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Friday, May 17, 2013

LLNS/Sandia merger?

Is it true that LLNS is acquiring a subsidiary (Sandia across the street)?


Anonymous said...

Sandia CA is part of Sandia, and is not a "subsidiary." There is always talk about Sandia CA being absorbed into LLNL. Those talks of course assumed a strong LLNL. I have a hard time imagining Sandia CA being absorbed in LLNL right now considering the problems they are having. Why take a fairly-well managed healthy organization and throw it onto a sinking ship? That's just pure folly. A better idea is to take some parts of LLNL and let that get integrated into Sandia (CA and NM).

Anonymous said...

The two labs have different purposes and missions. LLNL is a "science" and research lab, SNL/CA is an "engineering" and research lab.

Originally Sandia was formed out of a LANL engineering division to specifically bring a solid engineering management discipline to the development of atomic/nuclear weapons. Thus allowing LANL management to focus on the more fuzzy underlying science of the weapons.

So when LLNL was opened as the second design lab, it was obvious that a second Sandia site was needed to provide engineering to LLNL's designs.

Merging the two labs would be counter to the whole reason they exist in the first place. However, I had heard that there is a proposal circulating in DOE/NNSA HQ to close SNL/CA and move its work to SNL/Albuquerque. The "empty" SNL/CA campus would then be transferred to LLNL, and converted into an "open" research park possibly as part of the LVOC (Livermore Vally Open Campus) project that is now underway.

This approach would expedite the efforts to allow private companies and institutions to move close to LLNL and create public-private research opportunities. LVOC (and the federal government) wouldn't have to build new buildings, just renovate closed existing ones on the SNL/CA site. Its an easier case to make to congress that the government is not spending public tax dollars on new buildings for private companies to use, but is just giving them "excess" space in empty government buildings that they can use at their cost. This may be what the original poster is referring to.

Given how little interaction on a day to day basic there actually is between LLNL and SNL/CA, moving SNL/CA to NM would probably have little impact on LLNL's weapons work. Most of what SNL/CA does these days has nothing to do with LLNL - compared to its early days in Livermore when 100% of its work support LLNL.

Interesting idea but I doubt the political and bureaucratic stakeholders will approve this idea.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh whenever I see people trot out the tired, old mime of "LLNL/LANL are 'science' labs and SNL is only an 'engineering' lab".

Wake up and smell the coffee, LLNL & LANL. Your 'science' lab status withered away years ago. However, many of your employees clearly still view themselves as "Legends in their own minds".

Anonymous said...

From the website

"Our history reflects the changing national security needs of postwar America. Although Sandia originated as a single-mission engineering organization for nonnuclear components of nuclear weapons, today it is a multiprogram laboratory engaging in research supporting a broad spectrum national security issues.

Sandia began in 1945 as Z Division, the ordnance design, testing, and assembly arm of Los Alamos National Laboratory. It became Sandia Laboratory in 1948 and, in 1949, Sandia Corporation was established as a Western Electric company to manage the laboratory."


"At Sandia, national security is our business. We apply advanced science and engineering to help our nation and allies detect, repel, defeat, or mitigate national security threats."


From the website

"The Laboratory was established in 1952 at the height of the Cold War to meet urgent national security needs by advancing nuclear weapons science and technology. Renowned physicists E.O. Lawrence and Edward Teller argued for the creation of a second laboratory to augment the efforts of the laboratory at Los Alamos.

At his laboratory on the Berkeley campus of the University of California, Lawrence had created the model of how large-scale science should be pursued — through multidisciplinary team efforts. Activities began at Livermore under the aegis of the University of California with a commitment by its first director, Herbert York, to follow Lawrence’s team-science approach and be a “new ideas” laboratory."


"Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission of 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 respond with vision, quality, integrity and technical excellence to scientific issues of national importance."


Bottom line; two different labs, with two different histories and management cultures....

Anonymous said...

Look how far LLNL has fallen with respect to that third goal. It was such a good place over two decade ago.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me from those blurbs that both labs do essential the same stuff.

Anonymous said...

You mean, pedal fast (or even slow) but go nowhere? Then you're right!

Anonymous said...

Looks to me from those blurbs that both labs do essential the same stuff.

May 21, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Teller convinced the government to establish LLNL (then LRL) to develop the "Super." Since then, the justification for keeping it open (until the end of the cold war, at least) has been necessary competition and peer review in weapons work.

Anonymous said...

You don't need a PhD to be a manager at Sandia!

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