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. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Friday, June 27, 2014

Just how did LANL manage to get WIPP closed?

Just how did LANL manage to get WIPP closed?

By Jeri Clausing / Associated Press
PUBLISHED: Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state regulator says officials investigating a radiation leak from the government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have turned their focus to Los Alamos National Laboratory.

New Mexico Environment Department General Counsel Jeff Kendall said Thursday that the Department of Energy’s accident investigation team has been at the lab in northeastern New Mexico for about three weeks.

Kendall said that probe is one of just nine underway into what caused a barrel of toxic waste from Los Alamos to burst at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico, contaminating 22 workers and shuttering the nation’s only permanent repository for waste from nuclear bomb building.

Kendall made the comments during a New Mexico Court of Appeals hearing on a dispute with a watchdog group over the permitting process for WIPP.

http://www.abqjournal.com/421129/north/north-news/nuke-leak-probe-focuses-on-los-alamos-national-lab.html

overt failure

Report recommends additional penalties for Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories “because of the overt nature of Sandia and Los Alamos’ actions and their failure to fully comply with federal direction in this case.”

http://www.abqjournal.com/209187/politics/federal-report-labs-wrongfully-hired-wilson-as-lobbyist.html
June 27, 2014 at 3:02 AM
 Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
It was pay to play. And when you think of it, Bechtel was brought in for their expertise and this is right up their alley.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

UC COLA

Just love those once a year UC Retirement COLA increases! No appraisals and no BS too!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Does LLNL deserve 3.4 stars on Glassdoor.com?

Does LLNL deserve 3.4 stars on Glassdoor.com?

Sandia's Solid State Lighting EFRC

Sandia's Solid State Lighting EFRC (Energy Frontier Research Center) was up for renewal at DOE this year. This funding effort was an $18 million dollar effort with a lifespan of 5 years (2009-2014). As of June 18, 2014, it was officially announced by DOE that the EFRC renewal proposal submitted by Sandia this year was not renewed.

Prepping for a RIF?

thief said...

From Newsline:

The Laboratory's Personnel Policy Manual (PPM), Section G - "Benefits" has been updated to ensure compliance with Contract 44, state and federal laws.

There are numerous changes including the following:

II.7 "Termination Vacation Pay" - all terminating employees will separate employment on their last day worked, regardless of the reason for the termination. Those employees who are retiring from the Laboratory will need to report to work on their final day of employment and will be paid for all hours worked as well as remaining accrued vacation leave on their last day worked, and IV.4 "Effect on Personnel Policies" and VIII.6 "LWOP for Temporary Workers' Compensation" - employees on leave for a worker's compensation injury or illness will accrue leave only if they meet the standard eligibility criteria.

The revised policy language can be viewed here. These revisions are effective June 22. For questions related to these changes, contact Patricia Rzeszutko.


Thoughts on O&B?

Thoughts on O&B?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cook's All Hand

Anonymous asked...

I will not be at Wednesday's Don Cook "all hands" at LLNL that an earlier posted noted. Can someone post the content for the rest of us?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sandia Livermore to merge with LLNL or shut down?

Sandia Livermore to merge with LLNL or shut down?

There's been several rumors going around at Sandia Albuquerque that the Livermore site will either merge with LLNL or be shut down.

Some of these rumors are coming from the report that Moniz is preparing: http://www.pogo.org/blog/2014/05/20140522-energy-secretary-announces-commission-to-study-national-labs.html

Does anyone at LLNL know if this is true?
June 15, 2014 at 10:02 PM
 Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sounds like more paranoid BS to me. There will be a LANL, a LLNL, and a SNL/NM and SNL/CA for decades to come…
June 15, 2014 at 10:37 PM
 Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Best to shut Sandia CA down. For the work LLNL does, they do not need more staff that do not have PhDs.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Raising concerns

Are LLNS employees comfortable raising work related concerns to their management chain, HR, or Staff Relations?

LLNS is neglecting maintenance


I ran across this article and thought that your blog is a good place to give varied perspectives. As for me, I've experienced delayed maintenance in my current building that resulted in a failure that caused an evacuation. Well, on the bright side, quitting time came very early that day.

 
LLNL has long been a leader in world class science, beginning with the leading role it played in the modernization of nuclear weapons and continuing through today with internationally recognized work in high energy-density physics. The Lab succeeded because it attracted the best scientists, the best engineers, the best technicians, the best skilled trades employees, and the best administrative support.

LLNS management is endangering our shared tradition of world class support for science and engineering. To reduce overhead costs, they have been deferring maintenance, which has reduced our skilled trades member’s ability to support critical systems. Critical systems support nuclear weapons, experiments with high energy and infectious bacteria, and the world’s fastest computers. These systems require precision machining, spark-proof electrical supply and reliable ventilation and cooling.
 
Deferred maintenance, an example of which is to run exhaust blowers with minimal maintenance and replace them after they fail, requires flexibility in application. Management’s implementation of deferred maintenance policy has been rigid and short-sighted, resulting in failures that routinely interfere with LLNL’s mission and create safety hazards.
 
Many of us have grown to expect, but not accept, that our support systems fail regularly. Rarely does a week go by without a notification that researchers somewhere onsite must cease their work in fume hoods or biosafety cabinets on short notice as some mechanical or electrical failure necessitates immediate – and disruptive – emergency roof access. In my own building – one of the newest and greenest buildings on site – we expect regular malfunctions of our HVAC system. As I write this my building’s HVAC system has not been operating for several days and the environment on the top floor, especially near the large center atrium, has become more like a sauna than an office.

Management’s run-to-fail policy for building boilers has created safety hazards. We are lucky that improper boiler operation and service by unqualified staff has not yet seriously injured anyone. Our management cut the number of qualified boiler technicians from thirteen to five in the last few years. At the same time they encouraged or allowed facility coordinators to restart boilers on their own when skilled boiler technicians were not immediately available – at least once with explosive results, including blowing off the conical cap on top of an exhaust stack.
 
A rigid run-to-fail policy may be penny wise for overhead payroll reports, but it is pound foolish for meeting sponsor deadlines on budget. For example, when a boiler is operated or maintained improperly and explodes, LLNS incurs extra expense to reduce its liability for major repair work. LLNS reduces its liability by contracting with an outside firm to certify that a repaired boiler is safe to operate.

Our members report that unbudgeted expenses associated with many such failures are offsetting management’s planned savings in maintenance payroll costs. These non-payroll costs are less visible in facility and support manager’s performance metrics and include: 1) sponsored project cost increases due to the unavailability of critical equipment or facilities when needed; 2) higher costs associated with unscheduled, rather than scheduled repairs; and 3) costs to bring in outside parties to perform and certify repair work.
 
World class management would have reduced the number of skilled boiler technicians after, rather than before, implementing the Bay Area Air Quality Management mandate to upgrade or replace old boilers. The result would have been more reliable operations and reduced carbon emissions with fewer boiler explosions and service interruptions. At his January all-hands meeting, former Director Bret Knapp could then have spotlighted our boiler maintenance program as an example of how we at LLNL “use the best-available scientific information to make rational decisions on appropriate policy responses to the climate change problem,”  as our own renowned climate scientist, Ben Santer advises on the Lab’s own website (https://www-pls.llnl.gov/?url=about_pls-atmospheric_earth_and_energy_division). Instead, our former director joked awkwardly about his taking the low road and upgrading the boilers only after regulators threatened to jail him.
 
To reverse the slow decline in the services that support our world-class science, we must insist that our management enable, rather than disable, our administrative, technical and skilled trades employees. 

The 2014 Raises


The article below lends a couple of perspectives that are a bit revealing - why management surprisingly announced retroactive pay - and some sobering information regarding the disparity, aka greed, that the middle class is forced to support to the rich. The article is good information for all to be aware.


March 2014 SPSE-UPTE Monthly Memo
The 2014 Raises 
Society of Professionals, Scientists and Engineers, Local 11 of the University Professional and Technical Employees-CWA 9119, AFL-CIO (SPSE-UPTE) offers a hearty “thank you” to the hundreds of employees who signed our petition to the Lab Director to make the 2014 raises retroactive to January 1.[1] As we were readying the petition for transmittal to the Director, he sent an email message to all employees announcing his decision to make the raises retroactive to January 1.

Our petition undoubtedly played some role in his decision, even if only a subconscious one.

In his January All Hands presentation the Director made an implied promise that all employees will get a raise, and that the “global average” wage increase would be 2.5%. We urge him to guarantee that his promise to employees is kept, and that no employee gets zero base-building raise, like what he has proposed for the Skilled Trades employees.

The 2014 raises are one small step in the direction of making up for the years of pay freezes and paltry raises that we have endured at the Lab over the past several years. This small step, however, does not go anywhere near enough to really addressing the growing income inequality issue afflicting U. S. workers. We discuss economic inequality in the next article, and how it affects us here at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).



[1] The text of the petition:
     “Dear Director Knapp, We are pleased to learn that DOE/NNSA has approved the Lab’s Compensation Increase Plan (CIP) and that we will be receiving our raises on or about April 1. We understand that the Lab received authorization for the full CIP allocation despite the government shutdown. Given that you received authorization for our raises to start January 1, 2014, we urge you to distribute the raises retroactive to that date.
In addition, we urge you to distribute raises fairly and transparently to all employees, including the Skilled Trades employees, for whom you have proposed no base-building pay increase.”
Economic Inequality, Union Membership, and LLNL
Employees at LLNL have now endured years of pay freezes or paltry raises while the Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) Board of Directors rakes in huge management bonuses. There have been many news reports over the past few years about growing income inequality in the U.S. and world-wide. A recent study[1] puts this fact into perspective. A summary of the Study’s conclusions:

• Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.

• The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.

• The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.

• Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.

• The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which there are data between 1980 and 2012.

• In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

The trend toward growing economic inequality, which threatens social stability and democratic government, is not a recent phenomenon, but has been underway for decades. It is driven partly by macro-economic forces: first, by the globalization of capital, then by the globalization of labor as companies outsource jobs in a never-ending quest to reduce their labor costs. Increasing automation plays a role, too.

Deliberate policy choices are also responsible for growing economic inequality, particularly the growing trend toward privatization of government functions, like public education.[2] The privatization movement goes hand-in-hand with the dramatic decline in the power and ability of workers to bargain collectively for their pay, benefits, and working conditions. Figure 1 shows the correlation between union membership and middle-class incomes.

This correlation, of course, does not necessarily mean that declining union membership causes income loss, but the correlation is so strong that if we ignore it we are passing up an opportunity to help reverse this damaging growth in economic inequality.

Employees at the Lab are not sheltered from the problems caused by growing economic inequality. In addition to suffering through years of no raises or paltry raises, we have seen steady erosion in our health benefits and retirement benefits as the costs of these benefits go up. We have also seen steady erosion in our job rights and job security. There are other effects that, in some ways, are even more troublesome. In the next issue of the SPSE-UPTE Monthly Memo we will show how Lab management’s choice to save money on infrastructure maintenance puts the health and safety of all of us at risk. 

[1] “Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality”, Oxfam Briefing Paper 178, 20 January 2014, available at www.oxfam.org.
[2] See, for example, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, by Diane Ravitch, Knopf (2013).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Future of ICBMs

Air Force Magazine
- Marc V. Schanz
6/6/2014

The Future of ICBMs

The Air Force is in the “home stretch” of an analysis of alternatives [AOA] on the future of the ICBM force, said the head of plans and programs at Air Force Global Strike Command. The AOA, which is slated for completion by the end of the month, will emphasize affordability and modularity for any future Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), said Brig. Gen. Fred Stoss in an interview at AFGSC’s Barksdale AFB, La., headquarters. Stoss stressed the GBSD is not a follow-on missile, but a systematic approach to recapitalizing the existing ICBM force over the long term. “We are already on the front edge of GBSD,” Stoss said, noting USAF plans to begin procuring Minuteman III guidance replacement sets beginning in Fiscal 2015 that will be modular and transferrable in the event the Minuteman III is replaced. “GBSD is not just a missile,” Stoss said, it is the rocket motors, the guidance sets, the fuses, the command and control centers, and other aspects of the capability. “It is all these things, that’s what this analysis is doing. It is charting a path for how to modernize the whole weapons system,” he added. Some components, for example, will be replaced, some modified, and some could endure beyond the Minuteman III’s life span. “We have to make sure we buy the most economical and enduring option” for each part of the system, Stoss said. “We must look at this holistically.”

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2014/June%202014/June%2006%202014/The-Future-of-ICBMs.aspx

Jeff Wisoff continues on as the AD of the NIF

So Jeff Wisoff continues on as the AD of the NIF Directorate fending off reputed challenges from Dunning, a guy from LLE, and who knows who else. Sounds like business as-usual, as NIF turns more and more into a facility operations and maintenance organization.


https://www.llnl.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/Jun/NR-14-06-02.html

$120 million diverted from NNSA’s pension fund to WIPP !

$120 million diverted from NNSA’s pension fund to WIPP !

Looks like workers across the complex are being hit to pay for this LANL screw-up.

"House appropriators today matched President Barack Obama’s $220 million budget request for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – then approved the addition of up to $120 million more – to help get the nuclear waste repository operating again.

The vote by the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee comes on the heels of a request for extra WIPP cleanup money that Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich – both New Mexico Democrats – made of Obama last week.

“We urge you to give consideration of the extra amounts needed to restore full operations at WIPP,” the senators wrote to the president.

The Department of Energy has been investigating what caused the lid of at least one drum to crack open at WIPP outside Carlsbad in February. Radiation leaked from the deep underground repository into the environment on Feb. 14 in quantities deemed unharmful to health. WIPP has been closed to shipments of legacy nuclear waste from sites around the country since early February. A set of drums from Los Alamos are the focus of the investigation.

Rep. Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee, said today that the additional $120 million the subcommittee approved as part of the 2015 energy and water spending bill would “cover costs to get the facility up and running again.” The Senate has not yet considered the 2015 spending bill for federal energy and water projects.

The budget approved by the subcommittee Tuesday allows the National Nuclear Security Administration to divert $120 million from NNSA’s pension fund to offset the looming WIPP expenditures. The appropriations bill does not include details about how the money would be spent.

Don Hancock of the Southwest Research Information Center told the Journal that the NNSA doesn’t know how much it will cost to reopen WIPP safely and questioned if the amount would be enough.

“They don’t know how much contamination there is and they don’t know what the cleanup standard is,” Hancock said, adding that the standard is unclear and unwritten in WIPP policies or law because the incident “was never supposed to happen.”

http://www.abqjournal.com/413492/politics/house-panel-approves-extra-120-million-to-reopen-wipp.html

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top 3 candidates for the Engineering AD

Who are the top 3 candidates for the Engineering AD position?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Reorg in GS?

Rumor is GS at LLNL is going to reorg what have you heard?

Friday, June 6, 2014

NIF

  1. What's new with the high foot NIF campaign? I haven't seen any new press releases. I assume they have tried some things (thinner capsule walls, new holoraum design, etc.) and the yield hasn't increased? Maybe they're preparing for another press conference?
    ReplyDelete

cola question


what is the cola for TCP1 pensioners that is planned for July  ? 
Anonymous said...
Question is. Have there been any cola's for TCP1 since 2008 ? There have been each year for UC TCP2.
Anonymous said...
Question is. Have there been any cola's for TCP1 since 2008 ? There have been each year for UC TCP2.

June 6, 2014 at 12:18 PM

There is no such thing as "UC TCP2." TCP1 and TCP2, respectively, are the defined-benefit pension and defined-contribution 401k plans for LANS/LLNS. They have nothing to do with UC, and vice versa. Perhaps you meant the UCRP pension plan, for which there have indeen been COLAs every year since the contract transition.

Future of LLNL

What are the key steps to improve efficiency of operations and morale at LLNL and do they include or exclude a future with LLNS management?

IG investigation of. ADSS

“What are people hearing about the IG investigation of ADSS (security) at LANL ?


Interesting issues at LLNL continue. The attachment identifies LLNL management position on Run To Failure of equipment. If I took this Run To Failure tact toward equipment such as my vehicle then that would be a dangerous and more costly outcome.

joe2cool
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9eIrcyRIQxyUXdrYmZqeEd3STg/edit?usp=sharing

Thursday, June 5, 2014

UPF at Y-12 is Officially Dead



---
'Red Team' Proposals to Guide Warhead Plant's Overhaul
June 5, 2014
Global Security Newswire

The U.S. government has decided to go with an alternative plan for updating uranium-processing activities at one of its key nuclear weapon facilities.

Frank Klotz, who heads the National Nuclear Security Administration, told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Wednesday that the agency intends to use a strategy recently developed by an independent "Red Team" as a starting point for how to rethink efforts to modernize uranium-processing work at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee.

The previous strategy to construct a massive Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 fell into disfavor after the projected cost of the project rose from more than $1.1 billion to more than six times that amount by one estimate, and to nearly $19 billion by another estimate. The alternative approach put together by the Red Team proposes splitting up the work that would have been done by the new UPF complex into existing buildings and into a few smaller buildings that would need to be built. The plan envisions spending no more than $6.5 billion.

"I think there's almost nothing in that report that we disagree with," Klotz said in an interview.

The NNSA head said a "working group" is drafting a more specific plan for turning the recommendations of the Red Team into action orders that would "actually put in numbers, schedule, dates, [and] ferret out the contractual issues that have to be dealt with," Klotz said.

"That's on a pretty fast pace. I can't give you a prediction on when we'll have finished that process. But it's one of some urgency," he said.

Among its recommendations, the Red Team plan advises that new uranium-processing techniques be utilized that require a smaller amount of space. Another proposal is to potentially lower the quantity of scrap enriched uranium that is recycled through an expensive chemical process to obtain a comparatively small amount of reusable material.

http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/nuclear-agency-approves-alternative-strategy-uranium-processing-work-y-12/

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Abolish the Matrix!


Don't you think it is time to get rid of the matrix at the Lab? My administrative matrix organization provides no value at all. We have no representation and I never see my matrix supervisor. For that matter I never see my Division leader either. As far as I am concerned I am better appreciated by my program than my home organization. My value never gets communicated or is even valued by my matrix organization. Anybody out there have the same experience? Oh, by the way, I am in Computation.

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