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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 authors serve as moderators. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NIF, the Spruce Goose

Anonymously contributed: ------------------------ The debate about whether or not NIF is an engineering wonder or a physics failure is interesting, but unimportant. No matter how elegant the engineering, if the physics can't be done, the end result is failure and the engineering but a sterile accomplishment. There is a stunningly accurate historical precedent for NIF, the Spruce Goose. Conceived as an essential wartime tool, built by an exceptional engineer, wildly over cost, delivered late, and wholly irrelevant to the mission by the time it was completed. Moreover, technology passed it by and it was a complete dead end, despite its true elegance. Interestingly, the characteristics of their leaders are quite similar as well. The Wikipedia summary on the Spruce Goose is recommended as a management case history.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are statements attributable to LLNL employees who would have issue with this assessment.

With nearly $6B invested, whether $450M or $2B more is needed is less important than completing the investigation.

August 22, 2012 11:14 PM


The sad thing is that the flawed and misguided arguments behind these statements fall clearly fall into their own bullet points for a management case study, and that they don't even realize it. And even more sad, this is really Organizational Behavior 101 undergraduate level stuff. One could rattle off atleast a half-dozen biases or effects in play with NIF.

Oh, and don't buy into the line that "ignition is just around the corner."

Anonymous said...

NIF's performance means that ICF is dead.

Anonymous said...

ICF is not dead. It just needs more money. I completely disagree with the analogy to the Spruce Goose. We need to keep funding NIF even if it means shutting down other core programs and even other national labs. Shut down PNL, PPPL, Argonne West, Brookhaven, a few others, they are small potatoes. Whether it takes 2B more or 200B more, our lab management's reputation is at stake.

The right strategy is to double down on ignition and LIFE, and come hell or high water, push for continued and increasing funding for power upgrades, target chamber upgrades, new sources, new materials, everything over next 30 years.

In the future, the commerialization and enrichment prospects for the employees are enormous, and we need to make sure that congress continues funding in order to enable this to happen. The will be in at the ground floor of a whole industry, and so will those people with demonstrated loyalty who have helped NIF with funding. So many NIF managers and employees sacrificed many hours of their life to make this happen, and this is the least we can do for them.

Shutting down the magnetic fusion programs would be a start, as well as the FE program at the Office of Science, and having funding to NIF come directly from congress through conduits like the White House or Commerce, and not through DoE. Any notion of funding to ITER should be made illegal. In addition, laws should be written to force EPRI to fund fusion research at NIF, as they will be one of the beneficiaries of our great work so far.

Anonymous said...

The thing I don't get is why "Alvin Trivelpiece, retired director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee" and his "standing technical review committee" were not tracking this last failure scenario LONG before it was realized. You have two possible outcomes for a milestone. You meet it, or you don't. And the scenarios associated with failure are countable since the milestone is specific. So it's not an uncountability problem that these supposed brilliant geniuses were tasked with managing. More likely, these guys are just arrogant physicists who look down on anyone who doesn't use Planck's constant or the speed of light or the square root of pi regularly in their daily life. They probably think that risk management is mumbo jumbo qualitative drivel not worth paying any attention to. They have no idea of what risk management control is, or how the notion of tracking risk. Or the other possibility is that these guys already had a strategy for the bait and switch if they were to have a milestone failure.

Anonymous said...

We can't possibly win the Nobel Prize if we don't fund NIF.

Anonymous said...

The spruce goose did fly...

Anonymous said...

ICF is dead. NIF's performance shows that the facility needed to be ten to one hundred larger to achieve ignition. No country in the world will pay for a $50 to $500 billion laser facility.
But ICF doesn't matter for energy production. NIF was sold as a replacement for nuclear testing. In their arrogance, LLNL managers claimed that ignition was essential for maintaining US nuclear deterrence. That claim was ridiculous but NIF would not have been funded without it.

Anonymous said...

Two logical fallacies.

1. You conclude failure of NIF to achieve its scientific missions before they are attempted. Idle speculation.

2. The spruce goose failed. The NIF instrument, however, regularly delivers its complete design specifications to the target and hence, is available for its purpose.

Your continued assertions are getting boring.

Anonymous said...

The lead writer on this thread sure has a "hard on" for NIF, reeks of emotion, lacks cohesive logic.

Wonder what the wound was?

Care to share your sad story LANL?

Anonymous said...

What lonely old technician writes this stuff? Jon is that you?

Anonymous said...

This one really makes me laugh

With nearly $6B invested, whether $450M or $2B more is needed is less important than completing the investigation.

Anonymous said...

No, we really should pump more money into it. Until its over, and only when we say it's over. Double down on LIFE and ignition. That is the only rational choice.

Anonymous said...

Yeah these people sound like hocus pocus management gurus who don't know the first thing about the physical world that we live in. They can't even figure out that you gotta keep pumping money in until the investigation is completed. Duh! Why throw away the chance to win nobel prizes just because we don't have the guts to take the gamble and keep going full throttle. These spineless types have no business saying anything about what a weapons lab should be doing. What morons. And whining and crying about "managing risk." That is a total load of crock. The thing works. So what it doesn't get ignition. What are you going to do? go crying to congress? go whining to the president that we "wasted all that tax payer money and all you got was everything EXCEPT ignition?" you should just be happy that these geniuses are working for us and not for another country. Count your blessings. There is alot you can learn by following our example.

Anonymous said...

A way to shut these los alamos losers would be to post their names and email addresses. Send them scurrying back into the hole that they came from.

Anonymous said...

The Spruce Goose was completed. And the damn thing worked. It was able to fly and regularly meet it's specifications.

Anonymous said...

The Ed Moses sycophants are really fun contributors. How they keep speaking on behalf of LLNL. Love to hear about LLNS corporate policy through seedy blog threads like this one.

Anonymous said...

There may be parts of this that are not remembered perfectly after the passage of some years, but it does appear that a tad bit of clarification of roles and responsibilities is in order to set the historical context of some aspects of NIF.

While Moses is the current face of the effort, his primary role in his present assignment was to complete the build of the already started facility to deliver a desired input according to a certain design. The key architects and proponents of the design came from B Division, and they were the ones claiming output from the facility in the early days. Anastasio, Miller, Mara and to a lesser extent McMillan were in that group of supporters, heavily enabled by Reiss at NNSA. Thus were conceived the concepts of science based stockpile stewardship and the annual certification letters in the absence of weapons testing.

Another key driver, some would claim that it was the overarching motivation, for the project was that LANL had a big, expensive facility in LANSCE and LLNL felt a need to 'keep up or be left behind'. What was lost in this component of the analysis is that DOE had not supported the 'big physics' argument for LANSCE since the Reagan era and for years it survived on earmarks from Congress. When this reality hit LLNL, they were forced to fit NIF entirely inside the weapons program budgets.

This leaves the country with a facility that was satisfactorily constructed to its design and paid for by a mission sponsor that to date has not seen evidence of the utility of the facility with respect to its mission. In the absence of DOE picking up the enduring operating costs in order to conduct 'big physics' experiments, it would appear that a dead end has been reached.

Corrections or clarifications are welcomed from others that were involved in the formative planning.

For the record, I am not a big personal fan of Moses, but do not wish to see him punished for the crimes of others.

Anonymous said...

NIF was sold as a replacement for nuclear testing. ... LLNL managers claimed that ignition was essential for maintaining US nuclear deterrence. ... NIF would not have been funded without it.

To put it kindly, NIF was a "con job." Unfortunately, that's not a surprise to anyone. Even employees in LLNL have known that fact.

But hey, this is about the "ends justifying the means." We all know that there is no huge lab-wide consequence for lying. Those lies paid the salary for lots and lots of employees and contractors and construction and component vendors. There was a huge positive benefit to lying. The lab should keep getting away with this as much as it possibly can! Its like a tax loophole: you would be stupid not to use it for whatever moral BS reason. Because of these lies, we do have a demonstrated ability to build such a larger laser that someday may achieve ignition.

Sure, make someone pay. Find a scapegoat. Extract a pound of flesh. So what. They will land on his feet. Alot of good came out of the deception.

Anonymous said...

The lies and deception hurts alot of people. It hurts other programs and scientists who do play by the rules. It puts them at a distinct disadvantage. Lying may not be illegal in this particular case.

I am being realistic to doubt that the politicians will do anything to prevent this abuse from occuring again. While more oversight would help, we will probably end up seeing less.

And no, not everyone "plays this game of lies and deception" in government budgeting process. That is the kind of excuse that criminals use to reinforce and justify their own behavior to themselves.

Anonymous said...

Regarding this notion to "double down" on ignition and LIFE, where do you envision the funds to come from? The overhead rates are expected to be "corrected" next FY. Which means that NIF costs go up 15-20%, which means you get that much less for operations and research. Even if WCI takes it over WITH NNSA's blessing, it still has to make up quite a large shortfall that is ongoing and not a one-time cost. At some point, you gotta rob Peter to pay Paul.

Anonymous said...

LLNL should look into other revenue generating ideas.

1) NIF Gift Shop and charge say $10 for tickets to take the tour. Reduce costs further by setting up a self-guided tour.

2) Bring back Old Rad Lab (tm) moonshine. Cheap outsourced production like Kirkland Costco branded whiskey that is rebranded as Old Rad Lab. Marketing tie-in with NIF. Build up marketing associated with the lore of the old LLNL glory days and party nights.

3) Let go expensive staff employees, then hire them back as contractors at lower salaries through consulting firms such as SAIC.

4) Designation of NIF as a national monument, and receive funds for preserving such, then misappropriating them towards operational costs. (hey what's a little bit of misappropriations here and there? it's nothing new at NIF)

5) Designation of NIF as critical infrastructure, and receiving DHS funds for securing them, then misappropriating them towards operating costs.

6) Advertising revenue - all images, presentations and documents associated with NIF will have advertising logos, photos, taglines, etc. Annual naming rights for the facility can be given to an organization.

7) Partner with a large telecommunications carrier to use some extra space to build in a telecommunications hub for fiber network backbone in this area. Tax internet traffic that passes through the hub. Use funds to pay for operations.

8) Fill the capacitor banks of NIF to the brim during the night time hours when electricity is cheapest. Empty the capacitor banks and feed it back into the grid during the daytime when prices are the highest. Use the proceeds to help fund operations.

Anonymous said...

9) Begin collecting fines for traffic infractions that occur within the facility. Institute a quota for lab security to issue a certain number of tickets per week. Use fees to pay for operations.

10) Remove all lawn-based landscaping, and replace with landscaping that requires no maintenance. Focussed application of lab-wide cost savings to NIF.

11) Charge employees for the use of the beach volley-ball court on the premise. Also charge employees for using the gardening space that is on the premise. Apply fees towards operations.

12) Toll collection at all points along the inner loop. Install fastrak infrastructure and require all employees and visitors to have fastrak, otherwise incur a fine.

13) Accept donations for employees and friends of the lab. Create a 501(c)6 non-profit to serve as a conduit for funds to support operations.

Anonymous said...

14) Threaten the world with the creation of a black hole, or even worse, a small star, unless randsom is paid. Apply randsom payment towards operations.

Anonymous said...

15) Request that Tom Friedman reimburse the lab for the cost of the limousine ride that the lab set up for him, saying that it is unethical for him to accept such consideration, and that the limousine ride may taint his objectivity. Say that in order for him to maintain his reputation and standing in the journalism community, his best course of action is to pay the lab back for the cost + any other incurred interest, fees and penalties. Apply funds towards operations.

Anonymous said...

6) Go back to underground testing. Sell NIF diagnostics back to the test program for use in Nevada. Use funds thus generated for NIF D&D.

Anonymous said...

Like O'bama, this thread has lost its way, lost in its own flatulence.

Anonymous said...

It's the peyote.

Anonymous said...

Medical Marijuana, the California Cash Crop

Anonymous said...

Like Willard, casting around for which Mitt the public will buy.

Anonymous said...

Didn't they require Ed to abide by a non-disparagement clause as part of his exit?? The guy is totally violating his agreement. LLNS needs to rescind his package. The guy is totally going rogue.

Anonymous said...

17) Take short positions in real estate surrounding the lab. Have lab make official statements about downsizing and shutting down, lowering real estate values. Alternatively, make false statements about potential Tritium contamination in those properties. Receive proceeds from short positions, then take long positions in those same properties, Retract and unwind statements made to depress real estate values. Wait for real estate values to slowly return to original values. Receive proceeds from long position. Repeat the cycle. Use proceeds to fund operations.

Anonymous said...

18) Begin a large scale meth synthesis operation inspired by hit TV show Breaking Bad. State the need for such operation, citing jealousy that Albuquerque has one in the show. Synthesize vast quantities of blue stuff. Use proceeds to fund operations. Alternatively, market an Old Rad Lab bath salts product. Small up front expenditure to research to figure out that bath salts are not salts used in the bath.

Anonymous said...

19) Start demanding royalty payments from TSA for the LLNL held patent for "de-titillating" airport security full body scan images. Apply royalty payments to operations.

Anonymous said...

20) Create the LLNL executive MBA program geared towards the future business associated with fusion energy as the new reality for the millennium. 2 year accredited full time MBA at a total cost of $200,000. Include summer internship at NIF. Learn about the marketing and financing for the new paradigm. Outsource most courses to local community colleges.

Anonymous said...

20) Charge for admission for Spruce Goose films, at least it did fly, abliet not far. So the film would highlight the engineering of a wooden plane, AND the correct physics of flight! A success that NIF could aspire to beat! Not to worry Taucher is on board.

Anonymous said...

21) Turn the LLNL square mile into a vineyard. The wine will be called, "Fusion in a Bottle". The target chamber will be used to ferment the grapes, the world's largest at that! Anastasio will return from retirement to be named, "The Little Ole Winemaker" at the Fusion Winery.

Anonymous said...

Hey now! it might have just a touch of tritium in it. But that might be a good thing. It forces you to let the wine age just a bit.

Anonymous said...

21) Turn the LLNL square mile into a vineyard. The wine will be called, "Fusion in a Bottle". The target chamber will be used to ferment the grapes, the world's largest at that! Anastasio will return from retirement to be named, "The Little Ole Winemaker" at the Fusion Winery.

September 1, 2012 4:45 AM

Can't call it Fusion Winery. Has to be called "Near-Fusion Winery or Sub-Fusion Winery".

Anonymous said...

Use of the word "fusion" may be aspirational... like words like "nirvana" or "paradise" or "nobel prize" Small print would probably need to be included to clarify that point in order to comply with Truth in Advertising laws and to prevent any lawsuits that could further deplete the employee pensions.

Anonymous said...

NIF should be renamed something else, like the "National Laser Facility." Instead of constantly pretending to be close to ignition, change the name and mission so that it is more in line with realistic expectations. Then maybe some of this NIF ridiculing and belittlement will stop..

Anonymous said...

In ancient history time when I was a postdoc, we were allowed, or rather expected to, spend 25% of our time in research of our own choosing and direction. I think this was included in overhead as a way to promote scientific research and personal initiative at the weapons labs. Maybe this approach can be extended as a broader concept to NNSA to be able to fund some percentage of high risk no-mission projects without running into these mission sponsor alignment problems. Not having to struggle with this type of problem makes the issue go away to some extent, or so it seems from my naive perspective. On the other hand it may tie up funds needed elsewhere I suppose.

Anonymous said...

The drive for ignition should be in the OFES portfolio. If congress wants ignition, they should pay for it through OFES or other Office of Science vehicles.

Anonymous said...

From the 2013 Congressional Budget Request Page 110.

...Ongoing efforts
toward ignition (if not achieved in FY 2012), the
development of a reproducible ignition platform, and
advanced ignition concepts will continue at a reduced
pace in the Ignition subprogram as funding for Support of
Other Stockpile Programs resumes. If indirect‐drive
ignition has not been achieved by the end of FY 2012,
development of a detailed physics understanding will be
used to improve the designs in concert with the
development of alternative ignition concepts. This will
allow a discovery rather than schedule driven program
that will provide more opportunities for comparison with
simulations and feedback from them to resolve the
outstanding physics questions.


The ICF
budget provides $271,750,000 for the operations of the
NIF and the ICF program at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory (LLNL) and $60,250,000 for the
operations of the Omega Laser Facility and the ICF
program at the University of Rochester. Depending on
the status of the ignition effort and the physics
understanding at the end of FY 2012, Omega operations
funding may be increased to provide additional data that
may be required.


Anonymous said...

Read 'em and weep you LANL armchair scientists.

The outcome of detailed technical review is support for a robust discovery based scientific program.

Game.

Set.

Match.

Time to bow down to worship your superior.

Anonymous said...

Checkmate!

Anonymous said...

NIF should be renamed something else, like the "National Laser Facility." Instead of constantly pretending to be close to ignition, change the name and mission so that it is more in line with realistic expectations. Then maybe some of this NIF ridiculing and belittlement will stop..

September 4, 2012 10:57 AM

This is a great way to conceal the fact that NIF has been an abysmal failure. Another fleecing of America scheme to fund a bunch of scientists to play with their toys. Someone needs to kill this project.

Anonymous said...

Laughing all the way to the bank you fool, Go lodge a complaint to your congressman if you don't like it. Checkmate mofo,

Anonymous said...

Heck yeah! Unknown unknowns win he day. I bet we can get 5-6 years of sustained funding through NNSA out of this.

Anonymous said...

LANL should get a budget cut for their disloyalty and petulant whining.

Anonymous said...

It goes to show you that we tell Washington what to do and not the other way around. That is the reality now and forever. I don't know why a lot of you never learn. God takes care of winners plain and simple. That is divine justice. Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

The language in the budget request reflects the fact that LLNL has put NNSA in its place. 475m a year in open ended NIF research is a boon for the plasma physics community. Back are the days of big science, a victory for LLNL and a crushing defeat for the small minded. It is time to start thinking about increasing the NIF budget request using every leverage and pressure tactic available. This is a full court press. We call upon all good minded Americans to stand with us and support us by contacting your legislators. Ignition is within our grasp and we can already smell victory!

Anonymous said...

Office of science is generally against funding science at the national labs for a lot of good and some not so good reasons. There are a few notable cases where research can only be done at a national lab since it requires leveraging lab capabilities, such as the infrastructure for handling nuclear materials. Office of Science withholding funding in those areas of basic research in actinide sciences doesn't quite make sense.

I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with research related to and supporting ignition. Excellent research from NIF and it's partners have been produced over the past decade. Science policy perhaps needs to be revisited, since it should not have been such an ordeal to get NIF funding regardless of how you feel about it's mission relevance or irrelevance. Moving forward, big science projects need some standalone structure that insulates it from both the political battles as well as prevent the potential abuses and misappropriations as seen in the recent past perpetrated by the national labs. Putting them under the management of national labs provides numerous avenues for things to go wrong, funds to be diverted and overhead rates to be skewed and unbalanced.

Personally I think that NIF funding should be scaled down, but not eliminated. Science should take its time and be done well and should not require breakneck urgency to answer to potential challenges in terms of justification for funding. NASA has a reasonable success rate (acknowledging its myriad problems as well) in science and discovery and we can look to them as a kind of model in which NIF might be able to thrive in.

All of the posturing and bluster hides the fact that it is a highly fragmented national science strategy that has put us in the situation that we are in today. Arguing about what is wrong with the players or the projects misses the point, since they are all products of this fragmented policy. It is almost like the old DoD stovepipe problem, only much more complicated and with many more stakeholders.

While this is my own personal opinion, I accept the possibility that I am wrong and uninformed about many things about the national labs and NNSA, and am open to any corrections or contrary points of view.

Anonymous said...

I should correct myself to say that there is no single coherent national science policy, strategy or doctrine and that what we have are disjointed fragments instead.

Anonymous said...

LLE/NLUF has a much lower overhead rate than the weapons labs. Also the management structure isn't as top heavy and bloated either.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lay person not familiar with these laser programs, so I was trying to follow some of the links and terminology. Could someone please explain what the difference is between NIF's approach to ignition and LLE's approach to ignition? I am looking at

http://www.lle.rochester.edu/omega_facility/omega_ep/

which clearly has the look and feel of a user facility. I'm assuming that NIF will have the same kind of user facility approach based on their website. I understand how NIF has more power, and is therefore more likely to be closer to ignition. Is there a reason based on capability demand or uniqueness of capability as to why we have both and not one?

Anonymous said...

"Laughing all the way to the bank you fool, Go lodge a complaint to your congressman if you don't like it. Checkmate mofo,

September 5, 2012 1:01 AM"

Yeah, why use tax dollars to fund stodgy old nuclear weapons and plutonium facilities in New Mexico when we can use them here to support our brilliant artificial star, the NIF.

Anonymous said...

It's time to shut down LANL. Its a sickly bloated cow that is begging to be put out of its misery. Move pu operations to other secure facilities, shut down LANSCE, and build a radiation theme park and spa there. LLNL is here to stay little man. We'll keep replacing your legacy managers with ours to put you in your place and discipline you until you give up your arrogant and antiquated ways. No modern pit facility? Shows how you don't know even how to play the game. Leave the real projects to the big boys while you sit in the corner sucking your pacifier.

Anonymous said...

22) Funding through "fusion bonds" in which the bond holders are entitled to a proportional share of any profits generated from intellectual property coming from the ICF program. Or alternatively a preferred equity like structure. Have in place a special security agreement (SSA) like arreangement to protect intellectual property and government information from exfiltration. Oversight to prevent employees from "tossing IP over the fence" to startups for lining their own pockets. Puts ownership in the hands of those who are most interested in seeing the program succeed and are willing to back up their support through investment. Restrictions on employees and management beneficial ownership to less that 1%, with priority given to non employee individual and institutional investors.

Anonymous said...

In 30 years it could be worth billions! Where do I sign up?

Anonymous said...

Is there any new information about layoffs? The overhead correction is going to hard.

Anonymous said...

It's time to shut down LANL. Its a sickly bloated cow that is begging to be put out of its misery. Move pu operations to other secure facilities, shut down LANSCE, and build a radiation theme park and spa there. LLNL is here to stay little man. We'll keep replacing your legacy managers with ours to put you in your place and discipline you until you give up your arrogant and antiquated ways. No modern pit facility? Shows how you don't know even how to play the game. Leave the real projects to the big boys while you sit in the corner sucking your pacifier.

September 6, 2012 9:45 AM

Is that you Bret Knapp?

Anonymous said...

NIF should be renamed something else, like the "National Laser Facility." Instead of constantly pretending to be close to ignition, change the name and mission so that it is more in line with realistic expectations. Then maybe some of this NIF ridiculing and belittlement will stop..

September 4, 2012 10:57 AM

Yeah that's it! Get rid of the target chamber and redirect the lasers into the sky targeting pigeons. New name with a clear mission that LLNL can finally succeed at: National Laser Targeting Birds Program (NLTBP).

Anonymous said...

Judging by both tone and content - or lack thereof - a lot of comments are directed at the apparent error in the LLNL NIF model as the experiment begins to produce data. LANL is reportedly taking glee in this model failure, even perhaps gloating at the highest levels in large meetings.
Those that live in glass houses should be careful when they throw rocks. Seems like only last year LANL was pushing model results that had oil slicks washing up on the coast of the British Isles as a consequence of the BP oil fire in the Gulf of Mexico. The experiment has now been run, and the LANL model was only off by many, many orders of magnitude.

Anonymous said...

LANL is raw about the fact that LLNL was given a pass for its minor programmatic mission relevance and shift of much focus to a science mission while still on the sponsor's dime, while LANL didn't get a similar gift. Sibling rivalry. Don't worry, babies stop crying when they realize nobody is watching or going to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Of course NIF didn't achieve ignition. From the start llnl scienticians automagically conjured up a smaller design the would still reach ignition when they had to trim their proposal many years ago! The ends justify the means baby. Con job 101. Switch all messaging to the science mission your strong suit. The bait and switch is complete. Now that they don't have to live up to programmatic mission needs or expectations , they can live out the rest of their careers as honest scientists in pursuit of science for a scientific mission. Very crafty.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, why use tax dollars to fund stodgy old nuclear weapons and plutonium facilities in New Mexico when we can use them here to support our brilliant artificial star, the NIF.


NIF >> CMRR/MPF

Anonymous said...

ITER funding really needs to be cut and reallocated to other programs like NIF and what the hell, NSTX and Z and other platforms. Keep tax payer funding closer to home, rather that supporting the Cadarache local economy. Collaborating internationally is fine. But it needs to be focused around support for our own platforms, not a foreign one.

Anonymous said...

It's a cute strategy. There has always been this notion about how LLNL "takes the (programmatic) money and runs (science and research projects instead)." Backlash as well as other factors (no new funding sources) led to the demise of a lot of the bio programs. But this one has managed to survive to this point. The public doesn't clamor for the shutdown of basic science program the same way it wants to shut down defense or social welfare related programs. Maybe we will see support for NIF even to the extent of the erosion or elimination of core defense related capabilities at the lab. It is also reminding us of the harsh reality that there are no real concerns for stockpile and that "NNSA programs at the lab are there primarily to keep the weapons scientists busy and employed.". Maybe NIF like big science and engineering programs are templates for the inevitable changes in the NWC. If scientists HAD to build a working bomb, they could. Don't REALLY need to know about the EOS of DT or materials to 50MBars and to high precision. Also, if NNSA HAD to cut NIF funding, where would they put it instead? Other science projects at other labs? NNSA isn't going to admit that they really need much less to support its programmatic mission. Putting the funds into more safety and security won't fly. This is a very interesting case study where science shook off the shackle of and triumphed over programmatic mission.

Anonymous said...

The annual certification process is also a source of many LOLs and eye rolls.

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