BLOG purpose

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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Livermore Poised To Roll Out Salary Reduction/Closure Day Plan

Weapons Complex Monitor
February 28, 2013
Livermore Poised To Roll Out Salary Reduction/Closure Day Plan

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is poised to roll out a "salary reduction and closure day" plan to deal with the impact of across-the-board budget cuts that are set to go into effect Friday, lab Director Parney Albright told employees at an all-hands meeting yesterday. With the lab facing a potential $120 million shortfall, Albright detailed the potential plan in a recent memo to employees, outlining a plan that would temporarily reduce salaries for employees by 10 percent and bi-weekly closure days for full-time employees in which the lab would operate every other Friday similar to how it runs on a weekend. The plan could go into effect as soon as the week of March 10, but Albright said the lab might wait until after a Congress decides how it will fund the government after a Continuing Resolution expires March 27. “I realize any program involving a salary reduction is difficult for employees, but this plan would have less impact on employee benefits than a traditional furlough program,” Albright said. “This plan also mitigates concerns about the ability to maintain continuous business operations and, especially, safe operations in an environment of unpredictable staffing, while still reflecting the fact that work scope must change when the Lab's funding has been reduced.”

Alternate work schedules also would be temporarily suspended under the plan, and Parney said the lab is proposing to suspend the planned increase (from 5 percent to 7 percent) in employee contributions to the lab’s TCP1 pension plan. Benefits like 401(k) contributions, life insurance, vacation and sick leave payout would also be subject to the 10 percent reduction, Albright said. He said the lab is also considering restrictions on travel, reducing or canceling a Variable Compensation [aka salary bonus] Program, and reducing procurements, overtime and on-call pay. Albright emphasized that the program was not a typical furlough plan. “While sequestration may require us to temporarily reduce salaries and working hours, I felt it was important to look for ways to minimize impact to employees' benefits, such as vacation and sick leave, to the greatest extent possible,” he said.

Bad News Letter on Friday?

Bad News Letter on Friday?
I have been hearing that NNSA is about to issue the labs and plants official letters to start initiating furloughs and layoffs!!

Anyone else hear or seen this yet?

Summary of what Penrose said

All Hands:

- 10% salary reduction for all
- Likely Start: right after CR (3/27)
- Eliminate Variable Compensation Program
- Request to NNSA to delay jump from 5% to 7% pension contribution, no response yet.
- LLNS will make no contribution to help with any of this.
- Major impact is to pension. Even one day of this will disrupt the 36 continuous months for HAPC baking. If they do this once every 35 months going forward, no ones HAPC will ever rise again.

From Penrose

Director Parney Albright discussed the challenges the Laboratory faces in addressing the fiscal uncertainty in Washington D.C. during his quarterly update to employees Wednesday. Albright also highlighted recent Laboratory accomplishments and identified promising opportunities for broadening LLNL national security missions.

The most immediate fiscal challenge the Lab and all federal government agencies face is the "sequestration" almost certain to go into effect Friday, March 1, triggering automatic, across-the board spending cuts, Albright said. This will result in a 7.7 percent cut to appropriations for the Laboratory, a reduction of $120 million if sequestration lasts until the end of FY13 (Sept. 30).

In addition to sequestration, Congress also is under a March deadline to address the Continuing Resolution (March 27), under which federal agencies are currently funded, and a May deadline to extend the debt ceiling. Failure to address these budget issues could lead to a complete shutdown of the federal government, Albright said.

"March is going to be a big month," he said. "There's a huge amount of uncertainty."

The Laboratory has been exploring "mitigation options" for addressing sequestration, though "no decisions have been made because we're still in a period of extreme uncertainty," Albright said. He said the primary consideration in developing options has been avoiding layoffs, minimizing the impact to employees and their benefits and "providing an ability to rebound when fiscal issues are resolved."

To absorb the cuts sequestration would entail, the current plan would be for Lab employees to take a 10 percent salary reduction with two closure days a month, according to Albright, noting this would still allow employees to accumulate vacation and sick leave at the current rate. The earliest these reductions would go into effect is March 10.

But the salary reductions are not enough and the Lab will institute "draconian" cuts to travel and procurement budgets to help close the gap, he said.

"We just don't know what's going to happen," Albright said. "I could get a phone call tomorrow morning and all this could change."

"I see signs of crisis fatigue in Washington. I know people all over the country are tired of this," he said. "My hope is that once we get through this period, things will stabilize and we can fully focus on the business of what we do."

For more details about sequestration and LLNL contingency plans, see Newsline.

The view from Washington


On a positive note, Albright said the Laboratory's effort to communicate a vision of what it can do for the country has begun to pay off. "We're starting to hear people talk back to us what we've been saying and that's a good thing."

The importance of the work LLNL does for the broader national security mission is increasingly recognized in the departments of defense and homeland security as well as the intelligence community, Albright said.

"There's a lot of momentum on the congressional side to broaden the mission of the national laboratories," Albright said. "We have capabilities that transcend what anybody else has. And we're now a part of the ecosystem of defense, homeland security and intelligence."

S&T highlights and priorities

LLNL is a "leading contender" to work on weapons systems slated for life extension, Albright said, noting WCI is already leading the work to extend the life of the W78.

The Lab also is fleshing out concepts for an interchangeable warhead that could be used on both the Minuteman missile system and submarine-based Trident, he said.

Experimental work in high energy density physics for stockpile stewardship is progressing thanks to research at the National Ignition Facility, Albright said, adding that NIF recently set a record with three shots in a period of 12 hours.

Citing a National Academy of Science report on fusion energy research that called NIF a unique and premier facility for fusion experiments and other technical reviews, Albright said, "There's no reason to believe we can't achieve ignition at NIF."

Turning to high performance computing, he said Sequoia is undergoing final preparations before swinging over to classified stockpile stewardship work and that Vulcan, the smaller version of Sequoia, would provide a resource for industrial collaboration that would help the regional and national economy.

Albright also said planning is in the works for an even more powerful supercomputer in the 150-200 petaflop/s (quadrillion floating operation per second) range that would serve as a bridge to next-generation exascale computing.

In the area of energy, approval in December 2012 by the Public Utilities Commission of the California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES-21), under which LLNL will work with utilities to strengthen the state's energy grid, will pave the way for other energy projects, Albright said. "A lot of people are beating a path to our door to talk about how we could help them."

Hagel and Global Zero

Hagel and Global Zero

President Obama’s plan to carry out a new round of nuclear-warhead cuts will be announced soon, U.S. officials say.

The coming round of warhead-reduction talks with Russia was put on hold partly as a result of the Senate delay in confirming Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel, an outspoken proponent of the Global Zero anti-nuclear weapons group that called in a report last year for radical denuclearization steps.

According to one defense official, the president will propose that the United States and Russia initiate talks aimed at reaching a further one-third cut from the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) target level of 1,150 deployed warheads.

Asked about the coming cuts, a White House official told Inside the Ring: “Nothing to announce.” The official then referred to Mr. Obama’s statements in Seoul in March. The president said at the nuclear summit there he thinks the United States can maintain a strong deterrent and “still pursue further reductions in our nuclear arsenal.”
In the months ahead, the president said he would “continue to seek discussions with Russia on a step we have never taken before — reducing not only our strategic nuclear warheads, but also tactical weapons and warheads in reserve.”
The summit was also the site of the now-famous conversation overheard on an open microphone when Mr. Obama told then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that, after his re-election, Moscow could expect more flexibility toward Russian demands to limit U.S. missile defenses. Russia has been demanding those limits as a precondition for further warhead cuts.

Rose Gottemoeller, the acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, was in Moscow last week for talks that included discussion of the new arms cuts.


http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/20/inside-the-ring-835197397/?page=all#pagebreak

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Energy official in denial

Energy official in denial

Wow, Podonsky must be suffering from memory loss. The good old days were not as good as he seems to recall. Study after study, panel after panel, report after report, all conclude that there is not much hope to fix NNSA under Energy. Unless Congress is willing to move it to Defense, where it has a legitimate home, the current broken situation will remain, even if it has a modified place on the org chart.

http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/doe-official-security-breach-may-necessitate-nuclear-agencys-elimination/

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Secret energy lab spawns million dollar govt employee

See the DOE lab executive "Piggies" all in a row? This article below about the high salaries of NREL executives pales in comparison to what Directors, PADs, ADs, etc. at labs like SNL, LLNL and LANL make under the hilarious banner of "cost-savings" from privatization implemented by NNSA.

Several years ago the ABQ news reported that SNL's Director was making over $2 million and those executive salaries have only gone up, up, up!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CO: Secret energy lab spawns million dollar govt employee

...Despite record federal debt, municipal bankruptcies and a nagging global recession, those executives enjoy pay packages that are out of reach of most Americans who pay their salaries. MRIGlobal and Alliance tax documents obtained by Watchdog show most earned well into six-figures:

Dan Arvizu, Alliance president and NREL director

2010: $928,069

2009: $691,570

2008: $652,159


Bobi Garrett, NREL senior vice president of Outreach, Planning and Analysis

2010: $524,226.

2009: $398,022


watchdog.org/62420/co-secret-energy-lab
-spawns-million-dollar-govt-employee/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What's that you say? You only got a 1% raise for the last few years? Follow the money....

Executive pay

I always new NREL was up to no good.

http://watchdog.org/62420/co-secret-energy-lab-spawns-million-dollar-govt-employee/

Can you imagine that they pay there executives up to 900K? That just crazy huh. It also goes on about how it run by some company called Battelle. It seems very odd to have an outside contractor running a lab.

Well at we at LLNL and LANL are certainly don't have any problems like this

VSIP please!

When can I expect my VSIP?

C'mon Parney sweeten the deal and you can solve your personnel problems for more than 1 year. Send us away with a little "kiss".

DoE IG finds LANL contractor assurance system to be immature

DoE IG finds LANL contractor assurance system to be immature

This gem about LANL is inside the report, most of which is about Y 12.
Since the report is addressed to Neile Miller, it might not get her attention. Remember that she is the one that over rulled the Los Alamos local NNSA site office and granted a contract extension, even after the radiation contamination spread, the TA 55 security fence debacle and the U Tube of girls gone wild on the proforce tank.
Oh well, just one more item for some hearing in Washington.

"Also, we found that Los Alamos National Laboratory had not developed its contractor assurance system to a level of maturity needed by NNSA to affirm its effectiveness."
http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/IG-0881.pdf

LDRD "Futures"

I would like to know more about LDRD "Futures". What is the intention of allocating LDRD funds for this portfolio, and what projects have been or are slated to be funded under Futures?

Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...


NIF

Washington Times view of Chu

Washington Times view of Chu
http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/20/steven-chus-legacy-of-waste-and-failure/

As the article points out it is rare for a career academic to be successful as the secretary of a cabinet department. Find someone that has started a business (and not gone bankrupt with it) and you have a much better chance to be successful.

Another hearing on NNSA reform

Another hearing on NNSA reform

When will Congress decide that NNSA can not be reformed?

Hearing: Nuclear Security: Actions, Accountability and Reform

Subcommittee on Strategic Forces (Committee on Armed Services)

Thursday, February 28, 2013 (10:30 AM)
2212 RHOB
Washington, D.C.

Witnesses
Major General C. Donald Alston, USAF (Ret)
Former Commander, 20th Air Force, Former Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration

Brigadier General Sandra E. Finan, USAF
Commander, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Former Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Applications National Nuclear Security Administration

The Honorable Gregory H. Friedman
Inspector General, U.S. Department of Energy

The Honorable Neile L. Miller
Acting Administrator and Principal Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration

The Honorable Daniel B. Poneman
Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
First Published: February 20, 2013 at 03:58 PM

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Los Alamos offsite radioactive contamination accident not penalized by DoE

Los Alamos offsite radioactive contamination accident not penalized by DoE

http://hss.doe.gov/enforce/docs/els/LANS_Enforcement_Letter_(NEL-2013-02).pdf

"25 employees had contaminated personal clothing"

"at least nine homes were found with beta contamination"

"five employees were identified with skin contamination"

"contamination levels were found at the Lujan Center, with levels exceeding ... the maximum reading for the measurement device used"

"the spread of contamination first began on August 20, 2012 ... LANS subsequently identified this contamination on August 25"

The letter speaks for itself.

LANL Employee Awarded $1 million

LANL Employee Awarded $1 million

By Mark Oswald / Journal Staff Writer on Thu, Feb 21, 2013

SANTA FE – A Santa Fe jury has awarded $1 million plus $1 to a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee whose 2010 lawsuit alleged that a supervisor made comments about using a gun to settle office work issues.
In one instance, the lawsuit alleged, the Los Alamos police and the lab’s own SWAT team responded after the supervisor got upset about a work plan, “went ballistic” and said he was going to “bring in a gun and take care of it himself.”
Marlayne Mahar also contended in the suit that her problems at LANL started after she and her group leader reported nuclear materials inventory problems at the lab’s plutonium processing facility.
The lab disputed her allegations and many of the specifics of her suit’s account of the incidents that led to the litigation.
After a 3 1/2-day trial before District Judge Sarah Singleton, the jury early this week awarded Mahar $1 million in punitive damages and another $1 in nominal damages.
The jury ruled against Los Alamos National Security LLC, the partnership that runs the lab, on counts of breach of LANL’s workplace violence policy, breach of contract and acting in bad faith.
Two individual lab officials, Randy Fraser and Joel Williams, originally were named as defendants in the suit but were dismissed as the litigation proceeded.
Mahar, a lab employee since 1999 who still works there, had no comment. Her lawyer, Tim Butler of Santa Fe, said the jurors listened to evidence from both sides, made the award in Mahar’s favor and that he and Mahar “respect their decision.”
A LANL spokeswoman provided a statement that the lab intends “to file a post-trial motion to challenge the results” of the trial.

Read the rest at:
http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2013/02/21/news/lanl-employee-awarded-1-million.html

I Guess St. Pete Isn't So Saintly:

I Guess St. Pete Isn't So Saintly:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/former-nm-senator-pete-domenici-acknowledges-having-a-son-outside-marriage-3-decades-ago/2013/02/20/ff0ebe56-7b64-11e2-9c27-fdd594ea6286_story.html

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oversight and Investigations Hearing

Committee Leaders Launch Bipartisan Review of DOE’s Management of Nuclear Security Enterprise, Announce Oversight and Investigations Hearing on March 13

http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/committee-leaders-launch-bipartisan-review-doe%E2%80%99s-management-nuclear-security

Dangers of loose nukes

We've just published an important piece by former ambassador Kenneth C. Brill and the FMWG on the dangers of loose nukes. I hope you find it of interest.

How to safeguard loose nukes:
 http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/fissile-materials-working-group/how-to-safeguard-loose-nukes

--

Janice Sinclaire
Internet Outreach Coordinator

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Automatic cuts are getting a big yawn from Washington

The sequestration cuts of around 9% are coming on March 1st, so get ready. These cuts will not be avoided. Painful furloughs for staff at the NNSA labs and layoffs of subcontractors will likely result:

==================
Automatic cuts are getting a big yawn from Washington
==================

Washington Post, Feb 15

As deadlines go, the March 1 sequester lacks punch. Nobody’s taxes will go up; the U.S. Treasury won’t run out of cash. Government offices won’t immediately turn out the lights and lock the doors. No federal worker will be furloughed for at least 30 days.

So Washington felt little need to cancel the Presidents’ Day break. On Friday, President Obama flew to Florida for a long weekend of golf. And Congress left town for nine days, with scant hope of averting deep cuts to the Pentagon and other agencies in the short time remaining when lawmakers return.

Instead of negotiating, party leaders were busy issuing ultimatums and casting blame. Before they left, Senate Democrats unveiled a bill to replace the sequester in part with new taxes on millionaires, which Republicans oppose. And House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed “the sequester will be in effect until there are cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget in the next 10 years,” an idea Democrats oppose.

Behind the scenes, there was real concern that the cuts eventually would disrupt critical government functions, hamper economic growth and destroy 750,000 jobs. But for now, the sequester is amorphous and slow-moving, and it has emerged as a convenient hill on which to plant a flag and fight the next battle in the ongoing partisan conflict over taxes and spending.

....“Here we are, March 1st. It is now midnight. The clock has moved,” Mikulski intoned with a husky Baltimore accent. “Can’t you paint for me the picture of how sequester is triggered? Do all the lights go out in federal buildings?”

Well, no, said Daniel Werfel, controller at the White House budget office.

But there will be “intense bargaining with unions” about furloughs. Word will go out to federal contractors about contract modifications and terminations. And “governors will be digesting information about how their financial footprint will be impacted. The list goes on and on,” he said.

“And I think it could turn into a firestorm,” offered Mikulski, whose state is home to roughly 300,000 confused and dispirited federal workers.

While the Washington region is likely to be hardest hit, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) said the rest of the nation will soon feel its share of pain if the sequester hits.

The sequester would cut spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. It was adopted during the 2011 debt-limit showdown and designed to be so painful that neither party would ever let it take effect. During the next seven months, it is slated to slice $85 billion out of agency budgets — including $46 billion from the Pentagon — with the cuts applied equally to every program and account, no matter how worthy.

.....Most social-safety net programs are exempt, and that feature has created “strange bedfellows,” said Steve Bell, an analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center. In addition to the hard-right conservatives who want to cut spending at any cost, Bell said, “now you have liberal Democrats saying, ‘Okay, let them cut defense.’ ”....

--
www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy /automatic-cuts-are-getting-a-big-yawn-from -washington/2013/02/15/fe6c6700-7790 -11e2-95e4-6148e45d7adb_story.html

Another IG report on LANL cyber security

Another IG report on LANL cyber security

After receiving lots of previous negative audits over cyber issues you might think that LANL could finally get it right. We should expect to see the entire complex endure NNSA response to the report.

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/IG-0880.pdf

March date set for documents from Chu

March date set for documents from Chu

http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/letters/20130213DOENNSA.pdf


Congress is having another hearing on Y 12

Bear Bombers Over Guam

Meanwhile, over in the former Soviet Union:

~~ Bear Bombers Over Guam ~~
Russian nuclear bombers circle Guam

Washington Free Beacon, Feb 15 2013

...The bomber incident was considered highly unusual. Russian strategic bombers are not known to have conducted such operations in the past into the south Pacific from bomber bases in the Russian Far East, which is thousands of miles away and over water.

John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador and former State Department international security undersecretary, said the Russian bomber flights appear to be part of an increasingly threatening strategic posture in response to Obama administration anti-nuclear policies.

“Every day brings new evidence that Obama’s ideological obsession with dismantling our nuclear deterrent is dangerous,” Bolton said. “Our national security is in danger of slipping off the national agenda even as the threats grow.”

Defense officials said the bombers tracked over Guam were likely equipped with six Kh-55 or Kh-55SM cruise missiles that can hit targets up to 1,800 miles away with either a high-explosive warhead or a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead.

~~~~~

As we dismantle, dismiss and discard buildings, equipment and highly trained people from what's left of our rotting, bare-boned 50 year old US nuclear weapons infrastructure, well, can't you just "Feel the Love" from overseas?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

DOE/NNSA Sequestration Impacts from House Appropriations Committee Democrats:

DOE/NNSA Sequestration Impacts from House Appropriations Committee Democrats:

http://democrats.appropriations.house.gov/images/Sequestration%20full%20report.pdf

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
...The report also noted concerns
that “constrained Federal funding had negatively impacted security controls at Y-12.”
Nonetheless, sequestration would require the Y-12 site to furlough 700-1,000 of 4,500
employees for a period of up to 6 months. Clearly, these layoffs will adversely impact
efforts to improve security. Other NNSA facilities will also face furloughs. The Pantex
Plant in Amarillo, Texas will furlough up to 2,500 employees for 3 weeks. Los Alamos
National Lab in New Mexico will furlough over 500 for about 2 weeks. And Sandia
National Labs will lay off up to 100 positions and forgo hiring staff to support the B61
bomb life extension program.
The NNSA plays a critical national security role in developing and maintaining the
Nation's nuclear deterrent. In the area of our nuclear weapons stockpile, efforts to
refurbish and extend the life of several weapons systems would be delayed, including
the B-61, leading to increased costs and impacts to deployment and readiness in the
future. Sequestration would erode the security posture at sites and facilities by layoffs,
workforce reassignments, and project deferrals. Sequestration would hamper the
internal oversight function of DOE nuclear facilities and reduce the depth and frequency
of audits and evaluations needed to ensure ongoing robust security operations.

Department of Energy Office of Science
The Office of Science is critical to maintaining U.S. leadership in scientific and
technological innovation by supporting basic research to advance energy technologies
and operating world-leading facilities to advance scientific discoveries.
Sequestration will result in hundreds of layoffs at national labs, universities, research
facilities, and private sector companies that rely on Office of Science grant funding for
energy research. It will reduce operations of major scientific facilities, meaning less
research and development in one of the highest priority research areas—designing
novel materials—which is critical to advancing energy technologies.
No new awards to advance high performance computing will be made to stay ahead of
Chinese competition and develop the next generation system, known as exascale,
before the U.S. reaches the limits of current technology.
Sequestration will stop almost all construction projects that are replacing aging
infrastructure at the national labs. This investment is necessary to support science
missions and attract the best scientists from around the country and the world. Several
major user facilities at national labs would be shut down including the Lujan Neutron
Scattering Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory; High Flux Isotope Reactor, Oak Ridge
Tennessee; Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, Brookhaven National Laboratory. Other
facilities may be temporarily shuttered, delayed or less available to their extensive user
communities.
The safeguards and security of nuclear and radiological materials at the national labs
could be at higher risk with reductions in security officers and inability to fund new
security needs at Oak Ridge National Lab after an independent review found security
weaknesses.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DOD Aims to Shield Nuke Operations From Budget Cuts



Feb. 12, 2013
By Diane Barnes
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- Citing Tuesday's nuclear test by North Korea, a senior Defense Department official called U.S. nuclear weapons operations "a national priority" that the Obama administration would seek to shield from across-the-board federal spending cuts set to take effect on March 1.

It appears that "a safe, secure nuclear deterrent" will remain necessary "far into the future," Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sequestration's anticipated implications for Pentagon programs. "That does require that we have the scientists and engineering base, the facilities, and the life-extension programs and other things we do to keep the nuclear arsenal going."

Congress failed to approve a defense appropriations bill for the current budget cycle, and instead enacted a short-term measure holding most federal spending at fiscal 2012 levels through March 27. The potential March 1 sequester, though, would cut roughly $46 billion in defense spending through Sept. 30, Carter said in his testimony.

Republican lawmakers last week rejected a call by President Obama to delay spending reductions mandated under the 2011 Budget Control Act by implementing budget cuts and tax increases. An alternative proposal by Republicans -- defeated previously on multiple occasions -- would delay sequestration cuts for one fiscal year by tightly restricting recruitment of new federal employees.

Ashton said the nation's nuclear deterrent "is the last thing that you want to do serious damage to," and suggested the Defense and Energy departments "will try to protect our nuclear capabilities to the maximum extent possible."

If sequestration curbs extend over a full decade, "I can't imagine that we won't have to also look at the nuclear part of our force structure in order to accommodate some of those savings," Carter added. The Obama administration committed in 2010 to invest $85 billion over a decade in modernizing the nation's nuclear arsenal and associated infrastructure.
February 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Now that the Bakken oil and gas fields are producing, why do we have a DOE?
February 12, 2013 at 6:53 PM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Ady then NK comes along and satisfactorily tests a weapons-scale model. Did Sig bring a satchel of Benjamins to the new fearless leader?

Oh well, no cuts.
February 12, 2013 at 6:56 PM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Cut nuclear weapons while NK and Iran modernize and you give Rubio a club to pound Hillary in 2016.

Especially when either weaponizes and flight test and put Gayfransisco in range.
February 12, 2013 at 7:01 PM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Apoarently we must not have enough weapons to level NK 100x over. If sanctions don't deter them then our nuclear programs aren't going to deter them either. As If we have more innovations waiting to be discovered by the so-called science at the weapons lab? Kim Jong Fugly isn't cowering in fear of out continued funding for the weapons labs. Not like we're building more nukes. All Fugly has to do is make sure he does not strike first and he can keep developing his nuclear capability indefinitely. Put money into things that WILL scare The Dear Unleader... Covert ops, subversion, compromise their I critical infrastructure. Not into ivory tower mediocre scientific endeavors.
February 13, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
February 13, 2013 at 12:31 AM

This is a great point. Why is the US government investing money into any science in the first place? Why are we paying people to play in sandboxes. If there is any value in such a thing it all could be done at universities where the science gets paid for by paying student costumers who are free to waste their money how they want.
If any valuable science is to be done it will be done in the private sector which allows the free market to determine its true value.

You wont see Google trying to find the non-existence dark Higgs strings. You do not see Pfizer trying to put toy robots on Mars. You do not see ExonMobile trying to film squids in deep water. This is just crazy stuff at our expense. Science does not work outside a free market direction. Never has never will.

We need to close DOE, NSF, NIH, NASA, and NIST. It is our money not sandbox money. This money should be for the military. Big government is not the solution it is the problem.

Obama to Renew Drive for Cuts in Nuclear Arms

Only a fool can't see that Obama is planning for big cuts to the NNSA weapons labs. His nominee for the DoD, Chuck Hagel, is a member of Goal Zero and has a dislike for all things nuclear. The New York Times article below confirms suspicions of what's to come. :


Obama to Renew Drive for Cuts in Nuclear Arms

By DAVID E. SANGER
NY Times: February 10, 2013

WASHINGTON — President Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to reinvigorate one of his signature national security objectives — drastically reducing nuclear arsenals around the world — after securing agreement in recent months with the United States military that the American nuclear force can be cut in size by roughly a third.

....But Mr. Obama is already moving quietly, officials acknowledge, to explore whether he can scale back a 10-year, $80 billion program to modernize the country’s weapons laboratories.

The White House agreed to the spending on the weapons labs as the price of winning Republican votes on the new Start three years ago, but one senior defense official said late last year that “the environment of looking for cuts in the national security budget makes this an obvious target.”

www.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/us/politics/ obama-to-renew-drive-for-cuts-in-nuclear -arms.html?_r=0

Letter to Obama


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Greetings,

In light of DOE secretary Chu's recent resignation, we are urging that President Obama appoint a new Secretary of Energy who will closely examine the negative impact of privatization on Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos Labs. A copy of the letter can be viewed on our Web site:

    http://www.upte.org/spse/201302SPSEUPTELtrObama10pgs.pdf

Thanks,

Riki Gay, President
SPSE-UPTE Local 11
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Does missile defense work?

Kingston Reif has another excellent look at missile defense, this time analyzing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system that Congress keeps even though several analyses (including that of the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation Office) have called into question the potential for the system to ever work. I hope you find it of interest.
Best,
Janice

Does missile defense work? http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/kingston-reif/does-missile-defense-work

--

Janice Sinclaire
Internet Outreach Coordinator

Monday, February 11, 2013

DOE having trouble finding copies of letters to Chu on Y-12 security investigation.

DOE having trouble finding copies of letters to Chu on Y-12 security investigation.

NNSA makes top banner post on POGO again.


'In November 2012, the Project On Government Oversight learned that former Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu asked three former senior government officials to review physical security at all U.S. nuclear weapons facilities and individually write a letter with their findings and recommendations for security improvements.

After learning of this latest security commission, POGO filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the letters filled with security recommendations from these experts.

POGO requested:

"All reports, letters, or other correspondence between former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Meserve, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald Alston, and retired Lockheed martin CEO Norm Augustine to or from Secretary Chu from January 2011 to the present. Specifically, anything related to the break-in at the Y12 facility and DOE’s model for protecting nuclear materials across the weapons complex."

On January 18, a DOE response informed POGO that the request was assigned to the Office of the Executive Secretariat who searched the Electronic Document Online Correspondence and Concurrence System, which tracks all formal correspondence. This search did not yield any results, but the Executive Secretariat would continue to look for any documents.

Just seven days later, POGO heard from the DOE again: “A search of Secretary Chu’s emails was conducted, for communications with the individuals referenced in your request. That search produced no responsive documents.”

Although POGO was able to obtain the letters through other avenues, it is rather remarkable that such a thorough search of Secretary Chu’s correspondence did not result in a single mention of this security commission or the reports that had been sent to him on December 6, 2012.

As these letters so clearly highlight, we are at a tipping point. Major changes must be made to the way the DOE and the NNSA approach physical security of our nuclear weapons, as demonstrated by the recent security failure at the Y-12 complex that allowed three protestors within feet of 300-400 metric tons of highly enriched uranium. It is POGO’s hope that the information in these letters will ensure immediate steps are taken to improve the security of the nuclear weapons complex.'

LANL exec quits after alleged sex assault

LANL exec quits after alleged sex assault

The New Mexican
Nico Roesler
Thursday, February 07, 2013

A division director at Los Alamos National Laboratory has retired amid allegations of sexual assault and battery by one of his employees.

Anthony “Tony” Stanford, 56, has been charged with two counts of assault and two counts of battery stemming from several physical interactions with one of his employees, dating to August 2012. Stanford is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Alamos Magistrate Court in March.

Stanford was the Emergency Services Division director and in charge of briefing officials during the Las Conchas Fire in 2011. He lives in Santa Fe.

According to police reports released this week, Stanford is accused of touching a 45-year-old female employee on her leg and, on separate occasions, pinning her against the wall of an elevator and an office.

The woman’s attorney, John Day, said Thursday that Stanford requested sexual acts from her with promises to promote her.

In a statement released Friday morning, Stanford’s attorney, Laurie Gallegos, said: "Mr. Stanford was not arrested, voluntarily provided a statement to the authorities, has produced and will continue to produce extensive evidence supporting his innocence with regard to these charges."

Day claims Stanford was given the option to retire or be fired by LANL. Lab spokesman Kevin Roark confirmed Stanford is no longer an employee, but he would not comment on the circumstances of Stanford’s departure from the lab.

Los Alamos police began investigating the case in January.

According to the police reports, the woman said she repeatedly told Stanford that she was “happily married” and that she had no interest in him.

Nevertheless, she said, he told her that “he found her very attractive, and if she wasn’t married he would pursue her hard.” The woman also said he called her a “sensuous and sensual woman” and claimed that “he was having a hard time concentrating when she was around.”

In November, the woman told officers, Stanford pinned her against the wall of an elevator and “pressed the front of his body against her.” She said she yelled at him and asked him what he thought he was doing, to which, and she said he replied, “You can’t blame a guy for trying.”

The next month, the woman said, Stanford again tried to press her against a wall of an office after he told her that “she could at least give him a kiss or a hug” for Christmas. She told police Stanford had just given her two new wrist watches.

Following the December incident, the woman filed a complaint with the human resources department at LANL. She told police that she “feared retaliation for reporting this because it would not only affect her job but her husband’s as well.” Day said his client’s husband works in the same division.

According to police, Stanford admitted to touching the woman’s legs (in August) and making advances to her in the elevator in November. But he denied pinning her against the wall of the elevator. He said he put one arm against the wall and asked her, “Have you ever done it in an elevator?” He denied any inappropriate physical contact in the December incident, although he did admit to giving her the watches and asking her for a Christmas kiss.

Stanford insisted to police that “he had no intent on having an affair with her and that [his behavior] was ‘flirtatious.’ ” He also said he “obviously” offended the employee, but “he wished she would have been more upfront with him.”

At the end of the interview, the report said, Stanford “stated that she was lying about this and that it spoke to her character.”

Day said the woman has since filed a restraining order against Stanford. State District Judge Sheri Raphaelson approved a "no contact order" on Wednesday, according to Gallegos. Day said Stanford’s “outrageous conduct” has “traumatized” his client and her family.

No Layoffs, Furloughs Planned at Sandia

No Layoffs, Furloughs Planned at Sandia
By John Fleck
Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer on Wed, Feb 6, 2013


Sandia National Laboratories’ managers believe they can weather this year’s federal budget uncertainty without any job cuts, Sandia president Paul Hommert said Tuesday.

Congress is currently wrestling with a March 1 deadline for mandatory cuts if the House and Senate cannot come up with an alternative spending plan for the 2013 budget. In a meeting with the Journal’s editorial board, Hommert said major uncertainties remain about how much of a budget cut Sandia might take and what impact it might have on Albuquerque’s largest employer.

But recognizing the inevitability of cuts of some kind, Sandia held current year spending down, anticipating reductions of 3 to 5 percent, Hommert said. If the cuts that result from current deliberations are deeper than anticipated, Sandia will deal with the shortfall by cutting back its hiring program.

Reductions in force or furloughs are unlikely, Hommert said.

“We do not expect to have to do that,” he said.

Legislation passed in 2011 to try to reduce the federal deficit called for mandatory cuts of 8.4 percent in nondefense spending and 7.5 percent in defense spending if Congress failed to come up with an alternative plan by Jan. 1, 2013. That deadline is now March 1.

Sandia managers set up their $2.5 billion 2013 budget with the expectation that some sort of budget cut was likely, Hommert said.

But the mix of defense and non-defense spending at Sandia makes it even more complicated when anticipating how big the budget cuts here might be, Hommert said, leaving a great deal of uncertainty.

“That’s the hardest aspect by far of this environment we find ourselves in,” Hommert said.

Whatever cuts happen at Sandia under what is called “sequestration” would be a portion of $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years being contemplated by the federal government.

Located at Kirtland Air Force Base on Albuquerque’s southern border, Sandia employs from 10,500 to 11,000 people, and that number has been stable for a number of years.

Sandia’s primary mission is design, manufacture and maintenance of parts for U.S. nuclear weapons, but in the past decade the research center has diversified, with work outside the nuclear weapons program now making up about half of Sandia’s budget.

In addition to direct employment, Sandia’s spending on outside contracting is likely to remain relatively stable, Hommert said. In 2011, Sandia spent $387 million with New Mexico contractors. That rose to $402 million in 2012, and is not expected to drop this year, he said.

On other topics, Hommert said:

* Sandia is not only facing budget uncertainty, but the uncertainty caused by the current nuclear deterrence policy debate, including possible nuclear stockpile reductions and what role nuclear weapons will play in the long run.

* New Mexico’s universities continue to produce quality scientists and engineers, especially those with master’s degrees, to fill Sandia’s job pipeline.

* Sandia remains in a wait-and-see mode regarding the status of its contract management. Lockheed-Martin currently manages Sandia for the federal government, but its contract expires at the end of September and the government has announced plans to open the contract to other bidders.

Lockheed-Martin has said it will bid, and that Hommert will head up the effort to win a new contract, but a federal decision on when to start the bidding has been repeatedly delayed.
Diversify the weapons labs to keep the workforce

The NM delegation sends a letter to the White House supporting their choice for the next NNSA Administrator. Will be interesting to see if the next Admininsrator is a product of the weapons program or if they have a broader experience.

http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2013/02/09/politics/handson-leader-urged-for-nnsa.html

"In the face of growing fiscal constraints we believe it will be essential that the labs continue to diversify their efforts, especially in the area of advanced energy and environmental technologies."

Friday, February 8, 2013

DOE weighs sequestration furloughs at Hanford

Hanford too!

DOE weighs sequestration furloughs at Hanford
Stay Connected

Annette Cary | Tri-City Herald
The Department of Energy is closely examining contracts as the threat looms for sequestration-driven spending cuts March 1, according to a new memo from Daniel Poneman, deputy energy secretary.

It's also considering placing employees on furlough -- a temporary unpaid leave -- or taking other actions to slash personnel costs, the memo said.

Unless Congress amends the law, President Obama is required to issue a sequestration order in three weeks to cut about $85 billion from fiscal 2013 spending.

At Hanford, the cut could range from 7 percent to 10 percent of spending.

The DOE Hanford Richland Operations Office has received no direction for formal action for sequestration, but that could come in the next few weeks, said Jonathan "J.D." Dowell, DOE assistant manager for river and plateau. His comments came Thursday at the Hanford Advisory Board meeting in Richland.

DOE will try to avoid cutting jobs, but budgets already are tight and there are not a lot of options, he told the board.

Any cuts would be to existing environmental cleanup work, because the schedule for required work already has been squeezed as much as possible, he said.

After the meeting, DOE spokesman Cameron Hardy said DOE has become as efficient as possible to get the most cleanup work done by its Hanford contractors with the money available.

Just as spending more money now cuts costs later, delaying work makes cleanup more expensive, he said.

After Hanford received almost $2 billion in Recovery Act money, the annual report showing the cost of Hanford work yet to be completed, cut long-term costs by $4 billion, he said.

The DOE senior leadership team is doing extensive planning to determine how to deal with sequestration, Poneman said in his memo.

In addition to examining contracts, DOE also will look at grants and other spending across the department, according to Poneman.

"In many cases, this could mean making cuts to vital programs or curtailing spending on contracts," he said in the memo.

Other options will include cutting travel, training, facility and supply costs, he said.

If furloughs are needed, employees would be provided at least 30 days notice, he said.

The Obama administration continues to work with Congress to reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan that avoids sequestration cuts, he said.

"Should these cuts occur, they would be harmful not only to our agency, but to critical domestic and defense priorities across the government and across the country," he said in the memo.

Sequestration is the penalty for the failure of a special congressional deficit committee to reach agreement. It was set to start Jan. 2 but was delayed until March through passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

Read more here:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/02/08/182447/doe-weighs-sequestration-furloughs.html#storylink=cpy


A little humor!

A little truth and humor for these tough times! Kinda reminds me of working at the labs!

Can you name this strange old tool?!!!


Thought you would enjoy this educational moment in American history.
Can you name this strange old tool? Do you know what it is?
Tobacco Smoke Enemas (1750s - 1810s)
The tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient's rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims.

A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum.
The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration.
Doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase, blowing smoke up your anus.
Amazingly, it is still in constant use in Washington D.C. , by the best senators and representatives money can

Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary:

Reuters
February 6, 2013
Exclusive - Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary: sources say

President Barack Obama is considering naming nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, one of his science and energy advisers, as the next energy secretary, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Moniz, who was undersecretary at the Energy Department during the Clinton administration, is a familiar figure on Capitol Hill, where he has often talked to lawmakers about how abundant supplies of U.S. natural gas will gradually replace coal as a source of electricity.

Moniz is director of MIT's Energy Initiative, a research group that gets funding from industry heavyweights including BP, Chevron, and Saudi Aramco for academic work on projects aimed at reducing climate-changing greenhouse gases.

He did not respond to an e-mail request for comment on Wednesday evening.

Obama gave a speech at MIT early in his first term where he praised the Energy Initiative's research and spoke about the urgent need to address climate change - a cause he has pledged to elevate again as a top priority for his second term.

Obama is in the process of reshaping his energy and environmental policy team.

Earlier on Wednesday he nominated Sally Jewell, chief executive of outdoor retailer REI, to be interior secretary, overseeing the national parks and vast U.S. energy reserves.

He is also expected to name a new leader of the Environmental Protection Agency. Sources told Reuters Gina McCarthy, a top official in charge of air quality at the EPA, is the leading candidate for the job.

Moniz is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a group that gives Obama recommendations on the role of science and innovation in the economy.

Moniz would replace Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who announced last week he plans to step down.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Leave the furloughed works alone.



Shame on LLNS, LLNL, & Parney for not having the gumption to tell supervisors & bosses, in public forum (or in the Q&A), to leave the furloughed workers alone during their non scheduled work hours.

It is absolutely inappropriate (and illegal)to cut peoples salary via furloughs, and then covet their time off for free.

Don't do furloughs if you can't afford the work reductions too. Don't be ambiguous. If you want employee personal time off, then pay for the overtime. If you don't want to pay overtime - tough luck (that was why they were salaried to begin with).

You should be ashamed. Nothing is wrong with profit, but nothing is wrong with being human and caring for others either. It's called employee relations - you're supposed to build on this as a company.

This will without a doubt hurt your employees and their families. The least you can do is leave them alone once you've visited this harm upon them.

DOE data breach came after warnings

Interesting news article on the recent cyber event at headquarters.

http://fcw.com/articles/2013/02/05/doe-data-breach.aspx?m=2

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tax question

Anonymous is asking:

I'm doing my taxes and wondering if the ERISA 5% retirement contributionsare  tax deductible?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Energy Secretary Chu to Step Down

from the AP:
By Matthew Daly / The Associated Press on Fri, Feb 1, 2013

http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2013/02/01/abqnewsseeker/breaking-energy-secretary-chu-to-step-down.html


Delete
Anonymous comment:
 
Read the entire text of his overly long resignation letter to employees. Then you can understand just how little attention Dr. Chu paid to nuclear weapons.

More problems for DOE loans

More problems for DOE loans

Looks like Solyndra was not the only loan that had political influence.

http://m.prnewswire.com/news-releases/report--solyndra-style-problems-seen-in-833-billion-federal-loan-guarantee-for-vogtle-nuclear-reactor-project-189047751.html

From Target manager to NNSA

From Target manager to NNSA

"Clean up on aisle 4" now has a whole different meaning for this new government overseer.

http://www.pogo.org/blog/2013/01/20130131-former-target-manager-now-in-charge-of-nuclear-security.html

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