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Thursday, July 17, 2014

LANL ‘inadequate’

Nuclear criticality safety report: LANL ‘inadequate’

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 10:00 pm
Updated: 11:07 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014
By Patrick Malone
The New Mexican

Even before a radiation leak in February halted the flow of nuclear waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, the federal government had identified deficiencies in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s safeguards against potentially catastrophic nuclear fission accidents, a new report shows.
Los Alamos “does not meet expectations” in overall performance of its criticality safety program, states the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report on Nuclear Criticality Safety, delivered Monday to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.


http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/nuclear-criticality-safety-report-lanl-inadequate/article_ece6bf7b-2c45-5ea5-9b9c-e445fa89436c.html
July 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM
 Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The report clearly states that LANL is the only location in NNSA that was rated 'inadequate' for its criticality safety program. And, just to make it sting even more, PF-4 was not even operating for over half the year. Come on folks, this is nuclear operations 101!
July 17, 2014 at 6:42 AM
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35 comments:

Anonymous said...

So did management get their fee? If they got their fee after something like this, then it is not reward for performance, it is reward for incompetence.

Anonymous said...

If it is any consolation LLNL was rated as EXCELLENT.

see: http://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/Board%20Activities/Letters/2014/ltr_201479_24741.pdf

Maybe LLNL could reach out to LANL and provide some guidance?

Anonymous said...

Maybe LLNL could reach out to LANL and provide some guidance?

July 17, 2014 at 9:49 PM

You already did. LLNL sent Mara, Anastasio, McMillan, and Knapp. That's why LANL is here is at. I still remember Knapp saying, "at Livermore, at Livermore,..."

Anonymous said...

You already did. LLNL sent Mara, Anastasio, McMillan, and Knapp. That's why LANL is here is at. I still remember Knapp saying, "at Livermore, at Livermore,..."

July 18, 2014 at 5:06 AM

In fact, McMillan is personally reviewing and approving all the PF-4 restart procedures.

Anonymous said...

This from the report says it all...

"DOE Evaluation of Overall Performance

NNSA has one site with excellent performance (LLNL), three with solid performance, one with adequate performance, and one with inadequate but improving performance (LANL)."

Anonymous said...


In fact, McMillan is personally reviewing and approving all the PF-4 restart procedures.

July 18, 2014 at 5:15 AM

Charlie Chaplin or Charlie Brown would be as credible in this as Charlie McMillan.

Anonymous said...

@ July 17, 2014 at 9:28 PM

The question that matters more is not if management got their fee, but an extension. The real issue is if the contract earned an award extension year. It will take some fancy steps to dance around any reasons given for an extension after all the publicity of the failures of the past year.

Anonymous said...

This from the report says it all...

"DOE Evaluation of Overall Performance

NNSA has one site with excellent performance (LLNL), three with solid performance, one with adequate performance, and one with inadequate but improving performance (LANL)."

July 18, 2014 at 5:28 AM


That is quite some statement:

One with excellent (LLNL)

and one with inadequate (LANL)

Anonymous said...

"...NNSA has one site with excellent performance (LLNL), three with solid performance, one with adequate performance, and one with inadequate but improving performance (LANL)...."

One variable being each contractor site has its own resident and largely static NNSA Field Office staff.
Do we have NNSA contractor performance evaluators ranging from tough or high expectation, to
those with a tendency for "grade inflation"?

Anonymous said...

One variable being each contractor site has its own resident and largely static NNSA Field Office staff.

Yes, yet Field Office Manager at LLNL moved up from NM (ABQ I think) less than two years ago.

Anonymous said...

"...NNSA has one site with excellent performance (LLNL), three with solid performance, one with adequate performance, and one with inadequate but improving performance (LANL)...."

But, of course, most of the stockpile of nuclear weapons are LANL designs.

Anonymous said...

Now that LANL was rated inadequate by DNFSB, the release of rad in WIPP used by LANL container(s), and the forth coming environmental violations from NMED, will this mark the end of Bechtel-UC era in 2019? The reality is that current employees need to prepare for another transition.

Anonymous said...

The reality is that current employees need to prepare for another transition.

July 19, 2014 at 6:41 AM


Thanks, Charlie!!

Anonymous said...

Define "prepare" as early as possible...

Anonymous said...

Rumor is LANS has proposed to NNSA that the LLC is willing to take a huge cut (50% or more) in the management fee in exchange for a big multi-year extension of the current LANL contract.

I hope NNSA has the testicles to tell them no, and puts the LANL contract out to bid again (and also cut the management fee).

Anonymous said...

With most SNM material being removed from LLNL, what does the Criticality Safety procedure cover. Maybe an asterisk that says see Y12?

Anonymous said...

In fact, McMillan is personally reviewing and approving all the PF-4 restart procedures.

July 18, 2014 at 5:15 AM

McMillan's behavior of reviewing procedures is undermining all the staff engineers and scientists at LANL. He's demonstrating he has no confidence in LANL staff. Question is, who's running the Lab?

Anonymous said...

McMillan is a self-identified expert at everything. Just ask him. He learned everything at Livermore. Just ask him. Any problem that exists is someone else's fault. Just ask him. He is a model leader. Just ask him.

Anonymous said...

McMillan is a self-identified expert at everything. Just ask him. He learned everything at Livermore. Just ask him. Any problem that exists is someone else's fault. Just ask him. He is a model leader. Just ask him.

July 19, 2014 at 7:44 PM

It's interesting that Mara, Anastasio, and particularly Knapp have all these same traits. Just ask them...

Anonymous said...

carpetbaggers all.

Anonymous said...

Carpetbaggers, eh? Implying that they're the cause of LANL's failing grade?

Odd then, that the institution where they spent most of their careers is the only excellent grade.

The data say that you need to look somewhere other than those guys for the cause of the abject failure of LANL.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, when it comes to criticality safety, LLNL has been a work free safety zone for a number of years now, well on a par with local elementary schools in criticality safety.

Anonymous said...

Well, the grades sort of tell the story, even if there is some error band around each.

LANL continues to be a "problem" that is weighing down LLNL.

Anonymous said...

It should not concern anyone that LLNL received an excellent, even if there is little SNM still on site. What should concern everyone is that LANL, with most of the nation's plutonium, received an inadequate.hthchnty kyChumu

Anonymous said...

LANL continues to be a "problem" that is weighing down LLNL.

July 22, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Using former LLNL Managers (Anastasio, McMillan, Knapp) at the LANL Director and Principal Lab Director level. Thanks LLNL, your plan is being executed as planned. All these guys will run home to mommy (LLNL) when LANL is "shutdown".

Anonymous said...

What should concern everyone is that LANL, with most of the nation's plutonium, received an inadequate.

July 22, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Sorry, LANL has only a microscopic fraction of the nation's plutonium. Please check the facts before flapping your lip. Oh well,I suppose this is the way research is done at Livermore.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did anyone see the new sign that was rumored to be going up on the edge of town?

"Work paused for over a year and counting - welcome to Los Alamos, home of the world famous PF-4, where we are proud to spend your tax money to earn an inadequate in nuclear operations."

Anonymous said...

LANL's problems are not now, never were, and never will be LANL's fault. It's everybody else that's wrong. Especially LLNL, who, paradoxically, is earning "excellents"

Like I said, weighing us down.

Anonymous said...

"Work paused for over a year and counting - welcome to Los Alamos, home of the world famous PF-4, where we are proud to spend your tax money to earn an inadequate in nuclear operations."

July 23, 2014 at 6:08 AM

What nuclear operations? Plutonium Facility (PF-4), Weapons Engineering Tritium Facility (WETF), Area G, RANT Facility, and WCCRF Hazard Category 2 nuclear facilities are all inoperable at LANL. PF-4 is shutdown while McMillan is reviewing and approving all the glovebox procedures and operations, in his spare time.

Anonymous said...

LANL's problems are not now, never were, and never will be LANL's fault. It's everybody else that's wrong. Especially LLNL, who, paradoxically, is earning "excellents"

Like I said, weighing us down.

July 23, 2014 at 8:44 AM

"It's everybody else that's wrong." McMillan, Aanastasio, Knapp, and Mara's bedrock LLNL philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Terry Wallace is proposing experiments at NIF on kitty litter to validate the new equation of state (EoS) that T-division has recently developed.

Anonymous said...

A clear indicator that LANL is "corrupt" is that not one, not one LANL manager has been fired for being responsible for shutting down WIPP. To do so would imply that LANL made a mistake, which never has occurred since LANS took over. Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Nothing gets done anymore. Sad to watch:


Europa Clipper Would Wash Out Other Nuclear-powered Missions - Space News, Jul. 28, 2014

BETHESDA, Md. — If NASA sends a nuclear-powered probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa, it would launch no sooner than 2024, and effectively rule out other nuclear missions to the outer solar system before then by tying up the specialized infrastructure required to produce plutonium-powered spacecraft batteries, a senior NASA official said here.

... Clipper will likely need such a power source, but the U.S. Department of Energy, which owns and operates all the equipment needed to refine plutonium-238 and press it into pellets usable by an MMRTG, now plans to shut down its aging pellet-stamping hot press at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, after 2015, when the department plans to produce one last batch of pellets for the single MMRTG needed for Mars 2020, a sample-caching rover based on Curiosity and slated to launch in 2020.

Len Dudzinski, program executive for radioisotope power systems at NASA headquarters, said in an interview here that the Department of Energy “won’t promise us to be able to support Europa without a new hot press.” NASA, not the Department of Energy, is on the hook to pay for the new equipment.

Anonymous said...

Nothing gets done anymore. Sad to watch:


Europa Clipper Would Wash Out Other Nuclear-powered Missions - Space News, Jul. 28, 2014

BETHESDA, Md. — If NASA sends a nuclear-powered probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa, it would launch no sooner than 2024, and effectively rule out other nuclear missions to the outer solar system before then by tying up the specialized infrastructure required to produce plutonium-powered spacecraft batteries, a senior NASA official said here.

... Clipper will likely need such a power source, but the U.S. Department of Energy, which owns and operates all the equipment needed to refine plutonium-238 and press it into pellets usable by an MMRTG, now plans to shut down its aging pellet-stamping hot press at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, after 2015, when the department plans to produce one last batch of pellets for the single MMRTG needed for Mars 2020, a sample-caching rover based on Curiosity and slated to launch in 2020.

Len Dudzinski, program executive for radioisotope power systems at NASA headquarters, said in an interview here that the Department of Energy “won’t promise us to be able to support Europa without a new hot press.” NASA, not the Department of Energy, is on the hook to pay for the new equipment.

Anonymous said...

The sad fact is that the workers were told that everything for years was fine. Those who worked with the ever shrinking LANL crit staff were well aware that the issue was management (bad), resources (less than required) and costs (too high). It was inadequate, not because of invalid technical documents, it was inadequate because the staff shrunk from 12 fully qualified people to 1 in the first 6 years of LANS. Further, the person most responsible for the issue is still in charge, makes far more money than he is worth, and management continues to suck.

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