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Thursday, October 31, 2013
DOD doesn't need LLNL's B-83... House Democrat Eyes More Powerful Alternative to B-61 Nuclear Bomb Oct. 30, 2013 By Douglas P. Guarino Global Security Newswire WASHINGTON -- A key House Democrat on Tuesday pressed the Obama administration over whether it could use another, more powerful nuclear weapon to defend U.S. allies in Europe rather than making controversial and costly upgrades to the B-61 atomic warhead. The B-61 is a U.S. nuclear gravity bomb stationed in five NATO member nations in Europe. The National Nuclear Security Administration and its contractors are currently in the early phases of a life-extension program for variants of the aging weapon, which administration officials say is urgently needed to ensure they remain safe and reliable. Some Democrats question the administration's position, however. During a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) referenced prior remarks by retired Gen. James Cartwright indicating that there are other weapons in the U.S. arsenal that could deter attacks on NATO allies. She called the continued use of the B-61 "political." Given fiscal constraints facing the United States, Representative John Garamendi (D-Calif.) asked specifically whether another U.S. gravity bomb, the B-83, could be used instead. Administration officials indicated that the B-83 would not require a major overhaul for approximately 10 to 15 years, whereas the B-61 is in need of more urgent refurbishment if its use is to be continued. But the B-83, which is capable of destroying entire cities, is a much more powerful weapon than those the United States currently deploys in Europe. "It truly is a megaton-class weapon -- it is the relic of the Cold War," Madelyn Creedon, assistant secretary of Defense for global strategic affairs, said at the Tuesday hearing. "The B-83 is not compatible with European aircraft and the idea of introducing a megaton warhead into Europe is almost inconceivable to me, so we need the B-61." Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, who heads the U.S. Strategic Command, said the B-61 life-extension program would enable the nation to reduce the number of B-83 warheads and eventually eliminate the more powerful weapon entirely. "That's what we will do … so we're not spending money twice," Kehler said. If, however, the administration does not refurbish the B-61 as currently planned, it would then become necessary to conduct a separate life-extension program for the B-83, according to Donald Cook, NNSA deputy administrator for defense programs. "We'd have to do compatibility with aircraft which don't currently fly it and we will not have the basis to do that at anywhere near the cost" of the planned B-61 refurbishment, Cook told the House lawmakers. "All I can say right now is it would be considerably more expensive in my opinion." The B-61 plan is "absolutely consistent with the president's goals," according to Creedon. "It's very important to remember that there are sort of two points to all of this," she said. President Obama "has been very strong that the stockpile be safe, secure and reliable, and that it remain that way as long as there are any nuclear weapons. "That said," Creedon continued, "he has clearly indicated that he would like to entertain reductions … along with Russia. But until such time as that happens, the [planned B-61 refurbishment] is absolutely consistent with the president's goals, as well as our commitment to our allies."
Interesting..... Moscow Conducts Large-Scale Nuclear Attack Drill - Oct 30th ( Freebeacon ) Russian strategic forces carried out a large-scale surprise military drill on Wednesday, launching four nuclear missiles that were closely monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, U.S. officials said. ...The strategic missile exercises highlight Moscow’s large-scale nuclear forces build up under Putin. Russia is developing several new missiles, including a weapon U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed as a covert intermediate-range nuclear missile called the RS-26 that is being developed and tested in apparent violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. freebeacon.com/ moscow-conducts-large-scale-nuclear-attack-drill/
What happened to the old PAD? Principal Associate Director for NIF & Photon Science Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, United States Job Description Principal Associate Director for NIF & Photon Science, #11724 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has an opening for a Principal Associate Director (PAD) for the National Ignition Facility & Photon Science (NIF&PS) principal directorate. The PAD for NIF&PS is responsible for developing and maintaining the broad range of NIF&PS technical capabilities and infrastructure that supports the current and long-range missions of the Laboratory and for the successful execution of multiple programs for a diverse set of customers. This individual will develop and articulate the mission and strategic plan for the Principal Directorate and develop and maintain close partnerships and collaborations internationally and with government agencies including DOE/NNSA and DoD. The position requires a broad knowledge of NIF&PS core capabilities and infrastructure. The person in this role serves as the leader of the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program (ICF). The PAD for NIF&PS has the prime responsibility for operating the NIF safely and securely for its multiple mission customers...
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
o this is a bit premature but Detroit is talking about lowering union pensions to 16% of original amounts http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/30/detroit-bankruptcy-proposal-would-leave-pensioners-with-16-cents-on-dollar/ I also see in Virgina a Democrat might win for Governor. I am guessing people there and here just do not get it. I believe Pres. Obama innately understands how stupid the voters are and feeds into that with his absurd promises that (never happen)and of course is covered by the media which helps control the stupid people. So my liberal and union friends, this spending will not last (no question about it). I would say to my progressive friends that if at the end of the day if the worst that happens is your pension is cut to 16% of the original value then you should count yourself lucky because I personally have no doubt(at all) that the ramifications of the debt of our country will be 100x worse than just having a pension cut. I'm just saying...........
This breaking story puts a whole new light on last year's press coverage about the cost overrun, performance failure, and schedule delay issues of the TA-55 perimeter security system. This time last year, Neile Miller reversed the local NNSA decision and awarded LANS a contract extension. She was reportedly inclined to do this, despite the safety and security lapses that had happened during the year, after the operator committed to fix the TA-55 perimeter security system. Now that it has come out that this issue has not yet been resolved by the committed deadline, this might impact contract extension decisions. http://www.abqjournal.com/291044/news/lanl-security-fixes-behind-schedule.html
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
LANL: 6,866 employees, 1,115 vehicles According to the IG report, the odds are pretty good for a job perk to be a government car. http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/10/f4/IG-0896.pdf
Defense Department Successfully Conducts Warhead Sled Test LLNL served as technical lead and integrator on an important test to assess a new conventional warhead designed by the Lab. Dave Hare, Livermore's program manager of the test, called it an "unequivocal success." www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=121006
Monday, October 28, 2013
With stories like this coming every few weeks, it becomes harder and harder to defend keeping NNSA under the Department of Energy. While it still may not be the ideal situation to move over to Defense, something drastic is required to alter the present course. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24379351/first-auction-solar-rights-public-lands-colorado-draws-no-one?IADID=Search-www.denverpost.com-www.denverpost.com
"Should this BLOG do away with anonymous comments? (to reduce virulence)?" Question to moderator: Does this mean that you would require a "Blog Name" that would be attached to an email address so that you could ban blog offenders? In other words, your post would still be "anonymous" but you could be tracked and banned if you break the blog rules? I believe this needs to be explained before people can vote properly.
Friday, October 25, 2013
DIR-13-253 SUBJECT: ANNOUNCEMENT OF BRET KNAPP AS LLNL ACTING DIRECTOR Parney Albright announced he is stepping down as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Director at the end of the month in order to pursue broader interests in the national security arena. Board of Governors Chair Norm Pattiz announced today the appointment of Principal Associate Director for Weapons Programs Bret Knapp to the position of Acting Director of LLNL, effective November 1, 2013. The Los Alamos and Livermore Boards have advised Secretary Moniz and the Acting NNSA Administrator Held of Parney’s departure and have coordinated with them on the designation of Bret as Acting Director while the search for a permanent replacement is completed. A national search for a permanent Director will commence shortly under the leadership of University of California. It is in the nation’s interest to have two strong nuclear security science laboratories, and I have committed to the Boards my support to Bret as he assumes this important role. Bret is no stranger to Livermore having worked there for 26 years before coming to Los Alamos in 2006. He has built strong and effective relationships across the laboratory community, the DOE/NNSA, the Department of Defense, and with other stakeholders. In Bret’s absence, I have asked Craig Leasure to serve as the Acting Principal Associate Director for the Weapons Program. I ask for your full support of Craig during this transition period.
AAAS leadership is to be applauded for putting this workshop together, and one wonders why it took almost a year for the summary to be published. http://www.aaas.org/cstsp/files/Nuclear-Weapons-Workshop_AAAS_2012.pdf
A congressional hearing is scheduled to be held on the escalating B-61 budget next week. POGO has a summary of issues that relate to the hearing, including the suggestion that NATO countries be asked to defray the costs. http://www.pogo.org/blog/2013/10/congressional-panel-to-review-b61-nuclear-weapons-spiraling-costs.html
More good news. But Obama said we could keep our existing policy and doctors if we like them. Another lie brought to you by your socialist democratic party. http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/October/21/cancellation-notices-health-insurance.aspx
First come the IG reports, then come the press coverage, then come the LANL House hearings. History repeats itself? http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/23/energy-department-spends-56-million-on-waste-facil/?page=all#pagebreak
It has been a bad few months for the nuclear forces. http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/23/us/air-force-nuclear-silo-doors-opened/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Will the threat of a continued sequester yield rational changes to the U.S. nuclear weapons program? It won’t save much money in the short run, but it’s an opportunity to apply some logic to the Cold War thinking that hangs over these most destructive weapons. The fiscal 2014 continuing resolution, thanks to sequestration, cuts almost $1 billion from President Obama’s requested $7.9 billion for the weapons program of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Energy Department outfit that runs the nation’s nuclear weapons complex. If the $6.9 billion projected by the Congressional Budget Office for the NNSA weapons program is maintained for fiscal 2014, it “could soon accomplish what arms control activists have repeatedly failed to do, curbing the rapid growth of the U.S. nuclear weapons budget,” according to an analysis in the Albuquerque Journal, the New Mexico newspaper that closely follows the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-sequester-a-new-lever-for-cutting-nukes/2013/10/21/8a50e948-382b-11e3-80c6-7e6dd8d22d8f_story.html
Fact or Fiction: It looks like the next dose of sequestration will be going through on Jan 1st, so prepare for even more cut-backs and head count reductions at all the labs for FY2014 and probably every year thereafter. You might want to "spend you day" polishing up your resumes and search the job ads.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Tom D moves to Fluor Should be exciting to watch the impact of this move on contracts, both short and long term. http://article.wn.com/view/2013/10/17/Former_Head_of_NNSA_Thomas_D_Agostino_Joins_Fluor_s_Governme/#/related_news
DoE wins the Golden Hammer Award For contractor expenses that were not in accord with policy, including large food and beverage bills, the award was given to DoE. It is shocking that such abuses can go on, and more shocking that they are reported to be wide spread. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/17/energy-department-pays-out-millions-for-contractor/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS
That's not the only lawsuit against Sandia. Here's a more recent one: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/01/11/electric-car-designers-suing-department-energy-over-loan-denials-disclosing/
This is old news, but it's still funny: "Sandia National Laboratories says it's worthless" http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2002/05/20/story3.html?page=all
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Union of concerned scientists analysis of the NWC This long analysis just came out from several authors that worked in the current administration at one time. http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nwgs/nuclear-weapons-complex-report.pdf
Sad news for the nation http://www.modbee.com/2013/10/15/2977143/senators-seek-budget-deal-house.html
With a $17T deficit you should expect your budget to be cut drastically since it's the logical thing to do to any none mission critical project, NIF being the biggest of them all. The nation cannot afford toys for the boys anymore. With that said I'm very disappointed the Republicans allowed the debt ceiling to be raised for any reason. All this is doing is postponing the inevitable. I guess the socialist democratic party will go down in history for being the party of the people who caused the greatest depression this world has ever seen. The good news is, they SDP “socialist democratic party” will get what they deserve. Global recognition.
Here is what looks like is going on with the budgets and programs, gathered from several reports. 1. Labs spent this week safely shutting down - did no program work. 2. Labs spent prior two weeks planning for the safe shut down - did no program work. 3. Labs will spend next week doing a safe re-start - will do no program work. 4. A budget is in place until January 15, 2014 - at the 2013 sequestration cut levels. 5. A new budget is scheduled to be in place by January 15, 2014 - but if it is not, then the next round of sequestration cuts (about twice as large for national security programs as the first round) take place. Overall, no program work for four weeks, a three month budget that is too small to support the existing workforce, and a very high chance that the next budget is even smaller. That about covers it, until February 2014, when the debt limit is hit once more and the next round of negotiations happen. Since it has already been done once, maybe next time we can skip step 2, and only have two weeks of no program work.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Security manager sues LANL Lawsuit cites retaliation, discrimination after complaint October 15, 2013 By T.S. Last Journal Northern Bureau SANTA FE — A Los Alamos National Laboratory employee is suing the lab in federal court, alleging that he was subject to retaliation and discrimination after he complained to superiors about breaches in security protocols during VIP visits. Michael Irving, described in the lawsuit as a security program leader/manager for LANL’s director’s office, says he was removed from his security oversight role with regard to VIP visits and placed in a position two levels lower in authority than his previous job. According to the lawsuit, Irving became aware during the spring and summer of 2011 that security protocols at LANL were not being followed during VIP visits to the lab and made several complaints to his superiors about it. The suit alleges that he was labeled as a “malcontent” and “troublemaker” by his superior, who told him he would not be considered for promotion. Irving, who began working at LANL in 1997, was later reassigned to a position with less authority and a change in duties “under the guise of a reorganization of security personnel at LANL.” He has since been “isolated and prevented from managing his former projects and personnel,” and “denied participating in some of his prior duties.” The suit says Irving was made subordinate to someone younger and with less experience, and that his opportunities for advancement are now limited. The lawsuit states that Irving had a legal right to complain about violations in security protocols with regard to the safety of nuclear weapon materials and report discriminatory conduct in the workplace. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that he has suffered lost wages and benefits, significantly decreased his chances to be promoted and has undergone treatment for emotional distress as a result of retaliatory actions. It also alleges that Irving has been subjected to a hostile work environment and was discriminated against on the basis of his age in violation of the New Mexico Human Rights Act. The lawsuit was filed in Albuquerque federal court Wednesday by attorney Donald Gilpin, who did not return a phone message from the Journal on Monday. Comment was also unavailable from LANL’s public information office. http://www.abqjournal.com/282007/north/lanl-security-manager-claims-retaliation.html
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
US NUCLEAR FORCE FACES A CASCADE OF MISSTEPS BY ROBERT BURNS AP NATIONAL SECURITY WRITER WASHINGTON (AP) -- First it was bad attitudes among young officers in nuclear missile launch centers. Now it's alleged bad behavior by two of the nuclear arsenal's top commanders. Together the missteps spell trouble for a nuclear force doubted by some for its relevance, defended by others as vital to national security and now compelled to explain how the firing of key commanders this week should not shake public confidence. The Air Force on Friday fired Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, who was in charge of its nuclear missiles. Two days earlier the Navy sacked Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the second-in-command at U.S. Strategic Command, which writes the military's nuclear war plans and would transmit launch orders should the nation ever go to nuclear war. In an Associated Press interview Friday, the nation's most senior nuclear commander, Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, said he told his bosses, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Joint Chiefs chairman, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, that despite the two "unfortunate behavioral incidents," the nuclear force is stable. "I still have 100 percent confidence that the nation's nuclear deterrent force is safe, secure and effective," Kehler said from his Strategic Command headquarters in Nebraska. Together, the Carey and Giardina dismissals add a new dimension to a set of serious problems facing the military's nuclear force. The decision to sack Carey was made by Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, which is in charge of all Air Force nuclear weapons, including bombers. The case appears to be unrelated to that of Giardina, but the two men are associated in the chain of responsibility for U.S. nuclear weapons. Carey did not report directly to Giardina, but the ICBMs under Carey's command would, in the event of war, receive their launch commands through Strategic Command, where Giardina had been the deputy commander since December 2011. By coincidence, Kowalski, who fired Carey, has been nominated to succeed Giardina at Strategic Command. The Senate has not yet confirmed Kowalski. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NUCLEAR_MISSTEPS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
Assuming there is a shutdown tomorrow, I'd like to get some current lab employees' contact info so I can talk to them about how they're being affected. I figured this site was just as good a place as any to start. They can be anonymous if they choose, but it's best if they will allow us to freely use their names. Can you help me out with this? Jeremy Thomas Staff Reporter Bay Area News Group (925) 847-2184 Jethomas@bayareanewsgroup.com
There are some very creative people in the world. I suspect the lyrics of 1week, two, weeks, three weeks, month, 5,6,7, take the summer off may in fact come true with a $17T national debt and $126T unfunded liabilities over our heads. I’m actually surprised we haven’t had another 1929 already and I believe the only thing that preventing it is the treasury is pumping billion of fake money into the economy monthly is has all caught up with us. I don’t know how this US is going to make it thru this without cutting a lot of funds in many places. http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2013/10/doe-furlough-song.html
Monday, October 14, 2013
Please Wake up! There are today at LLNL islands of stability, projects and tasks which are populated by scientists, engineers and techs, that are satisfied and happy with the interesting work that they are doing, the good colleagues that they are working with, and the knowledge that they are contributing to the security of the nation. At the same time these islands are surrounded by an ever deepening sea of despair populated by scientists, engineers and techs who are being marginalized thru no fault of their own. For those of you who are still on the islands of productivity, look into the abyss and ask yourself, "why is LLNL become unsustainable?" You knoe the reasons so speak up, act up, for you too can become another statistic as LLNL slides deeper into the sea of despair.
Lawrence Livermore lab faces closure under shutdown San Francisco Chronicle October 11, 2013 Washington -- Two national laboratories in the Bay Area will close Oct. 21 if the partial government shutdown continues, resulting in the furloughs of more than 7,000 employees, members of Congress said Friday. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore is the largest, with 6,500 workers. Roughly 1,000 more work at the Livermore campus of the Sandia National Laboratories. Both sites test nuclear arms and maintain the nation's weapon stockpiles. They also conduct research in alternative energy. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, whose district includes Lawrence Livermore and Sandia, said the labs have been operating on funds from existing contracts that will run out in a week if the partial shutdown drags on. The two nuclear labs "were told Oct. 21 is the last day they can use what they received from their government contract service agreements," Swalwell said. A spokesman for the Lawrence Livermore lab directed questions to the National Nuclear Security Administration in Washington, which seeks preparations for an "orderly" shutdown. Officials at the agency could not be reached. The Bay Area is also home to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which employs 4,200 scientists, engineers and support staff, conducting scientific research across many disciplines. A spokesman there said the lab has no plans to shut down Oct. 21. In Menlo Park, the Slac National Accelerator Laboratory employs more than 1,500 scientists and engineers conducting advanced scientific research. The lab intends to stay open beyond Oct. 21, a spokesman said. All four Bay Area labs are owned by the government but operated by contractors, usually a consortium of universities and private companies. As a result, they've been able so far to avoid laying off employees, unlike government agencies that have furloughed 800,000 workers. The federal government largely closed Oct. 1 when House Republicans refused to pass funding legislation unless it included provisions to dismantle or delay the Affordable Care Act. Negotiations continued Friday between the White House and House and Senate Republicans on a possible path forward. The House has unanimously passed legislation to pay furloughed government workers. Although the Senate has not taken up the bill, the approval by House Republicans all but guarantees federal workers will eventually be paid for the two weeks and counting that they have been furloughed. As contractors, however, workers at national laboratories would have no such guarantee. No legislation has been approved that covers contractors. Swalwell said the Department of Energy, which runs the contracts for the labs, has authority to pay the workers once the labs reopen without requiring a separate act of Congress. Swalwell drafted a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking that the department work with the labs to provide back pay to anyone furloughed. He has signatures from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock (Stanislaus County), and several Bay Area Democrats including Reps. Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, Barbara Lee of Oakland and Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto. All have labs in their districts. The four Bay Area labs are among seven nationwide that together employ about 30,000 workers, many of them research scientists and engineers. The others are the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. Swalwell scheduled a town hall meeting at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Martinelli Event Center in Livermore to address questions about the possible furloughs.
Another US nuclear commander sacked, making two in one week. The general in charge of the US Air Force's long-range nuclear missiles has been sacked due to "loss of trust and confidence", officials have said. The Air Force said Maj Gen Michael Carey's removal was for "behaviour during a temporary duty assignment". The sacking was not linked to the operation of the nuclear arsenal, which was safe, the officials insisted. On Wednesday the US Navy announced an admiral overseeing nuclear weapons forces had been sacked from the role. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24499310
Ash Carter resigning at Defense. Carter knew nuclear issues far better than anyone else high up in the Pentgon. As a former chair of the NWC and a PhD physicist, his views were unusually well informed. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/ashton-carter-deputy-defense-secretary-to-step-down/2013/10/10/204ab64a-31e2-11e3-8686-68fca83a474f_story.html
The House on Friday could debate legislation to temporarily restore funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration as the federal government remains partially shut down amid partisan gridlock over a U.S. budget. House Republicans have prepared multiple bills to fund until Dec. 15 politically popular portions of the federal budget, including the National Nuclear Security Administration, national intelligence activities and border security. It was not clear on Thursday precisely if and when the GOP-controlled House could vote on these measures. However, the office of Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the vote on the NNSA measure could hit the House floor on Friday. Thornberry's Texas district includes the Pantex nuclear weapons plant, which receives NNSA funding. Pantex has been instructed by the Energy Department's nuclear-weapons branch to begin preparing for a temporary shutdown of plant operations, while maintaining security, the congressman said Thursday in a statement. "There is no reason whatsoever to instruct people who are essential to the security of our country, like workers at Pantex, not to show up to work," Thornberry said. In addition to the Pantex facility, the NNSA-funded Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Y-12 National Security Complex are facing partial shutdowns. House Republicans have tried to advance multiple additional budget measures that call for continue funding at fiscal 2013 levels through Dec. 15 for politically sensitive and popular federal programs, including the National Institutes of Health. The Democrat-led Senate has not approved them, and the White has threatened to veto such piecemeal spending proposals. Obama, though, did on Sept. 30 sign in to law the Pay Our Military Act, which keeps uniformed military on the job. http://www.nationaljournal.com/global-security-newswire/nnsa-funding-bill-floated-in-house-20131010
Thursday, October 10, 2013
LLNL Update: Lapse in federal appropriations Message from the Director As of today, there is no resolution regarding the lapse in federal appropriations impacting the Laboratory. As directed by NNSA, we have made, and continue to refine, plans for a safe and orderly shutdown of all but essential operations. As I stated in my previous Newsline message, our guiding principle is to minimize the impact to our workforce while delivering on our national missions as long as possible. We now can share the path forward. During the week of Oct. 13, we will be expending three of our FY14 planned holidays in order to keep employees on paid status through the week. Those holidays are the spring holiday (previously scheduled for April 21); the President’s Day holiday (previously scheduled for Feb. 17); and the New Year’s Eve holiday (previously scheduled for Dec. 31, 2013)... On Tuesday, Oct. 15 and Wednesday, Oct. 16, employees will be working to place the Laboratory in a minimum safe and secure operational status. Upon completion of this task, each employee is instructed to take the remaining time to catch up on institutional training courses and complete any outstanding performance appraisal activities. Labwide project/task numbers will be provided for these activities and time card guidance will follow shortly. Beginning Oct. 17, Laboratory operations will be extremely limited, except where consistent with protecting human life, property and the environment. Only those personnel previously notified as required to meet these objectives will be allowed on site. Programmatic organization or administrative line supervisors will notify those employees and subcontractors who will be working during the shutdown and providing their respective schedules. NNSA has asked the Laboratory to initiate an orderly shutdown in support of minimum safe and secure operations no later than Oct. 21, and to maintain that status until Nov. 1. However, due to limited financial reserves, the Laboratory will initiate safe and secure operations beginning Oct. 15. NNSA will provide additional guidance should the lapse in appropriations continue past Nov. 1. The Laboratory has developed a list of critical personnel who will continue to report to work, but all other employees will be furloughed (leave without pay – LWOP). At this time, we have not received permission from DOE/NNSA to use accrued vacation in lieu of LWOP. We will communicate NNSA’s decision as soon as it becomes available. As you may know, the decision to raise the debt ceiling is currently being debated in Washington, D.C. It is important to understand that if the President and Congress agree to raise the debt ceiling without agreeing to a FY14 federal budget, then the schedule above remains in place. If a budget is passed between now and Nov. 1, we will communicate a return-to-work schedule. It is extremely important that each employee sign-up for TxtWire and take note that they also can call (925) xxx-LLNL for updated information. I realize this uncertain situation is difficult on a personal level and may lead to hardship for many employees. I will continue to do my best to update you with the latest information as it becomes available. Human Resources and Public Affairs continue to develop FAQs to address the many valid and important questions you have. You can find the current FAQs on the internal LLNL website . Addressing this challenging situation remains our highest priority, and we are continuing to work to minimize the impacts on staff to the extent possible. I expect this lack of federal appropriations will be resolved in the days and weeks ahead. Until then, I ask that each of you be vigilant to ensure the safety of yourselves, your colleagues, and your family under these stressful circumstances. Parney Albright
Why is Livermore different? Not everyone has a lot of days of unused vacation just sitting around to burn during the impending stand down, and Parney once again demonstrates his concern for his employees by permitting vacation advances. LANL issued guidance (below) specifically forbids this. 'The memo also stipulated: • Employees with adequate vacation balances will be able to record vacation on timecards for the weeks starting Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 if they wish. Vacation advances or other paid leave (sick, jury duty, etc.) will not be allowed, with the exception of employees currently on long-term sick leave. McMillan concluded his memo by saying, “I understand the turmoil this creates for you, your families, and the region. I urge you make plans with a possible furlough in mind,” McMillan wrote.'
Update on Strategic Command deputy Reports that he has been demoted in rank and fired from his position. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/3-star-navy-admiral-fired-as-deputy-chief-of-nuclear-command-demoted-to-2-star-rank/2013/10/09/fc8899f2-3123-11e3-ad00-ec4c6b31cbed_story.html?tid=auto_complete
Sandia had an all hands meeting today where lab director Paul Holmert said SNL is shutting down Oct 21, and we will be paid until Oct 25. After Oct 25, nobody will receive pay and vacation can't be used when on furlough to continue getting paid. Benefits like medical are only paid up until early Nov, and will lapse if the shutdown drags on longer than that. In short, now is a good time to find another job in the private sector with better pay and similar or better job security.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
NIF breakthrough! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24429621
Monday, October 7, 2013
Rumor around LLNL is that it will shut down next Friday if no agreement is reached, aside from essential security personnel. Staff will be allowed to use their vacation time to remain on full-time status. If they run out or don't have enough, they will front you up to 40 hours. After that, you go on LWOP and no one is really sure how that will impact your benefits ... yet. Parney is supposed to have an all-hands meeting Monday at 2 PM to address these issues. From what any of us have been able to tell though, even if you're on accounts that are fully funded (I have several that go through December) you will still not be allowed to work after next Friday.
Bureaucratic ineptitude entrenched at LANL By Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board | 11 hours ago Unlike thousands of federal employees, the top brass at Los Alamos National Laboratory are still going to work – and getting paid. What they are not doing – and have not been doing for years – is making any measurable progress on the efficiency front. In fact, runaway regulation, excessive bureaucratic red tape and incompetence are so clogging the work pipeline that the lab and the National Nuclear Security Administration that oversees it are virtually ineffective when it comes to getting some very large and very expensive projects off the dime. Newest example is the lack of progress on a new nuclear waste treatment plant. An analysis by the U.S. Inspector General’s office says the lab is a decade behind schedule and $129 million over budget in replacing the aging plant where radioactive liquid waste is treated – after spending $56 million on just design work. The report says breakdowns at the 50-year-old plant put the lab’s mission – protecting and maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile – at risk. It lays the blame clearly at the feet of the lab managers and the NNSA. A key problem claimed by the inspector general was the lab’s failure to develop a formal risk management plan when planning began in 2004. The risk plan would have identified ways the project could go over budget and get behind schedule. However, such an analysis was not done until 2009, long after problems emerged. If this was an isolated problem, it might be excused away, but it’s just the latest in a long list of behind-schedule, over-budget projects. Last year, the NNSA indefinitely delayed construction of a new Los Alamos plutonium laboratory after estimated costs soared from $600 million to more than $4 billion. About a year ago, a new $213 million security system at the lab’s most sensitive nuclear weapons work site was found not to work and that it would require tens of millions of dollars to fix. Such a pathetic history would be enough to send most American workers to the unemployment line. But the NNSA has continuously turned a deaf ear to Congress’s calls for tightening up its game.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
The latest in a series of security problems at LLNL. This one from the Inspector General. The link to the full report is at the end. SUMMARY: The High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF) is a state-of-the-art explosives research facility located on-site at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore). The Office of Inspector General received a complaint alleging weaknesses with the controls over physical access to explosive material, as well as weaknesses with explosive inventory control and accountability in the HEAF explosive operations area. We substantiated the allegations regarding weaknesses with controls over access and inventory of explosive materials at the HEAF. We found that Secret and Top Secret cleared individuals at Livermore had the potential to access the HEAF explosive operations area even though they lacked specific authorization and/or had not received required safety training. Additionally, we found that Livermore's Safety Access Training did not adequately address the requirements for unescorted access to the facility's explosive workrooms. Further, a unified perpetual system of records capable of tracking and accounting for explosives acquired, stored and expended at HEAF did not exist. The identified issues regarding potential unauthorized access occurred, in part, because officials did not adequately consider the risks associated with access at the facility and the increased potential for theft or diversion of explosives. The weaknesses identified with the training occurred because the HEAF Safety Plan's requirement related to unescorted workroom access was not fully incorporated into the Safety Access Training module. In addition, the inventory controls for explosives within HEAF primarily focused on safety, and not tracking and accountability of high-risk personal property such as explosives from acquisition to disposition. Management generally agreed with our findings and recommendations and provided planned corrective actions that are generally responsive to our report findings and recommendations. Begin forwarded message: Subject: Report Alert Notice from DOE Inspector General Date: October 4, 2013 9:30:21 AM PDT The Office of Inspector General has issued a report titled “Accountability and Control of Explosives at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s High Explosives Applications Facility," (INS-O-13-06). This report is now available for viewing and can be accessed by clicking the link below: http://energy.gov/node/724051 If you are unable to access this report, please call (202) 586-4128 for assistance.
By scooby at October 05, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
In the last two years LANL has lost 1,200 employees and 580 million dollars in annual budget. Yet the per capita income of the county is still the highest in the US. Thanks, Charlie! http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d15f43d6-2a05-11e3-9bc6-00144feab7de.html#axzz2gez1FFcM
"Livermore Site Office (6 Excepted employees), Los Alamos Site Office (6 Excepted employees), Sandia Site Office (5 Excepted employees), Kansas City Site Office (3 Excepted employees), Nevada Site Office (7 Excepted employees), Savannah River Site Office (4 Excepted employees), NNSA Production Office (9 Excepted employees), Naval Reactors (158 Excepted employees)." http://energy.gov/articles/department-energy-implementation-activities-case-lapse-appropriations
This report was due by October 1. Does someone know if the panel has even ever met? http://www.nucleardiner.com/index.php/archive/item/nnsa-governance-panel-named What is done in intractable situations that Congress can no longer ignore is that a committee is formed, and Congress formed the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance Structure of the National Nuclear Security Administration. The panel’s charter is to assess the feasibility and advisability of, and make recommendations with respect to, revising the governance structure of the National Nuclear Security Administration to permit the Administration to operate more effectively. A report is required 120 days after the panel members have been named. They now have all been named, so the report is due a little before October 1. The twelve members of the panel have been selected. They are: Co-Chairs: Former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine and former Strategic Command chief Richard Mies. Augustine was selected by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) Mies was selected earlier by Republican lawmakers. Four former legislators: Heather Wilson (R-NM), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA, and State Department official), John Spratt (D-SC), and David Hobson (R-OH). Former NNSA Naval Reactors chief Adm. Kirkland Donald, former Bush Administration national security expert Frank Miller, former Reagan Administration Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology William Schneider, former Deputy Energy Secretary T.J. Glauthier; former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko, and former Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio. A number of similar panels have been convened over the years to address the direction and governance of the national laboratories, particularly the nuclear weapons laboratories. They have contributed little to improvements in morale and organization within the laboratories or the effective use of taxpayer money. There is no reason to expect anything else from this panel.
Another project over budget and behind schedule Department of Energy Inspector General AUDIT REPORT: OAS-L-13-15 September 26, 2013 The Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility Replacement Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (Los Alamos) primary responsibility is to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile. To meet its mission, Los Alamos stores, treats and disposes of low-level waste and transuranic liquid waste (TRU) at the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility (RLWTF). The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Los Alamos have been planning a replacement project for the RLWTF since 2004, have made multiple changes in the design of the facility with plans to construct two facilities in 2005, one facility in 2006, and then returning to the two facilities approach in 2011. The current two facility design has a total estimated project cost as much as $214 million and respective completion dates of 2017 and 2020. While NNSA has recently taken action to address RLWTF replacement project issues, we observed that the NNSA and Los Alamos had not effectively managed the project over most of its lifecycle. Despite more than 7 years of effort, and the expenditure of $56 million, design work for the TRU facility has not been completed and the project's completion date is 11 years behind schedule. Furthermore, the total estimated cost for the replacement project has increased from $86 million to as much as $214 million, a 149 percent increase. Additionally, independent peer and internal control reviews have noted that NNSA and Los Alamos had not developed reliable life cycle cost estimates, used a Risk Management Plan, and applied Value Engineering principles to optimize the design of the facility. NNSA and Los Alamos have made improvements in the project management of the RLWTF; however, we made suggestions for further improvement.
LANL's Charlie McMillan Plays Dead in Arsenic and Old Lace Arsenic and Old Lace returns to the Los Alamos Little Theatre stage 69 years after its 1944 Los Alamos debut as the opening production of LALT’s 70th season. In the opening production of Arsenic, the dead body was played by none other than J. Robert Oppenheimer, a role reprised Sept. 14 by current Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan. McMillan was deemed a standout in his realistic portrayal of a dead man. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/lanls-charlie-mcmillan-plays-dead-arsenic-and-old-lace
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Parney Albright and Ed Moses, two peas in a pod. Read this blog http://www.dickdestiny.com/blog/2006/08/war-on-terror-will-be-very-very-good.html and you will understand where LLNL is headed. Is LLNL working in the national interest? Is LLNL a national asset or a national liability? Why are you still working at LLNL? These are questions that strike at the core of the issues that surround the deterioration of what was once a very important laboratory.
Has anyone looked into the layoff Akima has been doing for the Lab? Are they in violation of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)? Just curious, seems there were constant layoffs going on and they always kept the numbers low so as not to enact the above law (aka staged layoffs). No notice is given to workers on pending layoffs, you get notified the day you are laid off.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Hey, anyone remember this rumor? Is it still rumor or fact and if so why. I think it funny. http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2012/08/ed-moses-is-resigning-as-of-oct-1st.html
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