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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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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

LLNL LANL "mickey mouse" corporations

McMillan's total compensation including benefits comes to $1.5 million annually.

1.5 for the director

How much for the deputy director?

How much do the ADs and PADs make? 

It has been said to to be 0.5-1 million a shot. 

I know some jerk will say that I am just envious or that this is what corporations pay. (1) I am not envious of anyone who earns their money. What I am concerned about is that this is a huge amount of money for a pretty bad job. If anything things have gotten worse since the contract change. We pay more and get less. Additionally this kind of compensation can be a corrupting factor in essentially a public service institute. There is now much monetary incentive to cover things up and keep silent about issues. (2) Although we a called a corporation we do not have any of the market pressures that can make a corporation more effective or efficient. 
A corporation will always take advantage of any shortcut, abuse of workforce, avoidance of regulations, and so on, however the market place places strict restrictions on these actions. There is no such market place restrictions in the place of LANS, or LLNS, so we only get the disadvantages and none of the benefits.

Sick of Charlie bashing!

Charlie inherited a third world New Mexican lab. He can't change that. B division at LLNL was first rate under his leadership. He was chosen to save LANL and I think their continued existence is testament to that. 

I'm sick of this constant Charlie bashing. Is he Mr. GQ because he dresses like a normal person from civilization. Is he supposed to wear jeans, hiking boots, and a bolo tie?

Feds slash LANL feee by 90%

Feds slash fee for LANL contractor
December 29, 2014 
Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The federal government has cut its annual pay to the private contractor that runs Los Alamos National Laboratory by nearly 90 percent due to the radiation leak from a drum packed at Los Alamos that forced the shutdown of the nation’s only deep geologic repository for nuclear waste.

The fee paid by the federal government to Los Alamos National Security LLC was reduced to $6.25 million, lab Director Charles McMillan told the staff in a memo obtained by the Journal.

That compares with $59 million-plus paid to the LANS consortium, which includes Bechtel Corp. and the University of California, in the previous two years. The contractor would have been allowed to earn as much as $63.4 million under the current contract if it had met all its incentive goals.

“Given the events surrounding our breached drum at WIPP and the severity of the issue, the Laboratory received a rating of ‘unsatisfactory’ in operations and infrastructure and a score of zero in that area which accounted for the significant reduction in fee,” McMillan’s memo said.

Federal officials said the February leak from a LANL drum that shut down the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad constituted a “first-degree” performance failure.

It’s expected that reopening WIPP will cost at least a half-billion dollars, and when that will happen is uncertain...

He said that “our true value as a Laboratory should be measured by the contributions we make to national security.”

The NNSA has posted LANL fee determination documents on its website. A Dec. 18 memo from NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Madelyn Creedon says that in addition to a zero score for operations and infrastructure, the lab also failed to meet goals in science, technology and engineering, with a score in this area of 30 percent; and leadership, also with a score of 30 percent.

But Creedon’s memo still called for paying LANS $41.6 million, or 66 percent of its potential total fee.

However, in a memo dated the same day, NNSA contracting officer Robert M. Poole cut the payment to $6.25 million, reducing the payment for NNSA work to zero. He approved only funding for work for other federal government agencies, such as the Department of Defense.

“The NNSA looks forward to working with LANS to improve the accountability for safe, secure, effective, efficient, and economical performance at the laboratory in 2015,” Poole added in his letter to McMillan.

The Los Alamos contractor also wasn’t granted any contract extension, and a one-term extension earned previously is withdrawn, the NNSA documents state.

LANS won the lab contract in 2006 after the University of California had run the Los Alamos facility since the World War II Manhattan project. The contract term is through fiscal 2017.

The huge fee reduction comes on top of fines recently levied by the New Mexico Environment Department for hazardous waste violations related to the WIPP leak. LANL’s state fines totaled $36.6 million, and WIPP was hit with $17.7 million.

Jay Coghlan, of the Nuclear Watch New Mexico watchdog group, said he was stunned by the fee cut and said the lab contract should be rebid now.

“LANL lives in a little bit of a fantasy world and their own echo chamber of how great they are,” he said. “This ought to be a real wake-up call.”

McMillan, whose total compensation including benefits comes to $1.5 million annually, said the latest performance review reinforced the lab’s “stature as one of the pre-eminent scientific institutions of the nation.”

“Although this was a very tough year for the Laboratory, I am optimistic that next year will be better,” he wrote. “I am determined to do all that I can do to make it so.”

Privatization works!

Charlie GQ McMillion sent out an email on the Lab's grades. LANS gets only 6.25 million this year. It will come out of the flesh of the workers bees. It has been a very hard year for LANL but there are some bright spots! We now use 18% less water! We also use less electricity and there are fewer safety incidents! This also just happens to coincide with the drop in the number of lab employees but whatever. If we have 0 employees that then we use even less electricity. 

So what is the plan for next year!?! You guessed it we will be hiring more managers!

Privatization works!

Labs performance review: Overall not a pretty picture!

The grades are in...

and they aren't pretty for LANS/LANL:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Nuclear Weapons Complex Reform Could Mean Pay Cut For Contractors

The DOE/NNSA defined purpose of the LANL and LLNL contractors (LANSLLNS) is to move forward defined Lab missions in a manner that promotes science and engineering in support of continuing national need. For doing so, LANSLLNS are paid. 

In fact, LANSLLNS are paid more (profit) and accomplishing less than when LANL and LLNL were managed under UC. This has created a move within DOE/NNSA to restructure and significantly reduce your "profit" and self-defined primary purpose of LANSLLNS to a "public interest model" in the attempt to rectify the failed contractor to mission relationship. I'm sorry but your profit focused view of LANSLLNS is out of sync with DOE/NNSA Lab expectations and Lab results. Go figure? 

"...Associate Deputy Energy Secretary Bruce Held has been questioning whether what he describes as "large fees" currently paid to manage the weapons sites are the best way to motivate all players involved.

Performance at the national labs might actually improve, the former CIA officer says, if less money went toward the fees meant to motivate the management companies that run the sites, and if more funds went directly to the scientific work that the facilities conduct.

"What motivates the people at the national laboratories is excellence in science and bringing excellence in science to the interest of the nation … They're not motivated by profit incentives," Held told Global Security Newswire in a recent interview. "They're human beings, they need a salary -- you can motivate them at the margins by giving them a pay raise or a pay decrease or something like that -- but their core motivation and what makes them tick is scientific excellence.

"So if I have a choice between a dollar of fee for the … contractor that runs it, or a dollar in lab-directed research and development and I want to motivate scientific excellence, I'd go with" the dollar in lab-directed research and development, Held continued.

It is not completely clear, however, how Held, who says he was coaxed out of retirement from federal service specifically to work on the contracts question, would reconfigure the current for-profit approach.

Held, who completed a 10-month stint as acting head of the Energy Department's semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration last month, advocates for moving toward a "public interest model." He suggests, however, that he and other officials working for Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz are still wrestling with exactly what that means.

One significant change that appears to be in the works is an effort to make the maximum fee potentially available to the contractor smaller, and to have much of that fee be based on a fixed amount.

For example, in fiscal 2012, Los Alamos National Security, a limited liability company formed by Bechtel, Babcock & Wilcox, URS Corp. and the University of California, had the potential to earn up to $74.5 million for its management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, roughly 3 percent of the facility's $2 billion budget for that year.

Based on an annual performance evaluation, the government ultimately paid the company $59.7 million, 80 percent of what it could have earned with a perfect performance rating.

In the future, however, a facility like Los Alamos might be paid a fee that is only 1 percent of the site's budget, or closer to $20 million, an NNSA official explains. Most of that fee -- say, $18 million -- would be a fixed, guaranteed payment, meaning only a $2 million portion could be reduced due to less-than-stellar performance..."

Any nominations for LLNL "man of the year"?

Any nominations for LLNL "man of the year"?

I nominate that worthless astronaut who somehow ending up as the AD of NIF, even with no background in ICF or anything.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Congratulations LANL on making the top 20!

Congratulations LANL on making the top 20!!

List of worst bosses in US, based on sexual harassment. Way to go, Charlie and group. Keep those awards (and bonuses) coming.

Idaho perhaps next to file against DoE

Idaho perhaps next to file against DoE

When DoE is fined again for WIPP being shut down, look for them to come after LANS for the money. The LANL drum fart that was heard around the country is once again in the news.

Lingering problems at WIPP

LANL drum explosion causes lingering problems at WIPP 

Several interesting points in this article, including the first of many anticipated missed deadlines.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lockheed Martin broke rules

DOE says Lockheed Martin broke rules for Sandia illegal lobbying

DoE IG highlights continuous LANL hydrotest delays

DoE IG highlights continuous LANL hydrotest delays 

December 16, 2014

Follow-up on the Los Alamos National Laboratory Hydrodynamic Test Program

A primary mission of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is to ensure the safety, reliability, and performance of the Nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. NNSA relies on computer models and simulations to achieve this mission. Data from nonnuclear hydrodynamic tests (hydrotests) is used to validate and refine these computer models for the annual assessment of the stockpile. Hydrotest data also supports the development of new materials, components, and safety features, evaluations of replacement parts, and materials for vital Life Extension Programs. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) performs hydrotests for weapons in the stockpile. In September 2005, the Office of Inspector General reported that LANL did not complete hydrotests as scheduled because LANL had not fully implemented key project management tools or adopted programmatic changes that could increase its efficiency in conducting such tests.

Our current audit showed that LANL continued to experience delays in executing hydrotests. According to NNSA's National Plans, LANL scheduled a total of 19 tests during FYs 2010 through 2013. Of the scheduled tests, 12 (63 percent) experienced delays ranging from 1 to 3 years. Five of the tests had not been performed as of the end of FY 2013. Of the five tests, three were delayed 1 year and ultimately were executed in FY 2014. The remaining two tests will be delayed an additional year and are now scheduled for FY 2015. Additionally, the testing delays created a backlog in LANL's test schedules for subsequent years. LANL officials told us that the delays were due to numerous factors, such as complexity of tests, the importance of technical performance, changing program priorities, and budget constraints. While we recognize these issues, we identified various inefficiencies and project management weaknesses related to delayed hydrotest completion.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

LLNL un-diversity

Actual post from Dec. 15 from one of the streams. This is a real topic.

As far as promoting women and minorities even if their qualifications are not as good as the white male scientists, I am all for it. We need diversity at the lab and if that is what it takes, so be it. 

Quit your whining. Look around the lab, what do you see? White male geezers. How many African Americans do you see at the lab? Virtually none. LLNL is one of the MOST undiverse places you will see. Face it folks, LLNL is an institution of white male privilege and they don't want to give up their privileged positions. California, a state of majority Hispanics has the "crown jewel" LLNL nestled in the middle of it with very FEW Hispanics at all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tool Thefts from Lab

Tool Thefts from Lab ‘Hot Zones’ Raise Concerns About Security, Health Risks

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 11:00 pm | Updated: 12:15 am, Wed Dec 17, 2014.

By Patrick Malone, The New Mexican

Tools that may have been exposed to radioactive contamination vanished from a secure area of Los Alamos National Laboratory earlier this year in a series of thefts that raise questions about lab security.

Between May and August, the lab reported tools stolen on at least three occasions from Technical Area 54, the largest waste disposal zone on the lab’s sprawling hilltop campus. LANL holds more than 100 contaminated sites from years of storing waste generated during development of nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thanks Scooby?

Thanks Sccoby!

For being gone so long and for giving so many garbage posts top status, you drove many interesting and popular threads below the horizon. Do you even know what you are doing when you screw around with this blog? Absentee moderator is better than stupid moderator.
December 15, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Give Scooby (not Sccoby or Snoopy) a break. He's been the "flagship" of the National Laboratories and provided the ONLY forum or mechanism for Lab employees to communicate issues across boundaries. The current and former Lab Management (e.g. LLNS, LANS, Sandia, etc.) despise this forum, which means its working. This Blog deserves an award.
December 16, 2014 at 4:07 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
There are some very good topics right now.
December 16, 2014 at 6:03 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"...Give Scooby (not Sccoby or Snoopy) a break. He's been the "flagship" of the National Laboratories and provided the ONLY forum or mechanism for Lab employees to communicate issues across boundaries. The current and former Lab Management (e.g. LLNS, LANS, Sandia, etc.) despise this forum, which means its working. This Blog deserves an award..."

I agree completely!
December 16, 2014 at 6:59 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Me too. Tons of Thanks Scooby.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Employee Safety and Environmental Stewardship at LANS and LLNS

Employee Safety and Environmental Stewardship at LANS and LLNS? 

Are employee safety and environmental concerns of LANS and LLNS employees well received by LANS and LLNS management (aka LANSLLNS)? Do employees feel intimidated to raise safety or environmental issues despite the "encouragements" by management to do so? What happens when these matters are raised to management? Does commitment to employee safety and protection of the environment pass the "load test"? 

"...Environmental Stewardship (LANL)

Our environmental stewardship commitment: we will clean up contamination from the past, minimize current operational impacts, and create a sustainable future..."

"...Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is committed to environmental stewardship and the protection of the health and safety of its employees, visitors, and surrounding community..."



as you contemplate punishing LANL management and staff for their perceived performance please remember that there are TWO national labs.

they both do bombs but...

they are over 1000 miles apart. they have different management. even different employees. different cultures. different accomplishments. different weaknesses.

please try to keep this clear, and make sure you pin the tail on the right donkey this time.

your predecessors unwillingness to keep the two straight lead to the destruction of one very fine, high functioning institution and culture, so you could have the appearance of micromanagement control and toughness over the other.

please keep em straight. one is in california. that's a state on the pacific ocean. the other is in a state called new mexico. it's near mexico, but isn't actually mexico.
both are west of the hudson river.

s/A llnl employee tired of being punished for others screwups.

DOE science FY 2014 performance grades posted

DOE science FY 2014 performance grades posted

We should expect that the NNSA will post theirs soon as well.

I remember when LANS first arrived.

 I found this old post. 

"Most people know how Halliburton/KBR (The 'K' in KSL) uses their political connections to rip-off US taxpayers. Now, Bechtel (partner in LANS) and Shaw Group Inc (the 'S' in KSL) have come under intense investigations in connected with the Katrina cleanup.

Think about it for a moment. Bechtel, KBR, and Shaw - all companies with ethical problems. And now, all three are involved in the day-to-day operations at LANL.

It appears that privatization has opened LANL's doors to the wolves."

And that is exactly what happened. A complete rip-off the of the US taxpayers, tremendous damage to the complex, moral at an all time low. Way to go. However a number of managers have made out very very well. How do they feel now that it is clear that it was just a giant con game all along? 

New gang at the helm for LANL at the start of FY17.

Current RUMOR at LANL is that for the second year in a row LANL was not awarded a contract extension. This would mean LANS has a termination date in FY18. However, the RUMOR also is that LANS will be punished with the removal of an additional year of the contract. If thesis true, there will be a new gang at the helm for LANL at the start of FY17.

Congratulations Livermore

Congratulations Livermore. You just got 1% of Lindl's predicted yield!
You'll never ignite with the high-foot and you know it!

Plutonium on NIF

Plutonium on NIF

Funny, I thought the Laser EOS program had been completely discredited with the D2 shock data and phony Ta phase transition.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Los Alamos cleanup funding reduced $40M in budget bill

Los Alamos cleanup funding reduced $40M in budget bill

The cut comes after a radioactive waste drum packaged by the lab ruptured in February while stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s only deep geologic repository for nuclear waste, near Carlsbad.

The leak, the result of a hot chemical reaction in the drum, has shut down WIPP, and costs for reopening the facility have been estimated at as much as a half-billion dollars. Critics of the nation’s weapons complex argue that the total cost will actually be much more.

Last week, the state Environment Department fined LANL and WIPP, both federal Department of Energy facilities, $54 million for hazardous waste violations.

No specific cause for the WIPP leak has been confirmed, but a prominent theory focuses on wheat-based kitty litter that was mixed with nitrates in the transuranic waste drum as it was processed at Los Alamos, potentially causing the reaction that breached the container.

Meanwhile, the congressional budget bill would give WIPP a huge funding increase. Its budget would jump from $220 million to $320 million, to help with the post-leak remediation work.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Should the LANL contract be broke up into two?

Should the LANL contract be broke up into two?

LANL is such a huge site, would it make sense for DOE/NNSA to break the prime contract into separate contracts - one for basic research/science/technology work and one for pit production work - and put both out to bid for different M&O contractors to run. You could then have a purely industrial LLC (BWXT, URS, Bechtel, etc) run the few production facilities at Los Alamos, while a more academic LLC (UC and industrial partners) runs LANL. In the future might even consolidate the Los Alamos production facilities contract with the Y-12/Pantex contract. Idea imagine that the production facilities at LANL account for 1/3 or 1/4 of the current LANS contract.

This would allow a contractor to bring in a strict industrial management culture appropriate for the rigor of nuclear production activities, without having to also use this approach to manage science activities where creativity and risk taking innovation are necessary.

Panel Calls for NNSA Move Back Under DOE

Governance Panel Calls for NNSA Move Back Under DOE

Weapons Complex Monitor
Dec 10, 2014

The Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise is recommending not only a major overhaul for the National Nuclear Security Administration, but a recasting of how weapons complex contractors are compensated. The panel delivered its report, “A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise,” to Congress yesterday, revealing broad recommendations aimed at fixing what it called a “dysfunctional system” spoiled by “decades of neglect.” The report isn’t expected to be released publicly until later this week, but NS&D Monitor obtained a copy of the 186-page document. While it is often scathing in its critique of the failings of the agency’s current governance structure, the panel recommended that the Department of Energy reabsorb the semi-autonomous agency rather than call for a shift toward more autonomy or a move to the Department of Defense. “The nuclear enterprise would be most effective in performing its missions if it were led by a knowledgeable, engaged Cabinet Secretary and if ownership of the mission were Departmentwide,” the panel said.

More autonomy for the agency would “only further isolate” the agency from senior level leadership. As part of its recommendations, the panel called for a change to DOE’s name, to the Department of Energy and Nuclear Security, and at least a six-year tenure for the director of the Office of Nuclear Security, which is what the panel proposes calling the agency in its new spot in DOE. “It is recommended that Congress place the responsibility and accountability for the mission squarely on the shoulders of a qualified Secretary, supported by a strong enterprise Director with unquestioned authority to execute nuclear enterprise missions consistent with the Secretary’s policy direction,” the panel said.

The panel also said that award fees paid to management and operating contractors across the weapons complex have “diverted substantial energy and resources from mission execution” and it recommended award fees be replaced by “market-based” fixed fees that “fairly compensate” M&O contractors as well as award-term extensions to motivate strong performance. “The panel found that an unintended consequence of the award fee structure is that it contributes significantly to detailed, transactional oversight. It has contributed to the growth of a government bureaucracy responsible to track fee. This, in turn, has induced the M&O organizations to grow a corresponding bureaucracy to provide the assessments that justify their award fees,” the panel said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

LANL fine is largest in history of DOE

LANL fine is largest in history of DOE

Way to go Charlie and Terry! If you must be fined, make it the largest in history. After all, everything at LANL is top of the list.

"The NMED, in announcing the penalties, found a combined 37 violations committed by LANL and WIPP. For those violations, the NMED levied a $54 million penalty — approximately $36.6 million based on the violations found at LANL.

It was the largest-ever penalty imposed on the DOE.

“DOE now has an opportunity to learn from these mistakes and implement meaningful corrective actions that will ensure the long term viability” of LANL, a letter from the NMED to LANL and the Los Alamos Field office read in part.

On Feb. 14, a canister of waste ruptured in a storage room at WIPP. More than 20 workers were contaminated due to the rupture and the facility was forced to shut down."

Here today......gone tomorrow

Here today......gone tomorrow

Read this story and substitute 'TCP-1' for Central States pension plan. All remaining defined benefit retirement programs will quickly be relegated to the history books.

The future of LANL after the LANS contract ends.

The future of LANL after the LANS contract ends.

What systematic steps are LANS employees taking now to have some input on the set of metrics used to evaluate and select candidates for the next contractor LLC to run Los Alamos National Laboratory for the next 10+ years?


Will LANS employees elect to wait passively for a polished HR PowerPoint presentation to introduce the LANS successor and terms of the new LLC contract? 

LLNS employees "have a horse in this race" too. 

What's the direction of the LLNL?

What's the direction of the LLNL?

I've been at LLNL, senior scientist/manager, for 1 year now. And while the lab is great from the outside and many aspects within, the direction and pursuit of new ideas is lacking. I can't tell if its from culture or sub par staff compared to LBNL. 

As this blog is about LLNL, I would suspect this would be the #1 topic. But it doesn't appear to be.

NM environmental department to McMillan

The letter from the state of NM environmental department to McMillan 

Letter has background, preliminary list of known violations and initial remedial action demands and fines.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

LANL - still isolated after all these years

LANL - still isolated after all these years

Why is it not surprising that DoE and WIPP both reach out to NMED on the first day, while LANL follows another pattern of self-destructive behavior.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Energy and one of its contractors have reached out to New Mexico, asking for an opportunity to discuss $54 million in penalties stemming from mishaps that forced the closure of the federal government’s troubled nuclear waste repository.

A senior DOE official and the contractor that manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico contacted state officials on Monday.

New Mexico Environment Secretary Flynn says it marks a positive first step in what’s sure to be a long process.

On Saturday, the state hand-delivered two compliance orders to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz that outlined numerous violations at the repository and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The DOE is reviewing the orders. The agency said Monday it is committed to complying with its responsibilities at both facilities.

NM Senators side with state in fines against LANL

NM Senators side with state in fines against LANL

Updated: 12/08/2014 8:31 AM | Created: 12/08/2014 7:48 AM 
By: The Associated Press
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's two U.S. senators are welcoming more than $54 million in penalties being levied against the U.S. Department of Energy for numerous violations that resulted in the indefinite closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository.

The state Environment Department on Saturday announced it was imposing the penalties for 30 state-permit violations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Sen. Martin Heinrich issued a statement over the weekend saying the state's action is warranted. He also said the fines shouldn't jeopardize completion of the environmental cleanup at Los Alamos and at the repository in Carlsbad.

Similarly, fellow Democratic Sen. Tom Udall said the state's action shows why state environmental authority is needed over WIPP waste operations.

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