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This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email


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Friday, February 28, 2014

When is next RIF/VSIP?

thief said...
So..we've got a budget for the next two years! Apparently a "hatchet man" sits in the directors chair....when can we expect the next RIF/VSIP?

New Mexico nuke dump workers exposed...

Tests show New Mexico nuke dump workers exposed...

This looks bad!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Thirteen workers were exposed to radiation during a recent leak at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico, according to the results of preliminary tests announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project said in a joint news release that they have notified the workers of the positive results and will do further testing. They declined to comment further until a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Assessing progress on laser fusion

Laser Focus World
February 24, 2014
Assessing progress on laser fusion
Jeff Hecht

Publications from the Wall Street Journal to the Huffington Post hailed the new results from the National Ignition Facility in the February 20, 2014 issue of Nature as a "fusion breakthrough." The progress of the "high foot" experiments at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) is welcome good news for inertial confinement fusion. But should it count as a "breakthrough" in the big picture of fusion research?

The "high foot" tests performed last fall illuminate the fusion hohlraum with extra laser power early in the laser pulse in an effort to improve the early stages of fuel compression. An August 2, 2013 test tripled the yield of fusion energy to about 8 kJ, and a test at the end of September did even better.

The Nature paper details results of those two tests and a third in November. As shown in the figure, the September 27 test reached a yield of 14 kJ and the November 19 test yielded 17 kJ. In the August test, the fusion energy yield fell just short of the x-ray energy from the hohlraum coupled to the deuterium-tritium fuel pellet. However, both the September and November tests yielded fusion energy that exceeded the x-ray energy delivered to the target. That's the first report of what a team led by Omar Hurricane calls "fuel gain exceeding unity."

That's a definite sign of progress. So is the increasing fraction of the fusion energy that comes from self-heating rather than from fuel compression, which dominates at lower yields. But NIF was built to demonstrate ignition of a fusion reaction, defined as generating more fusion energy than the 1.8 MJ delivered to the fusion target (i.e., the hohlraum containing the D-T pellet). The new results improved fusion yield by an order of magnitude over earlier D-T experiments, but two orders of magnitude remain to match the 1.8 MJ in the input laser pulse.

The "high foot" tests crucially showed that pulse shaping can reduce instability of the fuel implosion, which has been a crucial problem. But the "high foot" pulses do not scale simply to drive fuel implosions to ignition. "Hohlraum physics is limiting our ability to use the full power capability" of NIF, the authors write in Nature, so they are exploring new strategies. Taming those problems to see a clear path to ignition would be a breakthrough.

Even if NIF itself cannot reach ignition, it provides the experimental facilities we need to learn how to control fusion implosions. The real problem is the scale of the experiments needed to understand the inertial confinement fusion process well enough to control it. NIF cost $3.5 billion and took 15 years to complete, and we likely will need another even more costly testbed to validate what we learn from it. Finding that money will be a challenge.

Lawmakers Push Obama For National Ignition Facility Funding

Weapons Complex Monitor
February 24, 2014

Lawmakers Push Obama For National Ignition Facility Funding

Seventeen lawmakers—all but one from California—late last week urged President Obama to provide “strong and sustained” funding for the National Ignition Facility and inertial confinement fusion activities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In a letter to President Obama Friday, the lawmakers, led by Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), noted recent advancements at NIF, which has thus far failed to achieve ignition.

Recent shots on the facility have been deemed a breakthrough on the path to ignition with the energy produced through the fusion reaction exceeding the amount of energy deposited into the fuel. “Just within the past few months, the NIF has recorded several record-breaking experimental shots,” the lawmakers wrote. “These newest results bring the experimental findings more closely in line with the theoretical models, highlighting a promising path forward for more groundbreaking high energy density physics. It is critical that we provide the resources necessary to continue this important work.”

NIF funding has come under pressure in recent years, in part due to the failure to achieve ignition. The lab has recently rebalanced the shots on the massive laser in favor of shots designed to improve knowledge for the Stockpile Stewardship Program while taking a more measured approach to understanding the physics of ignition. “The ongoing work of LLNL and the groundbreaking research being done at the NIF continue to ensure that the U.S. can abide by our moratorium on nuclear testing while maintaining a secure stockpile,” the lawmakers wrote. “Research conducted at the NIF also helps bring us towards a new energy future as we come closer to unlocking the potential of fusion energy. To ensure the U.S. continues to lead, it is critical to build upon the substantial investments already made and provide the NIF with funding that is stable and sufficient to carry out its mission and continue to advance ICF research.”

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Megatons to Megawatts

Dawn Stover has an excellent piece that manages to combine disarmament with energy policy. Examining the successful Megatons to Megawatts program between Russia and the US, Stover points out "...there's no reason that the United States can't safely turn more its own weapons into fuel, a process that would not have to involve large risky shipments over such long distances."

I hope you find it of interest! Best, Janice

Keep turning those ploughshares into swords:

--Janice Sinclaire Internet Outreach Coordinator

Strategic deterrence conference

Contributed by J. Frank

Strategic deterrence conerence


may be blocked from within LLNL


contributed by J. Franklin

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Agency to Delay Work on Interoperable Warhead

Global Security Newswire
U.S. Nuclear Weapons Agency to Delay Work on Interoperable Warhead
By Global Security Newswire Staff

February 18, 2014

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration is opting to postpone work on a controversial interoperable warhead, Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor reports.

Don Cook, who leads the Energy Department agency's weapons program, told the publication on Wednesday that recent assessments of the two weapons the project was intended to replace -- the W-78 warhead used on land-based strategic ballistic missiles and the W-88 warhead fitted to submarine-launched Trident missiles -- revealed they could remain in active use for roughly another 15 years.

"We certainly have enough surveillance data ... to determine that we have confidence in those two systems, that we'll have confidence for a bit of a longer period of time," Cook said on the sidelines of last week's Nuclear Deterrence Summit in Arlington, Va.

The initiative to build a nuclear warhead-modernization package that could be used by both the Air Force and Navy faced considerable opposition on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers voiced concerns that it would cost more money to design the interoperable warhead than to revamp the two weapons it was intended to replace.

Meanwhile, the hefty contracts that private companies are able to command for managing the National Nuclear Security Administration's nuclear arms facilities could be done away with in the future, the agency's acting head, Bruce Held, said on Wednesday during the summit.

Held described the "creeping privatization" of U.S. nuclear weapon laboratories as "unwise" and hinted that the semiautonomous Energy Department branch could return to a "public interest model" for managing the facilities, according to Exchange Monitor Publications' "Weapons Complex Morning Briefing."

"The laboratories exist to serve the public interest and not to make profit," Held was quoted as saying. "That will affect our structure of the contracting mechanisms."

Held also addressed a recent security incident at the Y-12 nuclear-weapons complex in Tennessee, involving two small containers of highly enriched uranium that briefly went missing.

The acting NNSA administrator said he could not go into specifics on the matter as it is still being investigated but he said the sensitive material was "improperly stored."

The 20 grams of weapon-sensitive material is thought to have remained behind in the protective garments worn by a laboratory researcher that were then taken off and destined to be cleaned. Security personnel found the vials before they could be taken offsite.

This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Dependents verification

  1. LLNS is demanding that you prove your dependents are eligible for health care coverage to "comply with requirements and manage health care costs." And it's not so simple to comply with the document demands, especially if you were married a long time ago.
  2. comment:

    Seems like LLNS wants to save money by removing ineligible dependents (fair enough), but saving more money by making it difficult/impossible to prove real dependents are eligible (like demanding a copy of a government-issued marriage certificate from 40 years ago, after LLNL recognized the marriage all throughout 30+ years of employment.)

Next LLNL Director?

High priced selection committees are not needed, let Google decide!

"Director Goodwin" = 48,700 hits
"Director Moses" = 19,800 hits
"Director Knapp" = 8,320 hits
"Director Younger" = 7,810 hits

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Huge Breakthrough News for NIF!

Scientists Say Their Giant Laser Has Produced Nuclear Fusion!

Researchers at a laboratory in California say they've had a breakthrough in producing fusion reactions with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.

Omar Hurricane, a researcher at , says that for the first time, they've produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. "We've gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel," he says.

It is all over the news now!

A Star Is Born: US Scores Fusion-Power Breakthrough
Wall Street Journal - ‎6 hours ago‎

NIF hails fusion breakthrough hours ago

Dr Hurricane unleashes FUSION at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Register - ‎4 hours ago‎

Scientists achieve 'turning point' in fusion energy quest
Sydney Morning Herald - ‎2 hours ago‎

Scientists achieve nuclear fusion milestone (+video)
Christian Science Monitor - ‎3 hours ago‎

Nuclear fusion breakthrough raises hopes for ultimate green energy source
The Guardian - ‎10 hours ago‎

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

lab iron curtain

While RIFS seem to have gone silent for some time a new creation called
'Transitional Labor' (at least new to me) appears to have provided a surrogate vehicle for LANL to reduce the workforce on a case by case basis. No one notices very much because the unlucky individuals are put on this program in single digit numbers. More likely to not arouse the suspicions of the herd. The beauty of this plan is that it appears not to require official Washington channels that would be required for a full RIF but still allows Becktel to reduce head count without the unsightly publicity in the local media. I'm not complaining about the undefined time period your are given to find employment (before termination) outside the group that has just thrown you overboard. It's just that there are no Lab Policies that define exactly how Transitional Labor is to be practiced. No rules, no limits, no boundaries. Upon questioning our local HR rep, the
only response given was that TL is regulated on a 'Very High Level. So the poor schmuck that finds him/herself in this pickle has no recourse or guidelines with which to navigate. The only absolute is that under TL you may be terminated at any time. There is also a requirement on the one page TL handout that the employee 'aggressively pursue' a new department that is willing to take you on before management decides they've had enough and flushes you down the toilet. TL suggests that you network across the Laboratory to find your prospective new job.
Really! I've find it slightly amusing just trying to accomplish normal day to day work without security boundaries impeding my every move. We all live in isolated environments as Lab employees. How we are supposed to do social networking behind a social iron curtain?

Japan-India nuc deal

Masako Toki believes the looming Japan-India nuclear cooperation agreement could help strengthen nonproliferation and disarmament worldwide. I hope you find it of interest. Best regards, Janice

Heavy lifting ahead in the Japan-India nuclear deal:
--Janice Sinclaire Internet Outreach Coordinator.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Can you spell Cronyism?

Can you spell Cronyism? The Independent published what many of us have know all along: LLNS sends HRA funds, (which now provides substantially less than "substantially equal" health care benefits,) thru a long drawn out wasteful process that appears to just cause delays, and allow lots of unnecessary "handling", and mishandling of the money. And the process does NOT work. The article asks: “This is one more example of the kind of complicated arrangement that the Laboratory has created by farming out the health care that the University of California used to handle,” said Carole Hilton, Chair of the Livermore Laboratory Retirees Association. “Why on earth do payments have to go from Kaiser to Aon Hewitt and back to Kaiser? Money that could be used to improve the medical care of retirees is instead funding unnecessarily redundant processes.” Almost every year the process has been a massive waste of energy, hours on the phone trying to get it right. I think Aon Hewitt, and Hewitt before them are the worst one of the bunch. Last year they claimed not to have gotten the money, even after LLNL Benefits e-mailed me and them a copy of the cancelled check. IF they say they will "Research" your problem, that is code for "Go away kid, you bother me." You may never hear from them again. Don't buy that, ask for a supervisor, who may or may not help. A few years before, when I asked Kaiser what I was supposed to do, Kaiser was nice enough to provide temporary coverage, as they knew all about the Hewitt problem. Turned out I needed it, and it was far superior to what the Lab has provided. In 2013 year Aon Hewitt mistakenly cancelled my coverage. More hours on the phone, more so called "research". Finally they restored my coverage, but mistakenly refunded me the money that they had originally failed to apply. I called and they said Don't worry, Be Happy. They would stop payment on their mistaken refund, and all would be well. No, and No again. They then re-cancelled me, and after more hours on the phone, the one supervisor who seemed to know anything, told me to send them a check for the amount that they'd sent me, and then they'd undo the stop payment on their check. Q. Why are we paying for this kind of "service?"

why we need representation.

While people discuss fictitious bulb changers for 60$, here a real example of corporate greed. Another example while we need strong worker representation.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NIF results

NIF results published as a PRL

Next lab director?

The lead guitarist of Queen has a PhD in astrophysics and experience as a university chancellor, he might as well be the next lab director:

Is this true?

Well I heard (second hand) that workers at the Lab who change light bulbs can make as much as $58.00 an hour plus benefits plus possibly a pension (TCP-1). Is this true? Have we gone nuts!!! This is the upside world a Liberal union brings to our society. I do not think the Lab pays starting PHD's that. Next they will be giving campaign contributions to their liberal colleagues (Democrats)just to corrupt the system a little more. This is all from Democratic policies. Used to be Republicans were somewhat corrupt with Big Business but there is no question that the Democratic Party is by far the most corrupt. Oh I can't see my lights went out. Let me supply an account number to pay the poor union victim to come over and exhaust themselves changing my light bulb. Keep voting Democratic, it's ok they are for the workers.

More about LIFE

LIFE was so close to working. This is what Mike Dunne had to say in a recent article ( "To speed up the timeline to energy generation, Mike and his team have collaborated with engineers from the power industry to create a design for a steam turbine to capture heat from the reaction. This means that once ignition is reached, fewer hurdles will stand in the way of adapting the system to feed into an electrical grid."


We should all enjoy the LIFE website while we can


INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT - ANYONE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS? The Office of Inspector General has issued a report titled “Performance of Work for a Non-Department Entity at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory," (INS-O-14-01). This report is now available for viewing and can be accessed by clicking the link below: If you are unable to access this report, please call (202) 586-4128 for assistance.

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