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


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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sandia irresponsible

Sandia Labs being irresponsible for waste cleanup:

cleanup cost

Let's start a pool on how much it will cost to get the "bad kitty litter" barrels into compliance with the WIPP waste acceptance criteria.

My guess is $2M per barrel.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Citizen Action New Mexico is suing the NNSA

Citizen Action New Mexico is suing the NNSA for withholding documents related to the safety of nuclear operations at Sandia National Laboratories

Monday, May 26, 2014

Topic: Charlie

Charlie McMillan has quite the record of failure under his bespoke Italian leather belt.

* There was the screw-up over multiple years in building the new security system at TA-55 that LANL was force to pay for to make amends.

* There was his female Dep. Director whose husband gained lucrative LANL contracts and for which she failed to inform LANL -- and Charlie knew about this obvious conflict of interest for years and did nothing!

* There was the horribly mis-handled $6 billion plutonium lab planned for LANL which now appears will never be built due to massive cost over-runs.

* There are the upgrades of the radioactive waste disposal pipelines that, just like the proposed plutonium lab, are now spirally massive out of control in terms of costs and completion deadlines.

* There is the on-going (now one year and growing) shut-down of all activity out at TA-55.

* And the final piece to his "glowing" career? Probably billions in cleanup costs as his mismanagement of LANL results in the "kitty litter" fiasco which will, at the very least, shut down WIPP for years to come and make the state of New Mexico wonder if any of those 500 barrels might someday blow open and spew radioactive fumes into the air.

Heckavajob, Charlie. How much does LANS pay you for this stellar record? Is it one million or two million these days?
Anonymous said...
May 25, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Ha, Charlie will laugh at you fools all the way to the bank. The only legacy is how much money you make not about what you do. He played to win, and he won, you on the other hand are are the loser. The deputy also played to win an in the end got a lot of money she did the honorable thing and stepped down, I doubt a single one ya all ould have done than that. If you cannot play the game and win the big $$$ than that is just because you suck at the game not because the game is evil. We all play and you have be honest about it, just admit you are playing as well and would take every dollar that came your way. The people that put down our management are sore losers and have absolutely no right to judge. Only God judges and heaven helps those that help themselves and that is the way it goes. You can say all the bad things you want about Charlie but he will make out much better than you.
Anonymous said...
Those corporate managers at Enron played to win too. By your logic they are heroes and those employees and mom and pop investors that lost their life savings were losers.
The management at WIPP says they they don't foresee getting back to normal operations for 3 years after the radioactive leak. Large sections of the WIPP underground storage area will need to be completely sealed off forever.

LANL says they now think there are 500 of those kitty litter "time bombs" sitting around WIPP, LANL and the temporary site in Andrews, TX.

This whole fiasco is going to be extremely expensive for NNSA and LANL to fix. I'll bet the final cost to handle it will make the $200 million security system screw-up out at LANL's TA-55 look cheap by comparison.

You have to wonder why these changes in the packing of the barrels were allowed, given all the heavy education about formality of operation and precise documentation of all steps for getting even the most mundane types of work done at the lab.
Anonymous said...
Where is the outrage at LANS LLC management failures that lead to the WIPP mess. If UC was still the sole manager of LANL you can bet there would be screams from watchdog groups and politicians that UC was to blame. Clearly the LLCs are a failure and have done nothing to improve management of the Labs - unfortunately, no one outside the Labs care or is willing to admit the obvious. Why won't the media do an investigative report into corporate for profit private management vs non-profit public UC management of the labs. Seems like there's now 7 to 8 years of data to look at and reach some conclusions.
Anonymous said...
Where is the outrage at LANS LLC management failures...

May 24, 2014 at 7:46 AM

I don't know about everyone else, but I have had it up to here with all of this manufactured "outrage" about everything that happens. This constant need to find someone to blame and to chop off his head is juvenile and demented. The sane response to problems is to identify why and how they happened, put corrective measures in place so they don't happen again, and move on. We have become a nation of self-absorbed, spoiled whiners. Give it a rest, already!
Anonymous said...
You have to wonder why these changes in the packing of the barrels were allowed, given all the heavy education about formality of operation and precise documentation of all steps for getting even the most mundane types of work done at the lab.

May 23, 2014 at 8:49 PM

Have worked in the Los Alamos Waste Disposition Project (WDP), I can tell you first hand that the entire LANL Transuranic (TRU) Operation was a "hurry up and rush it" attitude. It was a Chinese sweat shop to meet the deadline of the 3706 (cubic-meters) program and "follow the money to this PBI"! They need a Congressional Investigation of this.

I wish LANL people had their own blog.

I wish LANL people had their own blog.

Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) report?

Where is the Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) report 
regarding the proposed change in radiative waste packaging materials for the LANS drums? Where is the design reviewed and approved procedure to mitigate this "off-normal" drum leak scenario?

Approaching anniversary!!!

In a few short weeks it will be ONE YEAR since plutonium operations were halted at LANL. Maybe they can sort out the crit. safety issues and get back to work soon. Or not.

Members to New Commission on National Labs

Secretary Moniz Announces Members to New Commission on National Labs

(Every time I see this picture of Ernie, I can't help thinking of the the "What, me worry?" kid on the cover of MAD magazine!)

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

DOE News:
•Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the Energy Department’s National Laboratories

WASHINGTON – Today, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, a congressionally-mandated committee that will evaluate the effectiveness of the Energy Department’s 17 national laboratories. The Commission is being established pursuant to the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

“The Energy Department’s national laboratories are a leading force in driving U.S. scientific and technological innovation and advancing the Department’s science, energy, environmental, and national security missions,” Secretary Moniz said. “I want to thank the Commission members for their expertise and look forward to working with them to ensure we leverage the national laboratories’ unique capabilities to fulfill our missions.”

The Commission will be co-chaired by Jared Cohon, President Emeritus and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and T.J. Glauthier, President, TJG Energy Associates, LLC. This independent Commission will examine if the priorities of the labs are in line with the broader strategic priorities of the Energy Department. The Commission will conduct a two-part study and present the first phase of its study by February 1, 2015.

In addition to the co-chairs, the Commission includes:
•Norman Augustine, Chairman of the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, NASA and Former Chairman, Lockheed Martin
•Wanda Austin, President and CEO, The Aerospace Corporation
•Charles Elachi, Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA
•Paul Fleury, Frederick W. Beinecke Professor of Engineering and Applied Physics, Yale University
•Susan Hockfield, Professor of Neuroscience and President Emerita, MIT
•Richard Meserve, President, Carnegie Institution for Science and Chair of the Environmental Stewardship Subcommittee of Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB)
•Cherry Murray, Dean, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
Anonymous said...
Cherry's back to even the score.
Anonymous said...
The "kitty litter" F-Up is getting bigger and bigger with each new story. Last week it was 50 barrels. Now it is 500! It's going to probably cost a lot of money to fix this ugly LANL mess. How long until the whole town of Los Alamos (which the report says has at least 57 of these melting barrels) gets evacuated?

Heckavajob, Charlie McMillan? Looks like LANS is certainly earning their "rich" profit fees.

New Mexico: 500 barrels of questionable nuke waste

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico
environment officials say more than 500 barrels of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory was packed with the kitty litter suspected of causing a chemical reaction and radiation release at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump.
Anonymous said...
"•Cherry Murray, Dean, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)

May 20, 2014 at 6:37 PM"

Vengeance is mine, OMG we are gonna get it and get it good. Dam.

Well maybe she has some sense of mercy for the LLNL you never no, she did have some friends.

Another scandal at LANL.

This was on Drudge report

New Mexico says 57 nuke containers could be threat

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Los Alamos National Laboratory packed 57 barrels of nuclear waste with a type of kitty litter believed to have caused a radiation leak at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump, posing a potentially "imminent" and "substantial" threat to public health and the environment, New Mexico officials said Monday.

State Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn issued a formal order giving the lab two days to submit a plan for securing the waste containers, many of which are likely stored outdoors on the lab's northern New Mexico campus or at temporary site in west Texas.

CRADA Process 8x14 Poster

Does anyone still have a copy of the CRADA Process 8x14 Poster (I think it was called) which surfaced during DOE Energy Secretary Hazel O'leary's reign? It was 

All Hands Highlights

1) There is a goose family onsite with 4 goslings - mother goose perched on a turnstile to B111 and a protective order placed by the director was needed to enable her brood to successfully hatch
2) Our new director was invited to testify to a subcommittee - photo of him by himself at a table (no details on why or what for or why we should be impressed)
3) We should all accept Ergonomics Evaluations
4) The new West Cafe - which resembles a 7-11 convenience store but with $15 pre-made sushi boxes is a resounding success (NOT) - no salad bar, way less selection
5) We need to take note of water conservation efforts at the lab (a few photos of the NIF landscaping rocks and plants) - please be proud if you see brown lawns
6) Please be aware of slips, trips and falls, and by the way, a few photos where some infrastructure was repaired and might reduce hazards!
7) Lots of highly paid managers are leaving (woo hoo!)
8) LVOC is a huge success - not sure what the metrics are on this
9) Did we mention how wonderful the new West cafe is twice yet?
10) Hardly any technical highlights
11) We congratulated people who have left LLNL on their EO Lawrence awards
12) NIF is increasing the number of shots per year
13) Well, that about sums it up, we did manage to sit there watching for 90 minutes...
May 15, 2014 at 6:41 PM
Anonymous thief said...
13) Well, that about sums it up, we did manage to sit there watching for 90 minutes...

Nope....missed it all. Any mention of RIF or VSIP?


What are the common key elements and precursors used to support a "for cause" dismissal plan for a selected LLNS or LANS employee?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

LIFE over at LLNL

This is pretty big news, and LLNL wants to keep a lid on it.  You need to spread the word.

NNSA Warhead Plan does not add up

NNSA Warhead Plan does not add up:

Anyone know the real cost ($) of NIF?

Anyone know the real cost of ICF?
Anonymous said...
magine a grand total cost of NIF would be difficult to total for all years to date, 2014.

How much did NIF cost?
The total cost for NIF including development, vendors, capital, installation, and commissioning was about $3.5 billion.
‪National Ignition Facility‬

Using preliminary projections by DOE and Lawrence Livermore, we estimate that thetotal cost of building NIF is about $3.9 billion, when all supporting research ...



The NNSA Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request states that plutonium shots at NIF will begin in the coming fiscal year. For those who want to check the reference, it is in Volume 1 on Page 156 under “Highlights of the FY 2015 Budget Request.” It does not mention what may happen re: contamination of the NIF target chamber. Nor does it reference the LLNL environmental impact statement that describes an increase in radiation exposure to employees if plutonium is used in NIF.

At A Challenging Time, A New Lab Manager is Named At UC

Long article and nice recap on management of the labs... excerpts....

At A Challenging Time, A New Lab Manager is Named At UC
May 8, 2014
By Jeff Garberson

A 27-year employee of LLNL was appointed University of California Vice President for Laboratory Management last week.

Kimberly Budil, highly regarded for technical and managerial roles at the Laboratory and in Washington, D.C., replaces Glenn Mara, who retired after serving for nearly two years. Mara was also an LLNL veteran.

Budil is the first woman to hold the position, which grew out of an office created in the early 1990s to take responsibility for UC’s increasingly challenging negotiations with the federal government over continued management of [LLNL and LANL]...

While working at LLNL, Budil earned a PhD at ... UC Davis applied science department. Her undergraduate degree in physics came from the University of Illinois...

Budil’s appointment as VP for Laboratory Management also makes her a member of the executive committee of the Board of Governors of [LANS/LLNS]...

She will be responsible for overseeing University management of those two laboratories and LBNL....

Her experience includes tours in Washington, D.C., as well as increasing responsibilities at the Laboratory. Most recently at LLNL, she served as manager of the Nuclear Counterterrorism Program in the Global Security directorate. She has held positions in Weapons and Complex Integration, the National Ignition Facility and elsewhere...include working the Office of Defense Science of the NNSA and serving as a senior advisor to the Undersecretary for Science of the DOE...

One major and possibly insurmountable problem is that the federal agency for which the two laboratories work, the NNSA is widely recognized as failing, if not failed...

Given frequent gridlock in Washington even over seemingly simple budget priorities, it is not clear that a major federal agency can be reformed in the foreseeable future, according to several senior observers.

A second problem is that the laboratories have to deal with sharply higher overhead costs today because they are operated by for-profit organizations that demand high management fees and have to pay millions of taxes every year. These costs come out of laboratory budgets that might otherwise go to research.

Layoffs have occurred at both laboratories. Sharp reductions in federal spending make future support uncertain at best..

The increased overhead costs resulted in large part from a congressional decision to remove UC as sole manager of the two defense laboratories. For decades, UC wanted and received no management fee for operating the labs...

When the federal government insisted in the early 1990s that the University must accept a management fee, UC agreed only on condition that it would use the fee to pay off any fines or penalties that the government imposed. The remainder of the fee would be returned to the laboratories to support research, continuing the University’s non-profit (and untaxed) status...

The office that Budil will now lead was responsible for those negotiations...

It is this complex history that forms some of the background of the office that Budil now leads. The University today plays an important role in the functioning of LLNL and LANL, but it is no longer the only player. According to observers, nor is there any confidence locally or in Washington that its federal sponsor, the NNSA, is well qualified to fund nationally important scientific work.

NIF paper

I hear someone at NIF wrote a long paper on the state of ICF that included bogus information, and it sparked a firestorm of criticism, internal investigations, etc. Anyone know the story?

Frank Klotz

The new NNSA administrator Frank Klotz is surely aware of subtle statements. One recent statement is that he chose to visit the NNSS first, before visiting LANL or LLNL or Sandia. Interesting?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Weapons Complex Morning Briefing
May 5, 2014


The National Nuclear Security Administration has wrapped up negotiations with the Lockheed Martin run Sandia Corporation on a two year extension to its contract to run Sandia National Laboratories, but it hasn’t released any details of the contract. NNSA spokesman Josh McConaha confirmed Friday that the Sandia contract had been extended through April 30, 2016 (with an option for a third year) as expected but he did not provide any other information. The NNSA said in March that it was planning to extend the contract while it prepares to compete the Sandia contract. 

Sandia is expected to be the first contract competed under the “public interest” model championed by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former acting NNSA Administrator Bruce Held, but NNSA officials previously said the extension was not expected to vary greatly from Lockheed Martin’s current deal to run Sandia, which includes a fee-earning potential that is much lower than that of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories.

Temporary halt to low activity waste shipment

Temporary halt to low activity waste shipment

more nonsense from Sandia

Uh oh...more nonsense from Sandia:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why Workplace Jargon Is A Big Problem

From the Huffington Post

Why Workplace Jargon Is A Big Problem
When we replace a specific task with a vague expression, we grant the task more magnitude than it deserves. If we don't describe an activity plainly, it seems less like an easily achievable goal and more like a cloudy state of existence that fills unknowable amounts of time.

A fog of fast and empty language has seeped into the workplace. I say it's time we air it out, making room for simple, concrete words, and, therefore, more deliberate actions. By striking the following 26 words from your speech, I think you'll find that you're not quite as overwhelmed as you thought you were. Count the number that LLNLs mangers use. 

touch base
circle back
bandwidth -
impactful -
utilize -
table the discussion
deep dive -
engagement -
value-add -
deliverable -
work product -
incentivise -
take it to the next level
hard stop
on your radar -
due diligence -
360-degree thinking
paradigm shift
action item -
bleeding edge
killing it
synergize -
low-hanging fruit

Ok I have never heard a LLLNL manager use paradigm shift, killing it, one-sheet. What is interesting is how this kind of language which is not even desirable in the real world is now being embraced by the lab management. Culturally speaking the lab management is are always way behind the fads of the corporate world. I predict that in 5 years, lab managers will only use Facebook and twitter to convey information. We will start getting all hands memos with "bf"
"cre8" "FTW" "U" "JTLYK" and so on.

DOE/NNSA wants a return to a public interest model

DOE/NNSA wants "a return to a public interest model" and is concerned about paying more now and getting less. Combined with the floated 3% to 1% operating fee reduction idea, are we looking at a return to UC or UC and other non profit running LLNL and LANL in 1-3 years time?
Anonymous said...
UC wants nothing to do with running LANL or LLNL without "partners" to deflect some of the criticism that it would be a return to the "bad old days" of absentee management. A university consortium, maybe. UC by itself, never.

tcp1 looking good

I just received my annual TCP-1 letter from LLNS and a summary of the LLNS Pension Plan.

Looked in pretty good shape in 2013.

About 35% overfunded (funding target attainment percentage = 134.92%). This was a decrease from 2012 where it was 51% overfunded (funding target attainment percentage = 151.59%).

They did note that the 2012 change in the law on how liabilities are calculated using interest rates improved the plan's position. Without the change the funding target attainment percentages would have been 118% (2012) and 105% (2013).

2013 assets = $2,057,866,902
2013 liabilities = $1,525,162,784


2012 assets = $1,844,924,947
2012 liabilities = $1,217,043,150

It was also noted that a slightly different calculation method ("fair market value") designed to show a clearer picture of the plan' status as December 31, 2013 had;

Assets = $2,403,098,433
Liabilities = $2,068,984,256
Funding ratio = 116.15%

Its a closed plan with 3,781 participants. Of that number, 3,151 were active members, 307 were retired/separated and getting benefits, and 323 were retired/separated and entitled to future benefits.

Bottom line; no increase in employee contributions but no reduction either.

Of interest they did note that in 2013 LLNS contributed $38.6 million more than the minimal required by law, and that may be used to offset future minimum employer contributions.

Nobody has a comment on the absence of "bonuses" this year?

Nobody has a comment on the absence of "bonuses" this year?

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