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 author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email


  • Stay on topic.
  • No foul, vulgar, or inflammatory language.
  • No name calling.
  • No personal attacks or put-downs of other blog users.
  • Be patient. Moderator checks and approves new posts several times a day.

Suggest new topics here


Submit candidates for new topics here only. Stay on topic with National Labs' related issues. All submissions are screened first for ...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NY Times on Los Alamos National Laboratory drum explosion at WIPP

NY Times on Los Alamos National Laboratory drum explosion at WIPP

“I don’t know how you can look at the facts themselves or any of the subsequent investigations and not have serious questions about the effectiveness of management and oversight at Los Alamos National Laboratory and WIPP,” said Ryan C. Flynn, the secretary of the Environment Department in New Mexico.

All hands: Where is George?

First- A publicity video for the lab was running in a loop at the beginning - it was really awkward - says our "mission is discovery". More like, our mission is "practical solutions for National Security" - we are a weapons lab not a science lab. It shows a bicycle ride around the lab on "mission discovery" - whoever authorized that video is so out of touch it is truly embarrassing.
Next, All Hands Presentation - Unbelievably he presented almost the same highlights as at the last All Hands meeting - High Foot, 191 NIF shots, additive manufacturing, bio assay, wind power. Several slides on safety. They really need to consider going back to the slideshow featuring closer to 100 highlights at the end of All Hands presentations. I can't believe I'm nostalgic for George's All Hands meetings - but he and Parney were much more inclusive and got a lot closer to covering the whole lab instead of the same few select favorites each time. Apparently there was a great question from an audience member at the end, but I stopped watching - maybe someone else can fill us in.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Peter Kuran

Interview with Peter Kuran who, among other things, is currently working with Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories to preserve and catalog images from the bomb-testing era, and to produce a technical handbook that will help people understand these images and the techniques used to create them

Peter Kuran: Bringing Hollywood to History:

Janice Sinclaire
Internet Outreach Coordinator

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL  60637


Sunday, October 26, 2014

DOE "Whistleblower" Bias?

DOE "Whistleblower" Bias? 

Does the DOE whistleblower "worker protection" program have a history of bias in support of the contractor? 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Incapaciating chemical agent loophole

We've just posted an excellent piece by Malcolm Dando and Michael Crawley that explores the development of incapacitating chemical agents (ICAs) by a number of countries. It's a terrific read, and it points out that in addition to military applications, proponents of ICAs consider law enforcement an ideal area for use.
Best regards,

The incapacitating chemcial agent loophole:

Janice Sinclaire
Internet Outreach Coordinator

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL  60637

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Parney named president and CEO of HRL, Laboratories LLC

Albright named president and CEO of HRL, Laboratories LLC

LLNL Newsline- 10/20/2014

Parney Albright, former director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has been named the president and chief executive officer of HRL Laboratories, LLC [Hughes Research Laboratories].

He takes over the job formerly occupied by William Jeffrey on Nov. 3. 

HRL is a commercial research and development center focused on advanced microelectronics, information and systems sciences, materials, sensors and photonics, among other disciplines. It specializes in integrated circuits, antennas, networking, smart materials and lasers. Formerly a research arm of Hughes Aircraft, HRL produced the first working model of a laser in 1960, by Theodore Maiman. 

"This is one of the premier scientific institutions in the country, a storied lab with a long history of innovation," Albright said. "It is quite an honor, and I look forward to being a part of such a talented team." 

Albright, who will retire from Lawrence Livermore effective Oct. 31, said, "It has been an honor to be a part of this Laboratory. I will miss the people and their dedication to the mission, and I look forward to possible future collaborations." 

"Parney has been an important part of this Laboratory, as a director, senior manager and adviser," said Lab Director Bill Goldstein. "With his background in national security work and his management skills, he will make an excellent leader for HRL. We congratulate him in this new position." 

Albright came to the Lab in November 2009 as the principal associate director of Global Security, which supports the Lab's biosecurity, counterterrorism, defense, energy, intelligence and nonproliferation missions. He served as Lab director from 2011-13, steering the institution through budget cuts brought on by the recession, sequestration and government shutdown. Last January he took an assignment with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

Albright has more than 25 years' experience in the federal government and the private sector. Prior to joining the Laboratory he worked with Civitas Group, a homeland security consultant in Washington, D.C. He has served as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), assistant director in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and senior director in the Office of Homeland Security in the White House; and program manager with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Monday, October 20, 2014

LLNS Retention Data Breakdown

Does anyone have the current TCP1 and TCP2 employee retention data considering population, classification, and age?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

LLNL retiree medical benefits

I just talked to a retired LLNS individual that their medical was now fully on them, no more allowance from LLNS. Can anyone provide more information?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Degree-less LLNS managers

Too many LLNS managers are promoted for reasons that do not include scientific or technical innovation. Many of them are degree free, earned degrees after their promotion, or earned historically meaningless degrees to leverage a promotion. This pattern is employee morale damaging to the LLNS innovators and our future.

Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project

Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project

Reuters - Oct 15, 2014
By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready for use in a decade.

Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed's secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work.

Initial work demonstrated the feasibility of building a 100-megawatt reactor measuring seven feet by 10 feet, which could fit on the back of a large truck, and is about 10 times smaller than current reactors, McGuire told reporters.

In a statement, the company, the Pentagon's largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years.

In recent years, Lockheed has gotten increasingly involved in a variety of alternate energy projects, including several ocean energy projects, as it looks to offset a decline in U.S. and European military spending.

******************** -breakthrough-fusion-energy-project -123840986--finance.html

LANS/LLNS salary disclosure

Since LANS and LLNS are funded by DOE/NNSA, and ultimately the tax payer, should they each be required to disclose all salaries, bonuses, etc. once a year? How would such a disclosure impact employee morale and retention now, and a few years out, if changes are implemented as a result of required salary disclosures?
October 15, 2014 at 8:24 AM
comments: You people don't read the warnings that comments are not allowed in the "suggested topics" area.
Next time, I will delete your comments.   Scooby

 Anonymous said...
What would be the purpose of such a rule, except to stoke jealousy and hard feelings? One would hope that employees' "morale and retention" would depend on their progress and accomplishments in their careers, not how much money their bosses make. Pretend you work for a private company (you do). You think any company with a government contract should be forced to make such disclosures? Good luck with that.
October 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"..."morale and retention" would depend on their progress and accomplishments in their careers..."

Exactly. And the monetary feedback for such workplace accomplishments, a relative measure, are undisclosed.
"How much money the bosses make" is an element of the
comparison. Sustained employee high morale and retention require transparency and measurable appreciation for accomplishments. Employees don't want to be patronized, they want the facts.
October 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Sunday, October 12, 2014

LLNL Avoids Fine For 2013 Sulfuric Acid Burn Incident

LLNL Avoids Fine For 2013 Sulfuric Acid Burn Incident

Weapons Complex Monitor
October 9, 2014

LLNL Avoids Fine For 2013 Sulfuric Acid Burn Incident

Already hit with a $365,000 fee reduction for a 2013 sulfuric acid burn event that left two employees with first - and second-degree burns, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory avoided further penalties for the incident, according to a Preliminary Notice of Violation sent to the lab last week. The workers received sulfuric acid burns to their face, extremities and torso from a direct acid splash when a 100-liter reaction vessel sprayed a work area at the lab’s Site 300. The workers were performing chemical synthesis of a high explosive. A third worker was exposed to sulfuric acid mist but encountered no other injuries, the NNSA said. “The event revealed deficiencies in work planning and control processes, emergency response, industrial hygiene, management responsibilities, and pressure safety,” National Nuclear Security Administration chief Frank Klotz said in a Sept. 25 letter to Livermore Director Bill Goldstein.

The NNSA declined to penalize Livermore beyond the $365,000 fee reduction already imposed on the lab [LLNS], and a lab spokeswoman said the issues addressed in the investigation have been take care of. “The safety and security of the Laboratory’s employees, facilities and the surrounding communities remain of utmost importance,” spokeswoman Lynda Seaver said in a statement. “Since this incident the Laboratory has addressed the issues cited in the report. The Laboratory will continue to work with the Livermore Field Office of the National Nuclear Security Administration to ensure work is performed within accordance of all applicable health and safety requirements, that employees are properly trained and all safety protocols are followed.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

Stockton bankruptcy

"Stockton bankruptcy ruling could deal blow to CalPERS, public pensions"
How might this ruling affect those who haven't taken their UCRS pensions yet? The idea is that federal bankruptcy law supersedes California pension protections.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Layoffs in LLNL IT?

Rumor has it that 13 people in the CIO program will be escorted out on Friday.
Can someone confirm that? what kind of skills, age and functional areas?


Censorship by Scooby

More stealth censorship by Scooby. If you keep track of potential new comments on threads as I do, you tend to notice when the number of comments on a thread DECREASES all of a sudden. That's Scooby deleting things he doesn't like, about once a week. No explanation, no claim that a post violated blog rules, it just disappears. If you are one of the smart ones, you save your posts so that you can immediately repost them, since it will take Scooby another week or two to get around to more deletions. But the flow of the thread is gone and nothing makes sense anymore. If there were clear violations of the stated rules, OK, but that is clearly NOT the case. Plus, it is not like the entire world has not had a week, or maybe two, to read these posts. What is the point of deleting them, except Scooby's need to show control or stick it in the eye of the posters he does not like? Is this the kind of blog moderator we want?? Scooby, this blog is useful and pertinent, but you do not have the right attitude or perspective to run it.
October 1, 2014 at 9:02 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
October 1, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Please start another LLNL blog and we'll check out your attitudes and perspectives, too.

October 1, 2014 at 10:23 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The "attitude and perspective" of the moderator should be reflected in the blog rules. If indeed posts that do not violate those rules are being deleted by the moderator, something is clearly wrong.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

LANL’s incompetent handling of waste

[Los Alamos Study Group]
 Press release: DOE Inspector General releases scathing report about LANL’s incompetent handling of waste, leading to WIPP shutdown
For Immediate Release October 1, 2014
DOE Inspector General releases scathing report about LANL’s incompetent handling of waste, leading to WIPP shutdown
Contact: Greg Mello, 505-265-1200 office, 505-577-8563 cell
Albuquerque, NM – Today the Department of Energy (DOE) Inspector General (IG) released a scathing “Management Alert” from their investigation into the role of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in causing the contamination and shutdown of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). 
The Los Alamos Study Group filed a detailed formal request with the DOE IG to investigate these issues on July 15, 2014.  Today’s IG report is partly responsive to that request. 
After noting that a LANL-created drum burst at WIPP, causing significant impacts not just at WIPP but at transuranic (TRU) waste generating sites around the country, the DOE IG found that:
* Despite specific direction to the contrary, LANL made procedural changes that did not conform to DOE technical guidance.
* LANL and its subcontractors mixed “potentially incompatible materials” to chemically-hazardous TRU waste that contained oxidizers (nitrate salts), namely organic absorbents (organic kitty litter and before that, organic polymer) as well as certain acid neutralizers.
* LANL’s waste processing and safety control procedures were inadequate, leading to the creation of mixtures which were “inherently hazardous.”
* LANL “did not consider readily available information on chemical reactions,” including an EPA case study on mixing oxidizers with organic or combustible materials which noted that “common references” warn against such mixtures. 
* LANL somehow added the “organic” to the description of acceptable absorbent, violating recent (2012) detailed DOE/LANL/WIPP guidance for this particular waste stream.  LANL didn’t run its procedures past subject matter experts or the WIPP team that was set up to resolve issues with difficult waste streams such as this one.  Neither did LANL consult with its own safety organizations.  Instead, LANL’s review was focused on compliance with environmental permits alone. 
* Yet, [oddly,] LANL had halted processing of this waste stream in 2012 “because of the possible dangers of mixing organic materials with nitrates,” [suggesting that at least some LANL managers as well as other people in the waste program understood these dangers]. 
* LANL also approved the use of an acid neutralizer that included an ingredient that was “highly reactive” with oxidizers and therefore “potentially incompatible with nitrate salts stored in the drums.”  This neutralizer was added to “the majority of drums” in this waste stream.
* According to LANL’s permit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), waste processing should have stopped if the waste involved was a hazardous waste for multiple reasons (was “assigned multiple EPA hazardous waste codes”). 
* LANL has subsequently “tentatively” reclassified hundreds of drums as potentially ignitable and/or corrosive, “which may pose previously unrecognized safety issues.”[1] 
The IG also made recommendations for immediate steps DOE and LANL could take to improve TRU waste at LANL.  These recommendations were accepted in detail by Frank Klotz, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) on behalf of DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, to whom the Alert was sent. 
The DOE’s Accident Investigation Board is expected to complete its own review of the WIPP incident before the end of the year.    
Study Group director Greg Mello was the first state hazardous waste official to inspect LANL, in 1984.  Mello: “We are pleased that this report correctly identifies the central role of LANL in causing the contamination and shutdown of WIPP, which DOE now estimates to last about two years and cost up to one-half billion dollars or more.  That will be the minimum.  Expensive operational limitations are likely at WIPP henceforth.   
“The violations of established well-procedures and lack of common chemical knowledge are shocking.  The report, as well as other information available to the Study Group, describe an insular, stove-piped, highly-bureaucratized corporate culture that did not access or use its own technical expertise or that of others.
“The IG report hints at, but does not discuss, the knowledge LANL had about the dangers of mixing organic materials with nitrate salt waste drums.   LANL halted processing these drums over just this issue, but inexplicably resumed in August 2012, mixing finely-divided organic material with a witch’s brew of unknown nitrate salts and acids, by the pallet-load. 
“The IG report is silent about what LANL knew when.  Did LANL know about the dangers of mixing and shipping what the DOE IG correctly calls “inherently hazardous” combinations of chemicals, which “common references” warn against?  Was LANL rushing to meet its June 30 deadline for the sake of profits and incentive pay?
“The IG report is also silent about accountability for this huge fiasco.  Will the for-profit private company that manages LANL, LANS, be forced to pay for any of the hundreds of millions of dollars that these failures have cost the taxpayers? Will LANS be awarded another year of managing LANL as if nothing happened, with no actual penalty except a few million dollars less profit?  Indeed will LANS be able to keep its contract at all, in the face of this incompetence and the resulting tremendous costs, the full scope of which is as yet unknown? 
“LANL has admitted violating its operating permit.  Under RCRA, the person who must be held responsible for this is the managing director of the site, Charlie McMillan.  Is LANS so powerful that Dr. McMillan is now above responsibility for “petty” matters like waste management? 
“NNSA’s response to this report is very far from adequate.  It basically consists of adding more bureaucratic complexity and rules, instead of actually using the management tools available to NNSA.  The LANS contract needs to be renegotiated, at a minimum.  If NNSA’s response to this incident continues the “forward-looking” approach of the DOE IG, and ignores accountability, it will only be a short time before LANS produces another fiasco, something this contractor is now doing on a regular basis.” 
Suggestions for NNSA laboratory management reform can be found here: LASG comments to the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories (CRENEL), Sep 26, 2014.

[1] On August 29, New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Secretary Ryan Flynn directed LANL to resume daily monitoring of the potentially explosive gases which have been building up in two containers at LANL stored at Area G near White Rock, NM.  LANL had inexplicably halted daily monitoring despite knowing that hydrogen levels in one of the containers had reached 70% of the lower explosive limit (LEL).  See “Gas buildup in waste drum prompts state order to Los Alamos,” George Lobsenz, Energy Daily, 9/26/14. 

Posts you viewed tbe most last 30 days