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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

B&W Y-12 slapped with 'show cause notice'

Anonymously contributed: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Another stunner: B&W Y-12 slapped with 'show cause notice' that could bring down Oak Ridge contractor" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In the wake of last month's stunning security breach at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, the federal government issued a "show cause notice" to managing contractor B&W Y-12. The stern order, which was issued Aug. 10, requires the plant's contractor to explain why its contract should not be terminated. It underscores why drastic personnel changes -- including the removal of three top executives at B&W -- have taken place in recent days to address the security concerns. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Anonymous said...

Will be interesting to see how many contractors are removed from positions over this failure. What will be more interesting is to see how few federal employees, especially those from DC, are also removed.

Anonymous said...

They should require that B&W justify its continued involvement in any DOE or NNSA site operations contract, including LANS and LLNS.

Anonymous said...

NNSA is rewording the bid so that the security portion of the contract is NOT sub-contracted out. DOE/NNSA knows this ploy. When DOE was getting beat about the head for its shortcomings, the idea of NNSA became appealing. NNSA could be the fall guy now, and of course, NNSA can push the blame game down a level to the contractor. NNSA now sees that allowing the contractor to subcontract out the security would allow the blame game to go down one more level and that appears not to be too appealing. Let's face it, when knee jerk reactions occur (and you are the one doing the jerking), you want an immediate whipping boy, not a sub-contracted one.

One wonders if the situation would have been better or worse if the nun had been stopped with deadly force?

Anonymous said...

I’ve been in & around these security/safeguard systems for ~40 yrs & while I would not have predicted a failure of this magnitude – you could see the potential was there.

The site I’m most familiar with is infested with “in-Breeding”. The “good o boys”, aka “cronyism”, where friends are appointed to positions regardless of their qualifications. I’m referring to job postings within the S&S organizations that specify an engineering degree but are further watered down (aka – “or equivalent: e.g.,10 yrs experience within S&S organization). Whenever I’m around the S&S folks I can hear the background music “Dueling Banjos”.

The ex-military brass S&S manager observing a table-top exercise scenario watching his boys getting kicked, declares the exercise flawed & unrealistic & insists the results be moved into the “win Column” so Podonsky’s org HSS , can continue to “conduct rigorous independent oversight appraisals of DOE performance in the areas of safeguards and security.”

Yes, I’m cynical - & I see the "show cause notice" on B&W,as nothing more than a rhetorical exercise where they get their noses rubbed in it, Congress provides millions more $$$ for S&S upgrades & in a year or 2 they’ll all receive praise & bonuses for such a terrific turnaround.

All glory is fleeting – except at DOE/NNSA.

Anonymous said...

A bit more from the Knox News,,,

A lot went wrong at Y-12; NNSA says cameras didn't work, guards didn't respond

A slew of things went wrong for Y-12 security in the early hours of July 28.

A "high number" of surveillance-and-assessment cameras were inoperable at the time, including one at a critical site where three protesters cut through a fence and entered the plant's highest-security area -- ultimately defacing the plant's uranium storage facility with spray-painted messages and splashes of human blood.

Despite receiving numerous alarms from an array of sensors on the fence line, the plant's protective force failed to react as protesters used bolt-cutters to cut through three fences. Even when security guards did respond, they took an excessive amount of time getting to the scene and, once there, failed to take control of the situation until a supervisor took charge and removed the protesters.

Those were some of the preliminary observations cited by the National Nuclear Security Administration in its Aug. 10 "show cause" letter to B&W Y-12, the government's managing contractor. The security problems -- and other issues identified during a preliminary fact-finding investigation -- were so severe that NNSA said they endangered the overall performance of the Y-12 contract. As such, the federal agency has given B&W 30 days in which to demonstrate why the government should not terminate its contract.

In the letter to Darrel Kohlhorst, the B&W president and general manager who has since been removed from his job, NNSA contracting officer Jill Y. Albaugh wrote:

"The security mission in the contract is integral to any and all mission operations and is a fundamental necessity in operating all aspects of the site."

Albaugh added this warning:

". . . Because our preliminary fact-findings reveal that contributing and direct causes of the Security Event include an inappropriate Y-12 cultural mind set, as well as a severe lapse of discipline and performance in meeting conduct of operations expectations, I am concerned that such issues may exist in other areas of Y-12 operations -- and not just in the security program."

All nuclear operations at Y-12 were shut down Aug. 1 because of the security breach. According to the letter, those operations will be discontinued "for the indefinite future."

The security problems didn't end when the protesters were apprehended, arrested and later charged in a three-count federal indictment.

"Other events occurring since the July 28, 2012, Security Event . . . have demonstrated a serious breakdown in the security operations at Y-12, including a lack of leadership and significant tactical, procedural, training, and communication deficiencies," the letter states.

Anonymous said...

“A "high number" of surveillance-and-assessment cameras were inoperable at the time, including one at a critical site…”

Anytime critical S&S systems/elements are inoperable immediate compensatory measures are put into place until such time the problem is corrected. In the case of CC TV cameras, additional security inspectors would be placed in that area until all systems were restored.

Spending additional $$$ to “upgrade” the S&S System is inane – they can start the upgrade by firing the numbskulls that allowed this to happen.

Anonymous said...

“A "high number" of surveillance-and-assessment cameras were inoperable at the time, including one at a critical site…”

Anytime critical S&S systems/elements are inoperable immediate compensatory measures are put into place until such time the problem is corrected. In the case of CC TV cameras, additional security inspectors would be placed in that area until all systems were restored.

Spending additional $$$ to “upgrade” the S&S System is inane – they can start the upgrade by firing the numbskulls that allowed this to happen.

Anonymous said...

If you fail in a small way, you use your own internal funds to fix the problem and maybe get a slap on the wrist.

If you fail in a big way, you get a big pot of money from Washington to fix the problem, a few heads may roll at the organization, bad publicity that goes away fairly fast.

Great business model for the nuclear enterprise.

It "looks" like there is significant incentive for organizations like these to fail. You get more money, it encourages employee "turnover" that would otherwise not occur.

Anonymous said...

Fire DOE

Anonymous said...

Poor DOE contracting practices lead to malaise and poor Y-12 performance.

Poor O'bama administration performance lead to placement of incompetent and confusion of mission in DOE, DOJ and DHS.

Poor oversight by Congress contributes to poor performance by these weakly lead, poorly focused oversized and overpaid organizations.

The answer to these lapses is to replace all responsible, not just the sleeping security team.

Throw out the incumbents who are not doing their job.

Start with the addlepated McInerney and Stark, and the weak disinterested affirmative action poster child, O'bama. Both are braindead.

Anonymous said...

Nun-gate highlights the absurd relationship between DOE and the contractors that work for it. For decades the culture of no accountability has thrived inside the organizations. While there have been a few attempts to fix this incestuous relationship of having contractors write the rules hand in hand with the same federal workers that are later responsible for enforcing those rules, none of the attempts have stuck. When someone from outside the culture has attempted to correct the situation, they have fallen victim to the entrenched players.
It is hard to see how this has a happy ending for the Labs, as long as they are in bed with the same folks that brought us Solyndra-gate.

Anonymous said...

If they really wanted to fix the problems - not just at Y-12 but across the complex - they need to get rid of LLCs. These fake companies are intentionally set up to shield the "real" parent companies from any and all liabilities. The parent companies have nothing to lose when things go wrong, and therefore have very little incentive to actually try and run these sites.

If B&W's LLC got kicked out of Y-12, they would just create a new LLC with a different name and with some different partner parent companies.

They also need to get rid of automatically reimbursing the contractor for costs. How much government owned property disappears from Y-12 (or any DOE site) each year. This loss should be taken out of the contract's fee - it’s not! So why is there any incentive to protect the site from internal theft - other than a contractual requirement.

The whole approach taken by DOE to M&O contracting is a big old joke perpetuated on the US taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Kohlhorst may have been the fall guy for this lapse, but he should still get a reward for keeping UPF funded. If McMillan gets over one million a year and couldn't keep CMRR funded, then it should be a very nice reward for Kohlhorst.

Anonymous said...

DOE Atomic Sites Must Verify Adherence to Protection Rules
Posted: Friday, August 17, 2012

The Obama administration has ordered all Energy Department installations housing atomic substances to formally verify that they are falling completely into line with departmental standards and instructions on protective measures, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Friday. Supervisors must also give formal confirmation of their sites' adherence to "internal policies established at the site level," according to an Energy Department insider."

LOL – not exactly a new requirement.

Anonymous said...

I saw these comments under NIF but they probably make more sense here in security:

Anonymous said...
If you want to see a hillbilly at LLNL, see the Queen of Hillbillies that has ruled over buildings 274 and 271 for years.
August 16, 2012 10:41 AM

Anonymous said...
The Security Director has to be nice to the hillbilly. She might be incompetent and illiterate but don't want her using the d word in a complaint.
August 16, 2012 3:09 PM

Anonymous said...

The word used by LLNL employees to describe her is "dishonest." And then there are the poor verbal and written communications skills on top of everything else. Also the weak analytical skills don't help.

Anonymous said...

One thing can be said about her - trash is as trash does.

Anonymous said...

Didn't she work for Mr. DUI from 2002 - 2008? Two peas in a pod.

Anonymous said...

A guy that worked for her committed suicide.

Anonymous said...

She goes to show that there were lazy, incompetent, corrupt people at LLNL before LLNS.

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