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 authors serve as moderators. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Friday, January 31, 2014

Thought on Knapp's All-Hands?

I thought he was surprisingly open and forthcoming on a lot of things. And as much as I liked Parney, I have to give kudos to Knapp for doing one important thing that Parney should have done long ago: kill off the nonsensical LIFE effort. Would like to hear what others think about Knapp's presentation.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The non-nuclear option for hard to reach targets

. Bunker-Buster Bomb Upgrades Effective, Tester Finds By Tony Capaccio Bloomberg Jan 29, 2014 Upgrades that let the U.S. military’s most powerful precision-guided bomb hit more deeply buried targets have been successful, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester. The Air Force in May and July dropped the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator made by Boeing Co. from B-2 stealth bombers on targets to evaluate an upgrade called the Enhanced Threat Modification. Based on those exercises, the penetrator, called a bunker-buster, is “capable of effectively” attacking “selected hardened, deeply-buried targets,” Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation, said in his annual report on major weapons released today. The bomb, which can be dropped only from the B-2, would be counted on if the U.S. carried out military strikes on some Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran has reached a six-month agreement with the U.S. and five other nations to limit its nuclear program during efforts to craft a permanent accord. In his annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, released today, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Iran is “trying to balance conflicting objectives” in its nuclear program, at once trying to improve its nuclear and missile capabilities while “avoiding severe repercussions” from economic sanctions or a military strike. “We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” the report said. “If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions and stand ready to exercise military options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon,” President Barack Obama said last night in his State of the Union address. Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick today said the service won’t disclose how many of the bombs have been delivered. In 2012, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a House committee that the bunker-buster bomb “is designed to accomplish a difficult, complicated mission of destroying our adversaries’ weapons of mass destruction located in well-protected facilities.” The Pentagon won congressional approval in early 2012 to shift $81.6 million to the improve the weapon. The move, made shortly after the Air Force took delivery of the original bombs, followed Iran’s announcement on Jan. 9, 2012 that it would begin uranium enrichment at its Fordo facility near the city of Qom that’s tunneled into granite mountains. Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said in a request to Congress at the time that the money was needed to “fix issues identified in testing, including tail-fin modifications and integrating a second fuse, enhance weapon capabilities, build test targets and conduct live weapon testing.” A December 2007 story by the Air Force News Service described the original version of the bomb as having a hardened-steel casing and the ability to reach targets as far as 200 feet (61 meters) underground before exploding. The 20.5-foot-long bomb carries more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and is guided by Global Positioning System satellites, according to a description on the website of the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. January 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM Delete

What may have happened to Parney

DOE released the annual performance evaluation on LLNL this week. On the last page is some insight into what may have happened to Parney. "NNSA has concerns regarding several management issues at LLNL. On several occasions LLNL management engaged Congress contrary to stated NNSA strategy or in open opposition to that strategy. There were also a number of issues related to a lack of transparency of operations and program management decisions regarding the ICF program. NNSA and LLNL worked for several months to meet budget challenges requiring the reprogramming of funds to alleviate impacts due to the ICF program rate changes. NIF operating costs and assumptions were not transparent or well communicated to the NNSA Program Office, which made it more difficult to understand programmatic tradeoffs with FY13 budget pressures. NNSA raised concerns regarding the ICF spend rate that resulted in an extremely low level of carryover late in the fiscal year. NIF management also expended considerable facility time and resources on two facility activities (AMP 3 and ARC) despite input from the NNSA program office that these efforts were of a lower priority. Communications with external stakeholders was a continuing issue. LLNL mismanaged external communications in several instances regarding ICF activities and budgets. LLNL attempted to mitigate some of these issues and improve communication with NNSA by making some mid-year organizational changes, and improvements were noted. Additionally, LLNL made changes to its senior management team (key personnel) as coordinated with NNSA leadership to improve performance in this area." http://nnsa.energy.gov/sites/default/files/nnsa/01-14-inlinefiles/Livermore%20COR-CB-12%2024%202013-554192_OUTGOING_Performance_Incentives_Performance_Evaluation_Report_for_FY20131.pdf

Monday, January 27, 2014

sexual harassment lawsuit

I would love to hear the background story on the infamous sexual harasser Rich Marquez. The LANL Executive Director is oft maligned but I haven't ever been able to find out more than he was in a SH lawsuit with Burns and Roe. Can anybody fill me in?

Director search

Does anyone have inside information on how the search for a new director is going? Is there a short list yet? Who is on it?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Size of Nuclear Arsenal Remains Stable

Weapons Complex Monitor January 22, 2014 Size of Nuclear Arsenal Remains Stable The size of the United States’ active nuclear arsenal has remained stable for the last year, according to a recent assessment published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that estimates about 4,650 nuclear warheads remain in the active stockpile of the U.S. Another 2,700 warheads are retired and awaiting dismantlement, meaning the U.S. has a total inventory of about 7,400 warheads, the assessment by Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris of the Federation of American Scientists says. The U.S. hasn’t publicly disclosed the size of its active nuclear stockpile since 2010, when it said it had 5,113 warheads. About 2,130 warheads are operational, according to the authors, including 1,620 strategic warheads that are fielded on ballistic missiles: 1,150 on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 470 on intercontinental ballistic missiles. Another 300 strategic warheads are housed at bomber bases around the country, and approximately 200 tactical nuclear warheads are stationed in Europe. About 2,530 warheads are in storage and serve as a “hedge” against technical issues or geopolitical changes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cheating wide spread in Air Force nuclear forces

Test cheating wide spread in Air Force nuclear forces If this is as broad as the article claims, it covers almost all current and former officers in the field. They claim that they were "following instructions" to cheat. The scores were always good, and it was easy not to get caught, so why not? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/us/harsh-penalties-prompt-rampant-test-cheating-nuclear-officers-say.html?hp&_r=0

Monday, January 20, 2014

500 series

What happened to the elimination of the 500 series?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Layoffs

So now that you have your new budget how many are they going to send out the gate, put on the EBA list?

cip?

CIP? Plenty of time has passed for LLNS to study the >1% compensation issue.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Did management lie?

I went to the meetings in 2007 when the new LLNS management promised that UC retirees, all of whom were having their health care switched to LLNS, would receive "substantially equivalent" benefits compared to what UC offered. In 2014 UC is offering some of its retirees (out of state, medicare eligible) an HRA plan that is identical to what the Lab offers its medicare-eligible retirees - except, UC puts 25% more cash into the HRA. Is 25% the new "substantially equivalent"? or did management simply lie? When asked about this at last Fall's health care meeting, the Lab rep just said, "Well, it's a tough budget year". She didn't mention that one of the first things the new management did was to cut their own health care costs. I guess that's okay, since you can always make the retirees pay more.

EV Chargin

EV Charging - Contacts? Hi, I'm a new hire at LLNL and surprised that there are no EV charging stations on the campus. A company that is deploying public and private charging stations in my neighborhood, eVgo, says that they would love to touch base with an LLNL facilities manager or someone who could properly discuss a pilot project deploying a few charging stations on campus. Does anyone have any knowledge of plans for future charging stations on campus, or the appropriate office to contact about this?
Here's a very interesting report http://www.nirsonline.org/storage/nirs/documents/Retirement%20Savings%20Crisis/retirementsavingscrisis_final.pdf The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is It Worse Than We Think? (June 2013) uses the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances to analyze retirement plan participation, savings, and overall assets of all U.S. households. The research finds retirement savings are dangerously low. Of note - "Most people do not have a clear idea of how much they need to save to have enough income—including Social Security—to maintain their standard of living in retirement. For instance, a $200,000 retirement account balance may seem high, but is less than half of the minimum amount that a couple with $60,000 in combined annual income will need, according to conservative estimates. The financial services provider Fidelity Investments recommends a minimum of 8 times income in retirement savings for retirement at age 67... Aon Hewitt, a large human resources consulting firm, estimates that 11 times salary is needed in retirement assets in order to retire at age 65. Both models include a target replacement rate of 85 percent of pre-retirement income. Significantly, given the current median Social Security claiming age of approximately 62, high long-term unemployment among older adults, and large disparities in life expectancy and health status by income, delaying retirement until age 67 may not be realistic for a significant share of workers"

Strike?

Any details on the LLNL Union protect that happened Wednesday afternoon at the West Gate? I heard the employees who were picketing were handing out informational flyers on their demands, but I didn't get one. If someone did, could you summarize. Is an actual strike looming?

Air Force Nuclear Scandal

Cheating on proficiency exams! What is going on with the ICBM forces? http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/15/politics/air-force-nuclear-scandal/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Why are articles regarding Nuclear Attack in Suburban area coming out now?

Why are articles regarding Nuclear Attack in Suburban area coming out now? http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Where-To-Hide-If-A-Nuclear-Bomb-Is-Dropped-On-5143557.php

Moses in Canada

http://newswise.com/articles/laser-focus-on-limitless-energy-at-perimeter-institute-public-lecture-on-february-5 The article refers to him as the PAD of NIF. Has he not been told of the changes at LLNL?

The city versus SNL

There was a lawsuit between Sandia Livermore and the city due to environmental concerns over the leakage of waste in the sewer (i.e. an excess concentration of metal ions was detected). LLNL and SNL Livermore share the same ES&H personel for waste disposal. Does anyone know what was the outcome of this lawsuit? It's been going on for a couple of years (at least 2), but there was never an update.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Director search

Dear Members of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Community: I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the status of our search for the next LLNL Director. The Search Committee, which I chair, met at the Laboratory on January 9, 2014 to hear from former Lab Directors Parney Albright, George Miller and Bruce Tarter, five employee focus groups, and Livermore Field Office Manager Kim Davis Lebak. T he five employee focus groups, formed by the Director’s Office with input from each of the directorates , included technical senior managers, mid - career scientists and engineers (S&Es), early - career S&Es, functional representatives, and professional/administrative staff. The Search Committee will use input from Lab Day to further develop selection criteria to be used to assess the candidates during the search process to determine the best individual for the position. The position description has been widely posted and nation ally advertised. Additionally, requests for nominations have been sent to a broad national audience. To receive full consideration, nominations and applications need to be submitted by January 31, 2014 as instructed on the LLNL Director Search web page: https://www.llnl.gov/director - search. The Screening Task Force, chaired by Texas A&M Professor Marvin Adams, is meeting on February 11, 2014 to develop a list of approximately 15 candidates to recommend to the Search Committee. The Search Committee will use these recommendations and consider other potential candidates to develop the short list of individuals to interview for the position. Interviews are expected to occur in the March time frame. As a reminder, it is the responsibility of the University of California (UC) to nominate the candidate for LLNL Director in accordance with UC Regental policy and the LLC Agreement. Appointment of the Lab Director is subject to the approval of the LLNS Executive Committee and the concurrence of the Energy Secretary and NNSA Administrator. Let me encourage you to submit your comments regarding the Lab Director and any nominations via the LLNL Director Search web page noted above. The Search Committee and Screening Task Force are charged to hold all information received and their discussions in complete confidence. Regards, Norman J. Pattiz (UC Regent) Chairman, LLNL Director Search Committee Chairman, LLNS, LLC Board of Governors

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ridiculous!

Ridiculous quote from Sandia National Laboratories on using nuclear weapons to blow up an asteroid: http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201311/members.cfm "[It] really is the only option." Mark Boslough, Sandia National Laboratory, on using a nuclear weapon to deflect an incoming doomsday asteroid, NBCNews.com, October 16, 2013. "When you've got the weapons labs sort of pushing for this in the various countries, it starts to make me feel a little uneasy…Which doesn't mean it's not a legitimate thing to do, but you want to know it's being done for legitimate reasons." David Wright, the Union of Concerned Scientists, on making sure research into deflecting asteroids with nuclear weapons isn't just a "jobs program" for weapons scientists, NBCNews.com, October 16, 2013.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Opposition to B61 threatens nuclear reductions, deterrence

By Thomas Karako, The Hill January 03, 2014 President Obama pledged that so long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will retain a safe, secure, and effective deterrent. Leading up to New START, recommendations of the Strategic Posture Commission and the Nuclear Posture Review have helped to shape a remarkable shared bipartisan and bicameral understanding of the technical requirements for modernizing the U.S. nuclear enterprise. Unfortunately, the road to a sustainable deterrent is now threatened by misguided cuts to the life extension program (LEP) to the B61 nuclear bomb. As the only deployed gravity bomb and the only bomb envisioned for the future stockpile, the B61 represents a unique and valuable strategic asset. The Department of Defense calls it “the cornerstone of long term US extended deterrence to our allies.” The program also represents a critical first step in future modernization efforts. The Obama administration has laid out a reasonable strategy for the future, a prudent path for consolidating the stockpile from twelve weapon types to five. This future “3+2” force would consist of three missile warheads, one (B61) gravity bomb, and one cruise missile... Opponents of modernization impede President’ Obama’s goal of a smaller stockpile with fewer types of nuclear weapons. Failure to complete the B61 LEP will require the U.S. to keep rather than retire the large B83 (the only megaton-class weapon in the stockpile), and maintain four B61 variants instead of one. A smaller force of refurbished bombs will decrease risk, increase safety, enhance deterrence, and enable substantial reductions of both weapons and quantity of nuclear material. Planned updates to the bomb’s tailkit have been criticized on the grounds it creates "new" capabilities. In fact, updates would merely bring non-nuclear components up to late-20th century standards—e.g., replacing vacuum tubes with modern circuits, and replacing an analog-only interface with one compatible with digital aircraft (such as the F-35, soon to be America’s only nuclear-capable fighter). The obsolete and expensive parachute also needs to be replaced with smart bomb-like guidance. Greater accuracy permits a lower yield, which in turn significantly reduces the amount of nuclear material and increases safety. Others allege that the B61's mission is limited to Europe and that stationing B61s there no longer makes sense. In fact, NATO reaffirmed the utility of forward-deployed weapons in 2010 and 2012. The capability, however, transcends Europe. Among others, it reassures Pacific allies, especially after the retirement of the nuclear-armed Tomahawk missile. High profile flights of B61-capable bombers to South Korea in early 2013 helped to defuse tensions with Pyongyang and satisfy Seoul’s desire for tangible and visible demonstrations of extended deterrence. Most notably, in his revised nuclear employment guidance from June 2013, President Obama specifically reaffirmed the military requirement for forward-deployable weapons... Now Congress must act. The B61 is vetted and ready. Its completion is necessary to meet deterrence requirements, assure allies, stem further proliferation, and allow prudent reductions to the stockpile. http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/194310-opposition-to-b61-threatens-nuclear-reductions

Another damaging IG release on LANL

Coming so soon after the loss of a contract extension year, this report has to be bad news for the leadership. The TA-55 security fence construction cost and schedule over runs are laid out in terms that makes the lab look both incompetent and unaware. Double ouch! http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/01/f6/IG-0901_1.pdf

Senate Returns Dozens of Nominations To President Obama

Weapon Complex Monitor January 7, 2014 Senate Returns Dozens of Nominations To President Obama The Senate, as expected, formally returned dozens of nominees to President Obama Jan. 3, including a handful of key Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration selections that were not cleared by the Senate before it adjourned last month. The nominees were caught up in a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over new filibuster rules in the Senate, and just a handful of Obama Administration nominees were confirmed in December. That did not include 10 DOE nominees, including Frank Klotz, the Administration’s pick to be the next National Nuclear Security Administration chief, and Elizabeth Robinson, the nominee to be the Under Secretary of Energy for Management and Performance. Both Klotz and Robinson were nominated during the summer and cleared by Senate committees in September, but were not confirmed by the Senate. Other pending nominations that were returned to President Obama by the Senate included: Madelyn Creedon (Principal Deputy NNSA Administrator), Franklin Orr (Under Secretary of Energy for Science), Steven Croley (DOE General Counsel), Joseph Hezir (DOE Chief Financial Officer), Chris Smith (Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy), Jonathan Elkind (Assistant Secretary for International Affairs), Ellen Williams (Director of DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy), and Marc Kastner (Director of DOE’s Office of Science). Because the Senate did not act on dozens of other nominations, President Obama will have to re-nominate the officials this year and they will have to be cleared again by their respective committees of jurisdiction, though it is unlikely that they will have to testify for another round of confirmation hearings. The Administration began the process of re-nominating officials yesterday, submitting a handful of its selections to the Senate, but that list did not include any of the DOE nominees.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Nuclear Spending : $355 Billion over Next 10 Years

Weapons Complex Monitor January 6, 2014 CBO Estimates Nuclear Spending at $355 Billion over Next 10 Years Maintaining and modernizing the nation’s nuclear deterrent over the next 10 years is likely to cost about $355 billion, $141 billion more than the Obama Administration suggested in 2011, according to a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report released in late December. The report also notes that other nuclear-related activities, like nonproliferation, nuclear dismantlement, missile defense, and nuclear cleanup, are likely to add another $215 billion more to the estimated price tag over the next decade. In 2011, the Administration said that it would need $214 billion to maintain and modernize its nuclear deterrent over the next decade, which included costs for delivery vehicles as well as nuclear warheads and associated infrastructure. Congress asked the Congressional Budget Office to assess the cost of maintaining the nuclear deterrent over the next 10 years, and the CBO delivered its report shortly before Christmas. The CBO found that DOE’s portion of maintaining and modernizing the deterrent would cost about $105 billion over the next 10 years, of which about $77 billion would be needed for work on the nuclear weapons enterprise. The Department of Defense’s share of the nuclear costs would be about $191 billion. However, the budget office said “if costs to modernize weapons and delivery systems and to construct new nuclear facilities continued to grow as they have historically” it would take another $59 billion over the next decade to maintain the deterrent. DOE’s share of the increase would be $29 billion, while DOD’s share would be $30 billion. CBO noted that much of the cost to modernize the nation’s warheads, weapons complex and fleet of delivery systems would take place outside the 10-year window that it examined, meaning that future costs could continue to increase. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/12-19-2013-NuclearForces.pdf

State of the Pension Plans?

State of the Pension Plans? Any thoughts on the states of the pension plans for both TCP1 and for UC (for those who took TCP2 at the transition)? I assume that both are looking much better after the last year's booming stock market despite the fact that interest rates remain low, which affects the valuations of the holdings of the pension plans.

The threat of emerging military technologies

I wanted to let you know that the new issue of the Bulletin is out, and it's brilliant. Our January/February issue is a special issue on the threat of emerging military technologies ( http://bos.sagepub.com/content/70/1.toc), and it features a mix of free and subscription articles. Two articles you may particularly enjoy are both free access: Nuclear Notebook: US Nuclear Forces, 2014, by Hans Kristensen and Stan Norris: http://bos.sagepub.com/content/70/1/85.full Are New Technologies Undermining the Laws of War? by Braden Allensby http://bos.sagepub.com/content/70/1/21.full I've attached the press release for this new issue, and please remember that members of the media are eligible for complimentary media subscriptions. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and thanks for your time. Best regards, Janice -- Janice Sinclaire Internet Outreach Coordinator

Saturday, January 4, 2014

NIF's 14 kJ shot is #1 at the lab! Yeah!

https://www.llnl.gov/news/newsreleases/2013/Dec/NR-13-12-07.html#.UsZnuMu9KSM Oh, there are going to be some great PRL's and awards down the line! Oh, don't tell anyone about the 2 MJ point design that had a million man hours of work in it. Shhh

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NIF

Good article in Nature News on progress on Z with a mention of NIF's problems http://www.nature.com/news/triple-threat-method-sparks-hope-for-fusion-1.14445 Also, a reminder that NIF's breakthrough 14 kJ shot is not break even (see #5 of the list) http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2013/12/insiders-guide-2013 Not good news on the propaganda front for NIF. Time for new super-duper capsule design?

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