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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

State: LANL, WIPP will face steeper fines

State: LANL, WIPP will face steeper fines

By Patrick Malone, The New Mexican

January 28, 2015

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/legislature/state-lanl-wipp-will-face-steeper-fines/article_d4d6ff20-f04b-54e9-b52a-fb319dcb2187.html


The New Mexico Environment Department is preparing to levy more fines against Los Alamos National Laboratory that would dwarf the already steep penalties the lab faces for its role in last year’s radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, state Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The threat to impose more fines could give the state leverage in ongoing negotiations over the $54.3 million in fines assessed so far against the U.S. Department of Energy and its private contractors that operate LANL and WIPP.

“We were conservative in the fines we assessed. There’s really, from my perspective, very little negotiating room in terms of a downward adjustment of the fines we assessed,” Flynn told The New Mexican after testifying before the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

He said the second round of fines against Los Alamos’ state-issued operating permit could carry amounts much higher than the combined total of the penalties both nuclear sites currently face.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some estimates have placed the second round of LANL fines in the $200 - 250M range. Even if they are *only* $100M that will still result in a large RIF to cover the budget shortfall caused by this debacle.

Anonymous said...

So the fines are to be subtracted from the general LANL budget and not extracted directly from the LANL operator LANS, negative award or not? How does this enable better business practices at LANSLLNS?

Anonymous said...

So the fines are to be subtracted from the general LANL budget and not extracted directly from the LANL operator LANS, negative award or not?

January 29, 2015 at 12:06 PM

No they are not. That was an (incorrect) assumption by January 29, 2015 at 10:49 AM. The LANS/NNSA prime contract clearly states that fines such as these may not be used to modify the award fee, however, the NNSA contracting officer has considerable leeway in determining whether the costs are allowable for reimbursement as operating costs.

Anonymous said...

Unless the contracting officer grows a pair, then the costs will come 100% from operating funds and there will be a significant RIF to cover the fines.

Anonymous said...

If the $200M "estimates" prove true (doubtful), then NNSA will have to weigh the prospect of getting that much less work done, plus permanently losing that many employees, versus trying to collect from the LLC via the parent companies (also doubtful), or trying to get more money allocated from Congress (also doubtful). This should prove interesting, unless it turns out (likely, in my opinion) that NMED is bluffing in order to stave off challenges to the already imposed fines.

Anonymous said...

In the limit, the entire Lab budget goes to Susanna Martinez and the Santa Fe Round House. The woman is a genius. She was responsible for getting LANS to sign up to an unrealistic deadline on the 3706 (cubic meter) Campaign, LANS took the risk, lost, and now she is queen! Long live the queen, long live the queen,......

Anonymous said...

Uninvolved LANS employees face a significant RIF? What percentage of the responsible managers for the WIPP disaster have been demoted or fired so far?

Anonymous said...

Uninvolved LANS employees face a significant RIF? What percentage of the responsible managers for the WIPP disaster have been demoted or fired so far?

January 29, 2015 at 6:22 PM

I understand most of them (e.g. Kathy Johns-Hughes, former LANL Transuranic Program (LTP) Director are in the LANL's Director's Office (yeah, McMillan's Office). However, here is beauty of this, you say demoted or fired? Steve Clemmons Deputy LTP Director aka I hid the Chemistry Division Kiddy Litter Explosion Letter) was appointed the Acting LTP Director. He was, in fact, promoted by McMillan following this debacle!

Anonymous said...

(A) NMED is not bluffing.

(B) The response of LANS on being forced to pay the massive fines will be to laugh it off and then say to the state of NM: "told you so" as they proceed to implement a painful lab-wide layoff. Watch as the NM economy takes another painful hit. New Mexico is currently the only state that is suffering through an economic recession. Sorry to say, it will soon get worse.

(C) The massive fines will paid the same way all things are paid for at LANL - the "EZ Way": A new overhead tax will suddenly spring into being. All current projects will be required to suddenly fork over 15% of their project funding to cover the "LANS FUBAR Tax". Like all other increases in the overhead taxes, it will be applied retroactively for all of FY15 and this will increase the funding pain to all projects. The "LANS FUBAR Tax" will be the main reason that a layoff of around 10% of staff will be required sometime before the fiscal year ends, probably by early summer.

(D) Things will not get better in the subsequent years at LANL. Management appears to care less about the total mess they have made. Morale of the employees will continue to hit new lows. LANL will soon lose over $200 million per year in legacy cleanup work as it is handed over to another private company (this req. comes from NNSA). McMillan will stay on as Director because it is now clear LANS is going to lose the contract and no one wants to take the captain's chair on a sinking ship.

Have I left anything out?

Anonymous said...

Have I left anything out? - 10:22 pm


Yes. For completeness add:

(E) The remaining responsibilities at LANL are largely transferred to NTS in Nevada and to LLNL and the town called Los Alamos becomes a ghost town (aka, Rocky Flats II).

(F) The only work that is left at Los Alamos involves legacy cleanup and it is done by a company that accepts the lowest payment amount that NNSA can find and that pays the lowest wages and fewest benefits to the remaining employees who are desperate for jobs.

Anonymous said...

(G) Glut of LA county housing goes on the market that won't be absorbed by buyers for 7-8 years.

(H) The current lab employees will either depart with well-stocked retirement accounts or go out and look for work elsewhere. After a few months of going without a paycheck, some of them will turn to alternate means of income.

Anonymous said...

Have I left anything out?

January 29, 2015 at 10:22 PM

Yes. Any sense of reality.

Anonymous said...

Uninvolved LANS employees face a significant RIF? What percentage of the responsible managers for the WIPP disaster have been demoted or fired so far?

January 29, 2015 at 6:22 PM

No LANS managers ever get demoted or God forbid fired. They are "re-assigned". LANS employees get fired.

Anonymous said...

No LANS managers ever get demoted or God forbid fired.

January 30, 2015 at 10:23 AM

The answer, and probable action, is to "fire" LANS itself.

Anonymous said...

The answer, and probable action, is to "fire" LANS itself.

January 30, 2015 at 10:33 AM

One the reasons I'd love to see Donald Trump become President is to see the episode where Charlie "GQ" McMillan and Norm Pattiz are sitting in the Board Room and he tells both these incompetent clowns "your fired"!

Anonymous said...

Time to ramp up LLNL to a Cat 1 facility! The LANS monkey and football concept of operations should be put to rest.

Anonymous said...

Sounds about right, S-300 would be the perfect place to build a secure facility devoid of incompetent PIDAS issues, malfunctioning cameras, test cheating guards, overextended protection strategies and fence hopping nuns.

Anonymous said...

You guys are funny.

Anonymous said...



How about this? We say to the world that we have a great functioning facility with the nations best and brightist working on maintaining the stockpile. We than do away with LLNL, LANL, Sandia, Oakridge, and the whole lot of the shit DOE labs. We will save lots of money and dare the world to call our bluff. We use the savings for prop up Wall Street, LASG, POGO, whatever and everyone wins. DOE labs are a waste. Lets do this people! 2016 is around the corner and this could be who becomes the next President. I will get rid of DOE, NSF, NIF, NIST, Department of Education, and everyone other boondoggle so vote for me!

Anonymous said...

I will get rid of DOE, NSF, NIF, NIST, Department of Education, and everyone other boondoggle so vote for me!

January 30, 2015 at 7:39 PM

The two top priority boondoggles that shut be eliminated immediately, and we wouldn't notice, are NIF and DOE.

Anonymous said...

Just more unrealistic drivel, fueled by drugs or alcohol, whatever. Your misspellings indicate you are either uneducated or impaired, whatever. If, If, If. Come back when you have actual facts. What a waste of time you are.

Anonymous said...

NM will not issue a fine that will result in the loss of NM jobs. That is politically unfeasbible. Besides being dangerous for those responsible.

Anonymous said...

12:14 AM has an interesting take on this looming LANL scandal. The signs are going up now at the state border inviting illegal toxic waste dumpers from all over the country to come to NM. The price of admission is to hire some locals, and the welcome packet comes with a get out of jail free card.

While this may come to be, it will be painful to explain such decisions to our children.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point, if I had any hope that NMED would pay attention to what is good for the state in general, rather than being controlled by environmental zealots who detest anything related to nuclear weapons. Maybe with the new Republican majority in the state house, it is time for Susana to rein in her NMED.

Anonymous said...

Susanna Martinez has bigger things on her mind than NM jobs!

Anonymous said...

close LANL and move any meaningful work to LLNL....

Anonymous said...

5:55 isn't it past your bedtime?

Anonymous said...

12:14 AM may be on to something. If so, the illegal toxic waste dumpers from all over the country will flock to NM. As long as they employ a few locals, then they will protected from fines.

Anonymous said...

Susanna Martinez has bigger things on her mind than NM jobs!

January 31, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Yeah, getting rid of Bill Richardon's Rail Runner Express and coining it El Coche del Susanna.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, at an undisclosed NM elementary school, Gov. Martinez is busy reading to the third grade kids and telling them if they can't read the book they will go to hell. The book is titled "My Pet Goat." Martinez will also threaten ship their parents back to Mexico.

Do you guys really think that Martinez has any freakin idea what is going on between NMED and DOE?

Come on, use your PhD's for once. Rome is burning and she is reading to kids, just like Bozo-Bush. It's every man for himself in NM. There is no leadership here.

NMED said straight out that the $200 million is a threat in order to get DOE to pay-up on the first $58 million fine instead of challenging it. This strategy is the only way to get DOE to fork over the funds, and it will work.

Future prediction: LANS will lose it's contract. The deck chairs will swap and Lockheed will take over from Bechtel. The only noticeable change to employees will be that McMillian is swapped out for another guy with a PhD who looks good in a suit and knows how to turn on a microphone.

WIPP will never take another barrel of LANL waste EVER.

Employment at Los Alamos will hold steady for the foreseeable future and then rise dramatically when it finally figures out it's new mission is testing certifying small nuclear energy production stations.

More millionaires will retire to very average looking Los Alamos homes but will continue to gripe about the lack of a good restaurant in town. They will outlive their LLNL peers.

New Mexico will continue to trail Mississippi in national rankings on just about every measure. Puerto Rican's will begin to say "thank god for New Mexico."

Congress will suddenly recognize that NIF is the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time and will redirect it's money to solar panel and small nuclear power station research at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Yet another Scooby stealth deletion.

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