. In fact, there's a lot of debate in Congress and elsewhere on how to move to a stable global environment."

Turning to his vision for the Lab, Albright said that he thinks "we're pretty much there - leading in delivering solutions for the nation's most challenging problems."

He stressed that one of the challenges with vision statements demonstrating or measuring success is achieving that vision. In describing the three elements of his vision, Albright repeatedly emphasized the imperative for excellence and the goal of being recognized as second to none.

"We're expensive, so we need to be worth the money," he explained. "When people have a hard problem, I want them to think that the first place to go is Livermore."

Albright also noted that a reputation for excellence is critical if LLNL is going to continue to be a top destination for the best scientists, engineers and other professionals. "People come here because they want to work with the very best - the best people, the best facilities, the best workplace environment."

Moving onto Lab values, he observed that these characteristics are not necessarily where we are today. Rather, they describe the values and the culture that we want to strive to create.

At the top of the Director's list is his strong belief that "We are one Lab." He emphasized that all employees should feel a sense of pride in all the accomplishments made at the Lab, regardless of what program they work in and regardless of the program making the accomplishments. "We have shared pride and shared responsibility. We need to think institutionally."

In discussing the next two values - operating solely in the national interest and focusing on sponsor needs - Albright cautioned against hubris. "We need to be careful not to think that because we're really smart, we know best. That's a slippery slope.

"We don't own a thing here," he added. "The U.S. government owns all of this and we need to take care of that responsibility."

With regard to the values describing workplace interactions, Albright was emphatic that striving for excellence, intense competition of ideas and rigorous critique must be "rank blind."

"No person, no matter how junior, should feel constrained from asking questions or offering suggestions or opinions," he said.

Turning to his priorities, Albright observed that while mission, vision and values are "hopefully timeless," this list "is what I want us to focus on over the next few years."

Not surprisingly, the top priority is to deliver on the W78 Life Extension Program and the National Ignition Campaign. "We must deliver on these important commitments."

Albright also emphasized his focus on improving business practices, giving as an example the existence of five different financial systems across the Lab. "There may have been good reasons for developing these different systems at one time or another, but it makes it hard to be cost efficient."

As part of his emphasis on creating a workplace that fosters excellence, he noted that the priority of ensuring cutting-edge science and technology capabilities means more than recruiting a top-notch workforce. "It also means facilities and equipment and infrastructure.

"We've ridden on the back of the Weapons Program, but we can't do that anymore. We need to find institutional ways to support these capabilities so we can stay at the cutting edge and in front of the power curve as new areas emerge."

Also on the list of priorities is expanding the Lab's contributions to the local and national economy through industry and university partnerships. "My vision is that, several years from now, we'll be in the midst of a vibrant innovation center, a technology hub with the Lab at its center.

To make this vision a reality, Albright noted that in addition to Sequoia, the world's fastest supercomputer, the Lab will soon be home to a powerful multi-petaflop unclassified machine at the Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC) to solve problems of economic importance to the country.

In addition, Albright announced that Buck Koonce has been appointed director of Economic Development, with responsibility for integrating the Laboratory's partnership activities with industry, academia, economic development and the Livermore Valley Open Campus.

Several other key management appointments were also announced, including Bruce Warner as acting principal associate director for Global Security, Wes Spain as acting director of the Office of Strategic Outcomes and Al Ramponi as the director's chief of staff. In addition, Kimberley Davis was introduced as the new manager of the Livermore Site Office.

Albright introduced the 10 recipients who have been recently selected as Laboratory Distinguished Members of the Technical Staff: Jim Candy, John Castor, Jim Hammer, Omar Hurricane, Neil Joeck, Nino Landen, Ken Moody, Bruce Remington, Dimitri Ryutov, and Tom Slezak. These individuals are recognized for their extraordinary scientific and technical contributions to the Laboratory and its missions as acknowledged by their professional peers and the larger community. [A feature article will appear in Newsline next week highlighting the recipients.]

Wrapping up his briefing, Parney noted that one focus area for the coming year is succession planning, both for management positions and for critical-skilled personnel

He announced that because of the Laboratory's outstanding performance last year, a 1.5-percent Strategic Performance Bonus will be distributed to eligible personnel this year; the one-time payment will be made some time in April. "We had a really good year last year. In fact, we had the highest performance score of all the NNSA labs."

(For more information on this program, see the Web.)

Albright also reported that NNSA has, for the second time, denied the Lab's request to begin employer contributions to the TCP1 defined benefit pension plan, based on the rationale that because the plan is currently funded at 104 percent of its obligations, contributions are not legally required. "We're not happy with this decision, and we're watching the situation very closely. If need be, we will elevate this issue to higher levels," Albright said.

Albright also mentioned that the Laboratory is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Various activities and events are being planned to commemorate the occasion, including a Family Open House.

In closing, Albright emphasized "we're all in this together. Let's work together as one Lab. Let's keep our communications strong and promote the sponsor relationships we need to really make a difference for the nation."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NAS Lab Mgmt. Panel Report Expected This Week

Anonymously contributed:

Weapons Complex Monitor
February 6, 2012

NAS Lab Mgmt. Panel Report Expected This Week

The National Academy of Sciences panel that for the last year has examined the impact of
privatization on the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories is expected to release its long-awaited
report this week in advance of a Feb. 16 Congressional hearing. Chaired by former Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory Director Charles Shank and UCLA professor Kumar Patel, the
panel held a handful of meetings over the last year, traveling to Los Alamos, Lawrence
Livermore and Sandia national laboratories to meet with lab employees and administrators and
holding several hearings in Washington, D.C., with National Nuclear Security Administration
and Department of Energy officials.

After the report is released this week, Shank—and perhaps one more member of the panel—is
scheduled to testify before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Feb. 16.
Former Los Alamos Director Michael Anastasio, former Sandia Director Paul Robinson, former
Livermore Director George Miller, and former Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group
President Bob Cochran will also testify during the hearing.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Looking for Herbert Moore...

From Sandy Reese:

My grandfather Herbert Moore worked at the Lawrence Livermore Lab Site 300 back in the late 1950's-early 60's. He passed away in 1962 from "leukemia" but it was later found out that he had been exposed to something on site and his true cause of death (radiation poisoning) was revealed in a private lawsuit that my grandmother received a small settlement from the government. Everything was very hush hush.
I am trying to find out what possibly occurred at that site during that time frame that could have caused this. We are also trying to track down any information at all we can find on my grandfather as we are tracing our family history. At the time this happened the government must have wiped out all records to do with my grandpa because it's as if he doesn't exist.

Any chance anyone has any information at all that might point me in the right direction? I think our family has a right to know.

Sandie Reese

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