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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 author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 evaluation plans posted

2012 evaluation plans posted and LLNL plan is 26 pages, LANL plan is 92!!

There is lots of reading in here, but the real meat in the meal is when the scores are known.

Why is it so difficult at LANL?

Why is it so difficult at LANL?

This one is a zinger.

Fence building is not a difficult job at Y-12, but reportedly a most difficult job to get it right at LANL.

While it may be something that 'we' know how to design and construct, 'we' clearly is not LANL, according to the recent reports on TA-55.

"Putting these fences in is not a very difficult job or difficult project," he said. "But, all things considered . . . I mean, there's a PIDAS system around the Air Force One hangar. PIDAS systems are used widely. So this is something we actually know how to design and construct."

John Eschenberg, federal project director for UPF.

Albuquerque Journal Urges Consideration of NNSA Dismantlement

Weapons Complex Monitor

November 27, 2012

Albuquerque Journal Urges Consideration of NNSA Dismantlement

Noting a string of security lapses and project management blunders, the Albuquerque Journal urged a bipartisan commission proposed by a pair of Senators to strongly consider scrapping the National Nuclear Security Administration in an editorial published Nov. 25. “The agency’s track record is appalling,” the Journal wrote. “Not only is it a questionable duplication to the DOE, it has turned the nuclear weapons complex into a bureaucratic quagmire that defies attempts at efficiency. Its inability to move forward with essential projects is itself a threat to our nuclear security.” Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) are planning to offer an amendment to the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Authorization Act that would establish an “advisory panel” to study governance options for the NNSA, which has been beset by problems on major projects like the Uranium Processing Facility and a security upgrade at Los Alamos National Laboratory, endured an embarrassing security breach at the Y-12 National Security Complex, and angered some Republicans by deferring work on the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility at Los Alamos. The creation of the advisory panel would allow a compromise on controversial NNSA reform language that is in the House version of the Defense Authorization Act but has met resistance in the Senate. “Congress should approve the panel but demand a report with clear recommendations that either put this turkey on the chopping block or figure out how to make it earn its feed,” the Journal wrote.

The Journal’s suggestions appear to have at least some support. The newspaper quoted retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) on the prospects of eliminating the NNSA, perhaps in favor of a move to the Pentagon or the creation of a standalone agency operating outside of the Department of Energy. “I’ve always had problems with the NNSA as another level of bureaucracy between the secretary of energy and the labs,” Bingaman said, according to the Journal. “It doesn’t give me any heartburn to think that we would revisit the decision to set up the NNSA. I think it would make some sense.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Five Los Alamos Guards Dismissed

Weapons Complex Monitor
November 26

Five Los Alamos Guards Dismissed

Five Los Alamos National Laboratory security guards have been fired after allowing unauthorized visitors to operate a variety of weapons at the lab’s shooting range, laboratory Director Charlie McMillan confirmed in a message to lab employees shortly before Thanksgiving. The guards, employed by lab protective force subcontractor SOC, are believed to have accessed the shooting range in the lab’s Technical Area 72 earlier this month. An anonymous tip sparked an investigation by the laboratory and SOC, which led to the dismissal of the guards. “After a swift but preliminary inquiry, it was concluded that inappropriate behavior warranted the termination of five protective force firing range personnel,” the lab said in a statement. “The Laboratory will continue to determine involvement by others, including Laboratory personnel.”

The lab said that its review of the incident determined that there was no safety or security risk, but it said it “does not tolerate unauthorized use of our facilities or equipment. We hold ourselves and our contractors to the highest possible standards of behavior.” Lab spokesman Kevin Roark said the lab’s investigation of the incident is “ongoing and we will determine what further actions are needed, if any.”

LANS lawyered up over fence failure

LANS lawyered up over fence failure

There are some reports that claim a legal battle is brewing over the TA 55 security fence construction project. Always thought that LANS had some good in house lawyers so this must be a really strange deal if they have to bring in outside legal big guns. On the outside it doesn't look like much of a case, since the problems apparently had been widely known for over a year. It could also just be a ploy to divert attention away long enough for the board to find some new leaders.

Don't Throw MFE under the bus because of recent ICF failures

"Don't Throw MFE under the bus because of recent ICF failures"

This is a New York Times opinion piece that takes a blog post from PPPL director, 


The fact that ignition in a large American experimental inertial confinement fusion facility did not occur as hoped by Sept. 30 has sadly raised questions about the scientific legitimacy of that pursuit. That the scientists did not meet their goal by that day probably has little bearing on that field’s ultimate success. Importantly, this non-event should not bear any relation to the fate of other vital work centering on an entirely different approach known as magnetic fusion.

Unallowable Costs Incurred by Los Alamos National Laboratory

Questioned, Unresolved and Potentially Unallowable Costs Incurred by Los Alamos National Laboratory During Fiscal Year 2010

And the bad news just keeps on coming. Poor Charlie. Another IG report on LANL on his watch. How much more can he take?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First casualty of the LANL problems

First casualty of the LANL problems 

The head of the local NNSA site office has been reassigned with no notice. Replacement to be named at a later date, probably when they can find anyone desperate enough to take the position. No one lasts long in this slot, it is just a meat grinder for the unlucky federal worker that draws the short straw.

Friday, November 23, 2012

LANL Security Force Shenanigans

LANL Security Force Shenanigans

Five members of the Los Alamos National Laboratory security force were terminated last week for the improper use of the live fire shooting range located at Technical Area 72, according to a statement released by the lab Wednesday.

The lab security force is called Securing Our Country or SOC.

The statement went on to say, “After a swift but preliminary inquiry, it was concluded that inappropriate behavior warranted the termination of five protective force firing range personnel. The laboratory will continue to determine involvement by others, including laboratory personnel.

“Although the inquiry concluded this was not a safety or security risk, the laboratory takes this kind of inappropriate behavior very seriously.

“The laboratory does not tolerate unauthorized use of our facilities or equipment. We hold ourselves and our contractors to the highest possible standards of behavior.”

Lab officials declined to discuss what the nature of the behavior was that resulted in the terminations.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More LANL security headlines

More LANL security headlines

Charlie said not to worry when the TA 55 security fence had issues, because the guards were on the job and all was good. But wait, now it turns out that some of the guards were out taking pot shots at the rocks with their service hardware. This whole sorry mess looks worse than what led to the last contract transition.

Monday, November 19, 2012

BLOG suggestions

This is not really a suggestion for Scooby and his blog, but more for Google and the capabilities that it provides in the blogger tools.

It would be nice to be able to have a "sticky" functionality, which allows certain threads to "keep current" and either on the top of the blog, or on a special list, so that it persists.
Or a way of having new posts shown at the top of page, but are still categorized within a previously established thread.

Some topics particularly around talent retention, employee and retiree benefits, legal actions and NIF should have their own "stickies." Otherwise, the many of the threads become fragmented over time, and some threads that go out of sight (off the front page) go out of mind.

I can explore whether some of the other "templates" have something like that, but I thought it was just something to suggest and also bring to the attention of the other readers here as well. The thought was simply to make it easier to find and refer to older posts, and perhaps to encourage Scooby to explore such template options if he's inclined to do so

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Alameda County WARN listing only tallies 126 employees

Hmm, the Alameda County WARN listing only tallies 126 employees.

Comment moved here from the "suggested topics" post:

It doesn't matter who's right and who's wrong. 2013 is going to tell the communities an entirely worse story. Maybe that 126 in Alameda county and the balance of the people are from other counties. There are a lot of people that work at LLNL who don't live nearby.

LLNL files WARN Act 11/15/12

 LLNL files WARN Act as of 11/15/12

This means  205 people to be laid off:

Personnel policies changes

FAQs were released. What is your opinion?

Friday, November 16, 2012

LANL culture faulted for "completely preventable" accident

The LANSCE radiation contamination report (all 100+ pages of it) is on line.

The executive summary draws a special focus to the culture of the facility and the "normative behavior when responding to authority". Ouch.

Without directly charging that there were individuals involved in the accident that were non-functional in English ("including proficiency in the English language"), it also strongly suggests that to have been the case. Double ouch.

Recent "High Risk" Events at LANL

Recent "High Risk" Events at LANL

All LANL employees are being formally "warned" in lab-wide briefings from the PADS, that as a result of the Tc-99 Exposure, NUSSUP debacle, and other Security issues that LANL is facing a potential Labwide "stop work". Any more details?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More from POGO on LANL security

More from POGO on LANL security

"The situation at Los Alamos is just as troubling. The National Nuclear Security Administration warned the contractor as early as 2010 that a new security project was in danger of being late and over budget. And now, two years later, the agency is demanding that the contractor fully disclose all of the project's problems and show that the nuclear materials stored at the New Mexico facility are safe.

Good idea. But how did the project get this far and so over budget when the agency with oversight power has an office right in Los Alamos that's supposed to oversee the contractor?"
November 14, 2012 4:40 PM

Lab revises its workforce management policies

On Newsline today:

"Lab revises its workforce management policies"

Here we go again!

Employment Conditions are a "right of property in CA"

Employment Conditions are a "right of property in CA"
When an employee is hired into a class of employees, and is in that class of employees for over a year, he inherits the conditions of employment as a "right of property." If the employer decides to unilaterally change the conditions surrounding this employement, such a remove seniority as a critera for employment priority during times of layoff, or unilaterally makes an employee at-will after a year or more of not being at-will, this is a breach of the "right of property." This has been argued quite successfully several times against the U of CA, and can and will be done against LLNS should it attempt to do this. Your thoughts?
November 13, 2012 4:00 PM
Note from scooby: the following is a comment made while the post was still in the suggestions section:

How does an employer change wages and working conditions, such as in a downturn or loss of funding? Is termination the only tool? What about reduction of work hours? What is the source of this "right"? It seems that an employer can change the work contract of future wages and working conditions at a future date and the employee has the choice of accepting contract or terminating. It seems that making a one-year work contract a permanent right infringes the property rights of the employer. Who would employ under these unfavorable conditions?

More info appreciated. Not my field.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's give Parney alternatives

There are a lot of people with negative comments on this blog. I think we need a discussion on what we expect out of our leaders and what/when did LLNL, LANL, and NNSA have great leaders. Who were they ? There are high levels position being posted. Let's give Parney alternatives, instead of same old same old. This is not working.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Say Goodbye to your Junk Food Rooms

 Say Goodbye to your Junk Food Rooms

Livermore Lab has signed a contract with with a new vendor to supply the vending machines at the lab.
Apparently this contract was let to a company that has a blind person on staff. A state law is on the books stating that vending machines on federal property operated by blind people shall have a non-compete status. A monopoly if you will.
So all of those entrepreneurial lab employees that have been running their own junk food supply depots (that are less expensive than the vending machines) must now fold their tents and blink out of existence.
So to add to our worries of NIF, TA55, Y12, retirement plans, sequestration and bloated management we now will have to pony up more for our snack fix. 

It's only a nick in the death of a 1000 cuts, but just like any other paper cut, it's annoying.

But on the bright side, perhaps we will bring in more healthy snacks from home for our own individual consumption.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Charlie on plutonium facility security fence project failures

Charlie on plutonium facility security fence project failures

From John Fleck's column in the ABQ Journal.

SUBJECT: Personnel Changes on NMSSUP

A few days ago, I shared with you some serious construction issues we have encountered on Phase II of the Nuclear Materials Safety and Security Project at TA-55, or NMSSUP.

Since then, a team of senior Laboratory managers, LANS board members, and managers from parent organizations have been working with the government to develop a solution to complete the project. I believe changes are necessary to ensure that this project is completed successfully, so I have some important updates to report to you today.

We have delivered a revised cost estimate for the project to NNSA. We believe the total project costs will rise from approximately $213 million to approximately $254 million. Because we are not authorized to make this type of change in funding, the project remains in suspended status until Congress or NNSA directs us otherwise.
With the assistance of the LANS board, I have asked three senior, experienced leaders to assume responsibility for the NMSSUP project.
Tyrone “Ty” Troutman will be the NMSSUP project manager. Ty is the construction functional manager for Bechtel Systems and Infrastructure. Although NMSSUP will remain a project of the Principal Associate Directorate for Capital Projects, Ty will report directly to me.
Jimmie L. Willman will manage procurement activities. Most recently, Jimmie was vice president, deputy program manager, and Business Services manager for Kwajalein Range Services, LLC.
Toby Wilson, currently managing Project Controls for LANL’s Environmental Programs directorate, will be assigned to NMSSUP in the same capacity.
The team is taking on this top-priority issue at my request. I ask that you support Ty, Jimmie, and Toby as they assemble the people, processes, and controls necessary to complete the project.

Let me again stress to you that nuclear material at TA-55 remains safe and protected, just as it has during NMSSUP construction. I am convinced that, once complete, NMSSUP will give TA-55 the modern, reliable, perimeter security system it needs.

Performance on this project has been unacceptable to me, the LANS Board of Governors, and our customer. This has damaged the Laboratory’s credibility. We must do better. As we learn more about the breakdowns that occurred, we will share lessons learned.

I expect you will read more about this project in the news media.

Please stay focused on safety, security and executing our missions for the nation.
November 9, 2012 11:57 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Charlie should be fired for this debacle. Not only for deceiving the public, but wasting their money. It is unfortunate that he will not only get away with this, but awarded his "full" bonus this year. Wow!
November 10, 2012 7:23 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"We have delivered a revised cost estimate for the project to NNSA. We believe the total project costs will rise from approximately $213 million to approximately $254 million." Charlie McMillan

Here we ago again CMMR, NMSSUP, ... another re-baseline on the cost estimate (and more LANS Managers) to solve the problem. Charlie, are you kidding us?

Math,LANL style

Math, LANL style

The NNSA report last week indicated that 25 million more was needed to complete the TA 55 security fence failure. In a typical LANL cost estimation expect to see this number double.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The cost of NIF

From Nature

Volume 491
Issue 7423

Ignition switch

The US National Ignition Facility has so far failed to generate fusion energy, but repurposing it as a tool to study nuclear weapons and basic science could be its saving grace.

On a breezy day in 2009, action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, then governor of California, took to the stage to dedicate the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s most powerful laser. “I can see already my friends in Hollywood being very upset that their stuff that they show on the big screen is obsolete,” the governor quipped in front of the recently completed facility, which uses lasers to squeeze fusion energy from a tiny pellet of hydrogen fuel. “Fusion energy may be exactly what will power future generations on the globe,” he added.
Related stories

Laser lab shifts focus to warheads
Laser fusion nears crucial milestone
Superlaser fires a blank

More related stories

Fast-forward three years and the script is somewhat different: the lofty hopes of Schwarzenegger and other politicians who attended the ceremony that day seem less realistic. At the end of September, officials at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California, where the NIF is based, announced that the facility would miss a crucial milestone to produce ignition — releasing as much energy from fusion as is supplied by the lasers. After an intense, six-year effort, the facility remains a factor of ten away from that goal. In the coming weeks, LLNL scientists are expected to lay out an alternative, much longer, path to ignition, while senior officials refocus the laser’s work (see page 170). For now, thanks in large part to the NIF’s role in nuclear-weapons science, politicians will allow the research programme to trundle on at a cost of US$280 million per year. But the great unfulfilled promise of the NIF should serve as a cautionary lesson for scientists who promote Hollywood solutions from their research.
November 7, 2012 6:56 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow. The narrative here reflects almost identically the sentiments about the con job and PR oversell stated by many contributors over a long time in this blog. Almost as if the seeds for the article came from or resonated with these blog posts.
November 8, 2012 12:53 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
NIF = Con Job
Source = Nature Magazine
Moses and numerous LLNL managers and scientists = Con Artists
November 8, 2012 9:41 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Nature article was being too kind to NIF. The role of NIF in nuclear weapons science is marginal. It reflects a larger problem where many projects in the NNSA portfolio don't really support the stockpile, but just keep scientists employed as part of a white collar high-income social welfare program for a pool of scientists who spend all their time trying to justify their existence in ways other than demonstrating value and contribution to their customer.

On top of that, our public funds were being spent to con not only the public, but also people like Friedman and Schwarzenegger and numerous other public figures. They were manipulated into contributing to a fantasy narrative. Frankly, I'm surprised at how this was a huge pie in the face for Friedman, it's not easy to swallow the fact of having been manipulated and victimized like that particularly for people act in a role of shedding more light and finding clarity in complex situations. But we really need to focus more on the victimizer and not the victim. Due diligence may have provided Friedman with red flag indicators to stay clear of Moses and his co-conspirators.

This blog is proving to be very valuable because people here are quick to call a spade "a spade" and to point out harsh truths and allegations that the media (like Nature magazine) tends to soften and candy-coat. While the "facts" can be somewhat fuzzy in some of the blog contributions, many others have seeded legitimate questions and doubts, and have pointed out the trail of crumbs that a journalist or investigator can use to find their way towards the truth. Good job everyone.
November 8, 2012 10:10 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
LLNL had been the center of a controversy regarding deuterium equation of state in which their results were repudiated by the scientific community. As far as I know, there was no corrigendums issues regarding the shoddy analysis, raising doubts about the ability by some to perform work in this field or to employ adequate internal technical reviews.

And so it is very important to keep an eye on who is in the role of technical lead for some of the research areas being proposed as part of the shift towards the focus on warheads (e.g., NNSA programmatic mission). For example, some of these people in leadership roles have no business leading experimental efforts and analyses, and may be unflatteringly characterized as "con artists."
November 8, 2012 10:46 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
If I were to read carefully between the lines for both the editorial and the article pieces from Nature, I would have to guess that the most rational next step involves restructuring the organization in which NIF becomes part of the WCI directorate and overseen by their management. This would make sense, since to make good on their promise, you would rely on their expertise to drive and assess the value of the experiments in support of weapons science. I can only speculate about what this means for Ed Moses if indeed such a move takes place. He certainly does not have the technical background for taking over the equivalent level management role in WCI. Being assigned a more subordinate role would probably not work since he is not that kind of person who reports to or feels he should be accountable to others.

Keeping the status quo management structure in which NIF is a standalone directorate will not work. Staffing decisions for who provides what supporting technical role needs to rest in the WCI program management. The reprioritization by NNSA affirms a commitment to funding programs in support of its core programmatic mission needs. This, in turn, reaffirms WCI's role as the core mission program for its NNSA customer, and not as a matrix organization in support of NIF's fusion energy / ignition program.

The reprioritization is a move in the right direction, though not without peril. The high costs associated with operating NIF will not go away, and many needed cuts may be more painful to endure when self-inflicted (as opposed to being imposed by another organization). On top of that, there are other problems that do not simply go away with a re-organization. The current pervasive Edisonian approach towards solving problems is not just a sign of desperation but rather a pervasive way of "doing science in our unique way." Trial and error approaches to figuring out how to solve the alpha heating milestone failure problem using expensive NIF shots at over 1M per shot demonstrate a level of irresponsibility in how one goes about using tax-payer funded resources.

But we'll have to wait and see. LLNL is an unpredictable beast. There is a big battle of egos within a lab where everyone else is the enemy. NNSA is the enemy of LLNL. Sandia and Los Alamos are the enemy. ITER is the enemy. If that is still the case, you should not be surprised when LLNL makes baffling and mind-boggling decisions that appear, to most rational minded people, to go against their own long term interest. LLNL management making insulting comments disparaging Cook's technical abilities and background for example... is not only incorrect but does not help itself at all. Going to Forrestal only to piss off administrators and get escorted out... demonstrates how one can set new lows in eroding trust and goodwill.

There is one certainty however from the insanity that is pervasive in parts of the lab... that the lab is such a rich source of material for this blog.

NIF has to find its feet all over again

from Nature | Editorial

Volume 491
Issue 7423

But during the past six years, expectations around the NIF have grown well beyond that credible campaign. In many ways, the lab itself is to blame for the unrealism. Lab officials gave tours to prominent politicians and journalists in which they promised a lot more than just ignition. The NIF, they claimed, was the first step on the road to potentially unlimited fusion energy. In support of their dream, LLNL scientists developed a prototype for an electricity-producing reactor that they hoped would gain financing once ignition was achieved.

But problems were mounting even as the lab eagerly promised clean, cheap electricity. Outside reviewers noted that the hydrogen fuel was not being compressed properly. The computer codes used to predict the facility’s performance were themselves operating badly. Privately, most people familiar with the programme had known for more than a year that the NIF could not reach ignition in the time allowed. Yet the LLNL stubbornly insisted that it might yet meet its goal. Enthusiasm gave way to saving face, as the leadership struggled to hold the line and keep up the appearance that all was going well.

The size and cost of the NIF make it an easy target for criticism, but those working there are hardly alone in their hubris. From stem cells to materials science, researchers around the globe make daily headlines with bold claims about what can be done in their fields. Politicians and the public, eager for solutions to the world’s many problems, embrace their words. The process is often healthy: scientists insert caveats, and citizens are given a vague sense that things may not work out. But striking the balance between enthusiasm and conservatism can be difficult. The NIF reminds us that the line between optimism and overselling is a thin one that can too easily be crossed.

Pride comes before a fall. Now the NIF has to find its feet all over again.

NIF cannot just be open-ended

from Nature | News

Nature isn’t the only one pushing back — the NIF’s funders in Congress also want answers. “We’re disappointed,” says one congressional staff member, who spoke to Nature only on condition on anonymity. Critics say that the lab’s enthusiastic promotion of the idea that laser fusion could generate electrical power led many in Congress to believe that they were funding an energy project, when in fact laser fusion is decades from producing electricity. “The lab overemphasized and oversold the energy aspect of the NIF, at the expense of the very important and successful work it was doing in stockpile stewardship and basic science,” says a senior scientist familiar with the NIF programme.

The NIF’s current director Ed Moses bridles at accusations that ignition was over­emphasized. “I don’t think it was oversold or undersold. It just was.” Moses insists that “remarkable progress” has been made in the past 16 months, since the NIF began working with hydrogen-pellet targets. “The goal was to do the initial exploration of the ignition conditions and see where we were, which is what we’ve done.”

Keeping momentum in the ignition campaign may be crucial, because many in Congress still believe in the energy-research mission being pushed by the lab. Lawmakers have mandated that a new plan for reaching ignition be delivered to them by the end of the month. Politicians are ready to accept that it may take longer than originally stated, but they need to see evidence that it is on course, the congressional staff member says: “It can’t just be an open-ended: ‘Just give us money, we promise we will do good science’.” And if the NIF fails to reach its ignition goal in a few more years? “Then we’ll have to evaluate whether it’s worth continuing to fund the facility.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NNSA report on LANL radiation leak?

NNSA report on LANL radiation leak?

Since the NNSA report on the multiple failures of the TA 55 security fence was made public, does anyone know when the report on the multiple failures of the LANSCE radiation safety controls will be released?

Who is next?

Anonymously contributed:

Who is next?

Episode 1is now complete and Obama is back again.
Stay tuned for episode 2, when we learn the fate of Chu.

How will it turn out?

Monday, November 5, 2012

NNSA defends LANL analysis

Anonymoulsy contributed:

NNSA defends LANL analysis

This is a complex letter to DNFSB on PF 4. The bottom line is that this is still a work in progress.

Specialized Planning Needs Contribute to B-61 Expense Boost: Pentagon

Anonymoulsy contributed:

Global Security Newswire
Nov 5, 2012

Specialized Planning Needs Contribute to B-61 Expense Boost: Pentagon

Completing planned updates to the U.S. stockpile of B-61 nuclear gravity bombs would require the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico to carry out significantly more engineering activities than the National Nuclear Security Administration has acknowledged, an oversight responsible in large part for the agency's incorrectly low projection of the effort's expense, according to U.S. Defense Department findings reported by the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday.

Staffing demands for B-61 modernization activities would probably necessitate more than the 600 specialists anticipated by the Sandia laboratory, according to an abstract of findings by the Defense Department's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office. The National Nuclear Security Administration -- a semiautonomous branch of the Energy Department -- has not described how it would provide additional specialists to update the bomb's schematics and assemble the altered weapon with new parts, the CAPE office indicated.

A 2010 NNSA estimate placed at $3.9 billion the expense of extending the lives of the decades-old tactical armaments, thought by nongovernmental analysts to number around 400. The agency's projection reached $6.8 billion by July, and the Defense Department later suggested the price tag would rise to $10.4 billion and the program time line would increase by 36 months.

Plans to update and reproduce almost every interior B-61 part are a large, unnecessary contributor to the initiative's projected expense, according to detractors of the effort.

One-time Sandia laboratory vice president Bob Peurifoy said there are no indications of any necessity for steps now being taken to rebuild the 29 key elements that almost constitute the weapon in its entirety.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Shocking news report - NNSA budgets not credible!

Anonymously contributed:

Shocking news report - NNSA budgets not credible!

Nothing in this article is a surprise, but having it all put together in one story is pretty damning. Four major construction projects (LANL, Y-12, LANL again, and LLNL), each over budget, behind schedule, and failing to meet performance specs -- it has been a busy six months for NNSA. Not to mention that there was still time to have the Y-12 nun breach and the LANL radiation exposures.


"The B61′s cost and schedule problems compound increasing difficulties the agency faces as a result of repeated instances of similar problems on other major nuclear weapons projects.

♦ In February, the agency was forced to indefinitely defer work on a new plutonium laboratory after its estimated cost ballooned from $800 million in 2007 to an estimated $4 billion to $6 billion, too much for the agency’s budget.

♦ Last month, agency officials acknowledged they had to redesign a similar multi-billion dollar building they are trying to build to do nuclear weapons work in Tennessee after realizing the current design is too small to hold the equipment needed.

♦ Also last month, the agency acknowledged that a new $213 million security system at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s most sensitive nuclear facility did not work, forcing the lab to spend significant extra money to add the necessary guards to keep a major stockpile of nuclear weapons-usable plutonium safe while the agency figures out how to finish the project.

♦ In September, the agency acknowledged that the $5 billion National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, built for $5 billion over more than a decade to support nuclear weapons research, had failed to achieve its goals in simulating the fusion blast of a weapon."

Sequestration explained

Anonymously contributed:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Will things change?

Anonymously conributed:

So with only a few days left until the election does anyone want to speculate how things might change or stay the same at the labs. Please keep it civil and on track. I will start off and say that if Obama stays than things at the labs will stay about the same as they have. If Romney gets elected I have no idea.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Prove you are not a robot!

To Scooby:

Your "prove you're not a robot" stuff has really gotten ridiculous. I know for a fact that you can turn it off, so enlighten us as to what problem it is solving. When I come up against a particularly bad case of visual stupidity, I simply enter random keystrokes until I get one I can actually read. Nice way to discourage posting in general and in particular to piss off people who really would like to post. Not very bright. Just another modern inconvenience that people will come to accept, such as staring into a tiny screen to see something that your high-resolution laptop screen would render absolutely stunning, or trying to understand a static-ey. unstable phone conversation that your land line could render clear and static-free, without anyone having to shout.
October 31, 2012 7:46 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Not this again...
November 1, 2012 1:05 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Keep hitting the cycle button until you get one that you are fairly certain you will enter correctly
November 1, 2012 1:07 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
" so enlighten us as to what problem it is solving. "

To keep drunks and idiots from posting.
November 1, 2012 8:21 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
What is it about anonymous communication (including text messaging, etc.) that turns physicists into rude, disrespectful people (the exception being me) with 'binary opinions?
November 1, 2012 3:21 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
" turns physicists "

I would say most posts come from techs and some engineers. It seems like a number are ex-military. Just a guess on my part so who knows. If you look up the makeup of LLNL, LANL, or Sandia there is probably not that many physicists compared to everyone else.

Y-12 guards given cheat sheets by contractor

Y-12 guards given cheat sheets by contractor

Not on the same level as the LANL scandals, but still raises questions about culture.


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