BLOG purpose

This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email


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

Suggest new topics here


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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LLNL TCP1 contributions FAQs

Anonymously contributed:

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the employee and employer contributions to the defined benefit plan for fiscal year 2012?
A. Employer pension contributions will be $20 million for fiscal year 2012 and employee contributions will be 5 percent of pay. Contributions will begin in June.
2. Who is affected?
A. Employee contributions apply to only those employees who selected TCP1 during contract transition.
4. Why are pension contributions required?
A. Pension plan contributions are legally required based on the plan's assets and obligations.The assets are the cash, stocks, and bonds owned by the plan. The obligations are the amounts that the plan owes to participants - the stream of pension payments that current and future retirees (and their beneficiaries) will receive.
When a pension plan's funding ratio drops such that its assets are insufficient to cover the present value of its current obligations, contributions to the plan are legally required. The present value of the current obligations is a calculation performed by the plan's actuaries to determine the amount of dollars required today (including interest earned) to make the stream of pension payments to the plan's current and future retirees. This calculation is complex and takes into account expected years of service, age at retirement, salary, lifetime, etc.
Employee and employer contributions will help offset future payment obligations. For more information, refer to the Director Parney Albright's column.
5. Is my contribution pre-tax or after-tax?
A. The level and type of contributions permitted in the plan are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Under ERISA law it is required that participant contributions be made on an after-tax basis. As a result, a portion of the future retirement income that you receive that is attributable to your after-tax contributions will be tax free.
6. What happens to my contributions?
A. Participant contributions made to the plan will be tracked by Aon Hewitt and attributed to employees as required. At the time of retirement Aon Hewitt will provide participants with the necessary tax documents to identify the taxable/non-taxable portion of the benefit. The LLNS Defined Benefit Pension Plan is a retirement plan that provides a pre-determined retirement benefit to participants based upon a formula that includes factors of age, credited service and salary. The benefit is a promised lifetime monthly income that funded by a combination of employer contributions, employee contributions and plan asset accumulations.
7. How secure is my pension?
A. With a defined benefit plan the employer is legally required to make sure there is enough money in the plan to pay the guaranteed benefits. As a contractual commitment, DOE is responsible for funding the employer portion of contributions. In addition, defined benefit plans are the only type of pension insured by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). The insurance works similarly to the federal deposit insurance that backs up bank accounts.
8. Can I opt out of TCP1 or transfer to TCP2?
A. No, you may not opt out of TCP1 or transfer to TCP2.

Monday, March 26, 2012

557 LANL workers accept buyout

Anonymously contributed:

From the Santa Fe New Mexican:

557 LANL workers accept buyout

By Roger Snodgrass | The New Mexican


Los Alamos National Laboratory announced today that 557 people will leave their jobs under a voluntary separation program. The number falls within the range of 400-800 employees lab officials said they needed to reduce the likelihood of involuntary layoffs.

With some job categories excluded, most of the approximately 7,600 employees in the regular workforce were eligible to apply for the separation package, which provides up to 39 weeks of severance pay.

The largest group, 258, were in the professional categories, including finance, information technology and records management, 152 were in research and development. There were 74 manager, 59 technicians and 14 support employees.

Laboratory officials have said the plan would be the least disruptive option for lowering costs and gaining flexibility during a time of budget uncertainties. Among areas of concern, the authorities pointed to an erosion of purchasing power, lower than normal rates of attrition in recent years, funding decreases for the current year and additional reductions anticipated for next year, including a five-year deferral for a major construction project.

Employees who applied for the separation arrangement were given a five-day window during which they could change their minds. Their last day on the job will be April 5.

NNSA, Livermore Officials Struggle To Mitigate NIF Funding challenges Todd Jacobson

Anonymously contributed:

Read this

Friday, March 23, 2012

More LANS Managers During Budget Cuts at Los Alamos

Anonymously contributed:

More LANS Managers During Budget Cuts at Los Alamos

The Associate Directorate for Weapons (ADW) is being realigned into two directorates to more effectively address performance of LANL's mission, communicate with external customers and partners, and provide more direct access to management.

The Directorate for Weapon Physics (ADX) will be led by Bob Webster as the acting Associate Director and will have responsibility for weapon design and computational physics along with programmatic responsibility for the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program and Science Campaigns (SC). The directorate will consist of X-CP and X-TD Divisions.

The Directorate for Weapon Engineering and Experiments (ADW) will be led by John Benner as the acting Associate Director, and will have responsibility for weapon engineering and dynamic experimentation including Nevada activities along with programmatic responsibility for Directed Stockpile Work (DSW) and Engineering Campaigns (EC). The directorate will consist of WX and W Divisions.

"Bob and John were chosen for these acting assignments because of their demonstrated performance, expertise, and ability to work together as a team to preserve the integration we have achieved between the various components of the program," said Bret Knapp, principal associate director for Weapons Programs.

Who promoted the Labs privatization?

Anonymously contributed:

I had 27+ yrs(as a) LLNL employee; (was) laid off in 2008 & a part of the lawsuit against the Lab. I've been searching the web with no luck, trying to find out the name, members, and head of the committee in D.C. that promoted/ramrodded/whatever the privatization of the Labs. Several months ago I came in on the tail end of an NPR interview with the head of the committee (I believe) who said something to the effect that, "...some of the efficiencies we expected have yet to materialize..."

I would also like to know who in Congress voted for privatizing the Labs (and who did not).

Does anyone have that information?

Thank you!

Friday, March 16, 2012

DOE approves pension plan contributions

Anonymoulsy contributed:

From LLNL Newsline

DOE approves pension plan contributions

The Department of Energy has approved the request to initiate employer contributions to the LLNS Defined Benefits Plan, or TCP1.

DOE has approved employer pension contributions of $20 million for fiscal year 2012. Employee contributions will begin in approximately early June at 5 percent of pay. Employee contributions apply to only those employees who selected TCP1.

An implementation committee has been formed and is working out the details; more information will be provided in future editions of Newsline.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

LLNL's new mission statement

Anonymously contributed:

I see Parney has tweaked LLNL's mission statement...

Old Version
Ensure the safety and security of the nation through applied science and technology in three key areas: Nuclear Security, International and Domestic Security, and Energy and Environmental Security.

New Version
Strengthening the United States’ security through development and application of world-class science and technology to: enhance the nation’s defense; reduce the global threat from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction; and, more broadly, respond with vision, quality, integrity and technical excellence to scientific issues of national importance.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Legislation Would Formalize Obama Nuke Modernization Pledge

Anonymously contributed:

Interesting move, but doubt it goes anywhere in Congress...

Global Security Newswire
Legislation Would Formalize Obama Nuke Modernization Pledge
March 9, 2012

A key U.S. lawmaker on Thursday submitted a bill aimed at committing President Obama to fulfill nuclear weapons spending commitments while implementing a strategic arms control deal with Russia.

House Armed Forces Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Michael Turner (R-Ohio) said his proposal would specifically connect U.S. nuclear arsenal cuts to the fulfillment of Obama's nuclear arms complex modernization pledge. The administration in 2010 announced a decade-long, $85 billion nuclear weapons spending plan amid efforts to secure Senate ratification of the New START treaty. ...

“The long-term health and credibility of our nuclear deterrent depends on this bill, as does our national security. During the Senate’s consideration of the New START treaty, the president made many promises to achieve support for Senate ratification. With the president’s [fiscal 2013] budget request, it is now apparent that those promises have been broken. This bill will correct that and ensure the promises are kept,” Turner said in a press release.

“This legislation is important not only to modernize our nuclear force, but also the infrastructure that supports it. But Congress must also fix the agency responsible for that infrastructure; the National Nuclear Security Administration," he added.

"It is clear that NNSA is broken and unable to carry out its mission. It appears to be unable to provide the warheads and infrastructure the military needs, despite receiving billions of dollars from the budget of the Department of Defense. One of the key reasons the administration is failing to meet its promises is that our nuclear weapons enterprise is broken,” Turner stated.

The release says the nuclear agency has wasted billions of dollars in Pentagon funding and curbed work on extending the service life of certain nuclear-warhead types. It notes the delay in work on the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Turner plans to deal with those matters through the fiscal 2013 defense authorization act, according to the release.

In addition, the lawmaker's bill would defer funding for carrying out the directives of a forthcoming nuclear war strategy to better enable review of the plan by lawmakers, he said.

U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass) in a statement to Turner on Thursday advocated against plans to construct two new nuclear weapons sustainment sites. The two lawmakers are locked in a public debate over U.S. nuclear weapons spending levels. ...

“At a time when the Senate and president have formally committed to reducing our nuclear stockpile, it makes no sense to spend up to $5 billion to expand our capacity to produce components of nuclear weapons,” Markey said in a statement. “Given the budget constraints we currently face as a nation, we do not need to spend up to $7.5 billion to build a brand new facility at the Y-12 Security Complex".

Friday, March 9, 2012

LANL Cuts Threaten Valley

Anonymously contributed:

Mayor, commissioner head to D.C. to lobby against slashed funding

By Lou Mattei, SUN News Editor
Thursday, March 8, 2012 10:06 AM MST

EspaƱola Mayor Alice Lucero is hoping she and a handful of other municipal, county and state politicians from across New Mexico can change Congress’ mind about cutting funding and jobs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Lab plans to shed 400 to 800 jobs from its workforce by the end of the fiscal year in accordance with a $300 million budget cut between fiscal years 2011 and 2012 and expectations for flat or lower budgets in the future, according to Lab spokesman Fred deSousa.

He said about 15 percent of the Lab’s employees are from Rio Arriba County. So if the job cuts come down proportionally, Rio Arriba stands to lose 60 to 120 jobs from the layoffs....

...Lucero pointed out other Administration facilities were “funded generously” compared to the Lab.

Sandia National Laboratories, for instance, saw its funding rise between fiscal years 2011 and 2012 from $1.43 billion to $1.45 billion, federal budget records show. Its request for fiscal year 2013 is $1.76 billion, an increase of 21 percent.

Overall, the Administration’s budget increased from $10.52 billion in fiscal year 2011 to $11 billion in 2012. Its request for fiscal year 2013 is $11.53 billion, an increase of 9.6 percent since 2011.

Meanwhile, Administration funding for Los Alamos has dropped from $1.88 billion in fiscal year 2011 to $1.63 billion in fiscal year 2012, federal budget records show. Its request for fiscal year 2013 is $1.52 billion, a decrease of 19 percent since 2011.

Double whammy blow to US nuclear science

Anonymously contributed:

** Double whammy blow to US nuclear science **

RSC Chemistry World - 08 March 2012

Nuclear science in the US has been dealt a double blow with the announcement of huge budget cuts at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) coming hard on the heels of the mothballing of a multi-billion dollar research facility at the lab. Actinide scientists in the US and abroad are dismayed by the news and warn that nuclear safety and technological advances could be compromised in the long run....

...Actinide scientists elsewhere are unhappy with the developments. 'Development of a highly trained workforce in actinide chemistry is expensive and time-consuming. Yet, such people are extremely important in a wide range of issues important to humanity, including development of an advanced nuclear energy system, proper handling and disposal of high level nuclear waste, remediating environments contaminated by actinides, nuclear forensics for attribution purposes and maintenance of the nation's nuclear stockpile,' says Peter Burns of Notre Dame University in Illinois, US. 'This postponement will reduce the capacity to train a workforce, and will reduce the employment opportunities for such a workforce. Once a workforce of this sort has been diminished, it will be hard to rebuild.'


Anonymously contributed (in all CAPS)


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


From the creator of he BLOG: Guy Oldfahrt

LANL VSP: New Blog for "Excluded" and otherwise impacted LANL employees. -----------------------------------
Long time employees at LANL, who have been EXCLUDED from the VSP program have started their own website at

Please post your comments there and signup if you would like to participate with other employees who are investigating what actions may be able to be taken to force the Laboratory to open the program to everyone.


I added a link to a new LANL BLOG under "interesting links"

LLNL pension explained

Anonymously contributed:

I thought this might be of interest, Parney give a good explanation on the LLNL Pension. The graph, which is very informative, is also attached.
LLNL Newsline
Status of the LLNS Defined Benefit Pension Plan


As discussed at my January all-hands talk, I'd like to provide some more information about the funding status of the defined benefit pension plan and how its liabilities and funding level are determined. Note that this applies only to those employees who selected Total Compensation Plan 1 (TCP1) when they transitioned to LLNS on Oct. 1, 2007. (All other employees -- those who selected TCP2 and those hired since Oct. 1, 2007 -- are not affected.)

I want to emphasize that DOE/NNSA has repeatedly stated that they understand their responsibilities and commitment to fund contractor pension plans.

The graph below shows the plan's assets (left-hand scale), funded ratio (right-hand scale), and liability levels. As you can see, the return on assets has been quite good, growing from $1.58 billion when the assets were transferred from the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) to $1.86 billion on Dec. 31, 2011, for an overall increase of 17.7 percent. This is significantly better than the performance the S&P 500 Index, which gained 7.3 percent during the same period. Since its inception, our plan's investment performance has been in the top third of similarly sized plans in the U.S.

Over this same period however, our plan's liabilities have grown by 125 percent, from about $800,000 at the plan's inception to almost $1.8 billion on Dec. 31, 2011. The reason for this is twofold. Liabilities have grown because plan participants continue to earn additional benefits based on increasing salary, age and years of service. This growth was fully expected and results in about half of the increase in liabilities.

The other driver for the increase in the plan's liabilities and the decline in its funded ratio has been the unprecedented drop in interest rates. Specifically, since the plan's inception, corporate bond yields have declined from about 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent. These rates are important because they are the interest rates used (as required by the Pension Protection Act of 2006) to calculate the present value of current benefits for the plan -- that is, the plan's liabilities. As these interest rates decline, the plan's liabilities increase.

As with most defined benefit pension plans, our plan is extremely sensitive to changes in these interest rates because of the age demographics of our plan's participants (average age about 50 years), because of the long period that benefits will be paid to participants and their beneficiaries (about 80 years), and because all Lab retirees prior to contract transition remained in UCRP. This is the overriding reason the plan's funding level has declined from 219 percent at the plan's inception to 104 percent on Jan. 1, 2012.

As you have undoubtedly read or heard in the news media, interest rates are at an all-time low. In order to encourage economic growth, the Federal Reserve has committed to keeping interest rates at or near their current level until 2014. As a result, we do not expect our defined benefit pension plan to start a meaningful recovery for at least a couple of years.

Contributions are not legally required at this time. They will be required when the plan's funding ratio drops such that the surplus assets are insufficient to cover the normal ongoing benefit increases. We have presented this information, along with projected contribution requirements, to NNSA and requested the start of employer and employee contributions to prevent future funding shortfalls.

I am continuing to work with NNSA to resolve this situation. I am committed to ensuring the future financial solvency of our defined benefit pension plan and will elevate the issue to increasingly higher levels as necessary to achieve this goal.

Parney Albright

LLNL Director

Monday, March 5, 2012

LANL braces for deep cuts

Anonymously contributed:

"Mr. McMillan said the layoffs were necessary so that Los Alamos, which has shifted its mission from primarily nuclear weapons to national security, could continue its work...”

Los Alamos is a national security lab, not a weapons lab? So is there one or zero weapons labs left?

LANS Voluntary Separation Program - Excluded Categories

Anonymously contributed:

LANS Voluntary Separation Program - Excluded Categories
DIR CFO-CNTL Financial Systems Analyst 4
DIR CFO-SYS Financial Systems Analyst 2
DIR CFO-SYS Financial Systems Analyst 3
DIR CFO-SYS Financial Systems Analyst 4
DIR CGA-GAO Government Affairs Specialist 3
DIR CGA-GAO Government Affairs Specialist 4
DIR DIR Executive Director
DIR EA-ARP1 Audit Manager 4
DIR EA-ARP1 Auditor 4
DIR EA-ARP2 Audit Manager 4
DIR EA-ARP2 Auditor 4
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Med Counselor 1
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Med Counselor 2
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Med Counselor 3
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Nurse 2
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Nurse 3
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Nurse 4
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Physician 3
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Psychologist 3
ADESH OM-MS Occupational Psychologist 4
ADESH OM-MS Physician Assistant 2
ADESH OM-MS Physician Assistant 3
ADNHHO ES-FE Engineer 1
ADNHHO ES-FE Engineer 2
ADNHHO ES-FE Engineer 3
ADNHHO ES-FE Engineer 4
ADNHHO FP-DO Fire Protection Engineer 1
ADNHHO FP-DO Fire Protection Engineer 3
ADNHHO FP-DO Fire Protection Engineer 4
ADNHHO SB-CS Criticality Safety Analyst 2
ADNHHO SB-CS Criticality Safety Analyst 3
ADNHHO SB-CS Criticality Safety Analyst 4
ADNHHO SB-EWM Safety Basis Analyst 2
ADNHHO SB-EWM Safety Basis Analyst 4
ADCLES C-IIAC Scientist 5
ADCLES C-NR Computing Systems Professional 3
ADCLES C-NR Program Manager 3
ADCLES C-NR R&D Manager 2
ADCLES C-NR Scientist 5
ADCLES C-NR Technical Project Manager 3
ADCLES C-PCS Scientist 6
ADCLES EES-17 Technical Project Manager 3
ADE AOT-OPS Operator 3
ADE AOT-OPS R&D Engineer 2
ADE AOT-RFE R&D Engineer 3
ADE PF-FS Machinist 3
ADE PF-FS Machinist 4
ADEPS LANSCE-LC Research Technologist 2
ADEPS MST-16 Research Tec 4
ADEPS MST-16 Research Tec 5
ADEPS MST-16 Research Technologist 1
ADEPS MST-7 Research Tec 3
ADEPS MST-7 Research Tec 4
ADEPS MST-8 Scientist 2
ADEPS P-23 Computing Systems Professional 3
ADEPS P-23 Scientist 2
ADEPS P-24 Computing Systems Professional 2
ADEPS P-25 Research Tec 3
ADEPS P-25 Research Technologist 1
ADTSC ACS-PO R&D Manager 5
ADTSC ACS-PO Scientist 2
ADTSC ACS-PO Scientist 3
ADTSC ACS-PO Scientist 4
PADSTE LDRD-PO Systems Programmer 3
PADSTE STBPO-RL Computing Systems Professional 2
PADSTE STBPO-RL Computing Systems Professional 3
ADPSM NCO-1 Machinist 3
ADPSM NCO-1 Research Tec 2
ADPSM NCO-2 Process and Sampling Tec 2
ADPSM NCO-3 Research Tec 2
ADPSM NCO-5 Process and Sampling Tec 2
ADPSM NPI-2 Production Control Specialist 1
ADPSM NPI-2 Production Control Specialist 2
ADW W-11 R&D Engineer 1
ADW W-14 R&D Engineer 2
ADW W-16 R&D Engineer 3
ADW W-5 Engineering Technologist 1
ADW WX-2 Engineered Systems Tec 3
ADW WX-6 Scientist 2
ADW WX-7 Research Technologist 1
ADW XCP-1 Scientist 4
ADW XCP-7 Scientist 2
ADW XCP-9 Database Administrator 4
ADW XTD-3 Scientist 2
ADW XTD-6 Scientist 4

Posts you viewed tbe most last 30 days