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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

Monday, May 4, 2015

LANL electrocuted!

LANL electrical accident in media

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3785059.shtml?cat=500#.VUbgCJMYG5L

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

From today's updates it looks like one of the injured employees remains in critical condition in the hospital, and a second injured employee is still in the hospital, but in good condition. Seven other injured employees were admitted to the hospital and released following treatment.

Large segments of LANSCE remain without electrical power, and it may take some time to return to normal operation.

Anonymous said...

LANL will likely see some type of multi-day "stand down" for safety review implemented across the lab over this serious accident. LANSCE will likely be put into "stand down" mode for a much longer period like what was done out at TA-55 about two years ago.

Any details on how this electrical accident happened? Why was the lock-out/tag-out safety procedure apparently not being observed out at LANSCE?

Anonymous said...

May 4, 2015 at 10:08 PM

How will this effect MARIE? There is so much riding on MARIE at this point.

Anonymous said...

I hope the injured fully recover. Long-term, it can't get much worse for LANL and LANS, no matter what the cause of the accident turns out to be.

Anonymous said...

Long-term, it can't get much worse for LANL and LANS, no matter what the cause of the accident turns out to be.

May 4, 2015 at 10:27 PM

Wanna bet?

Anonymous said...

How will this effect MARIE? There is so much riding on MARIE at this point.

May 4, 2015 at 10:18 PM


Guess that this is an attempt at gallows humor? MARIE has been dead for years.

Anonymous said...

MaRIE, WFOs, WIPP, environmental legacy cleanup....

What else is there that's left at LANL to face more declines and work stoppage?

Many employees may not recognize it yet but LANL is on life support. It's only a matter of time until more cutbacks in the staffing levels are required.

Anonymous said...

Another sad day for LANL.

Anonymous said...

"Many employees may not recognize it yet but LANL is on life support. It's only a matter of time until more cutbacks in the staffing levels are required.

May 5, 2015 at 11:04 PM"

Seems like management is in total hiding right now. There was talk that they where going to make a strong effort to keep LANS at the helm but now it is just silence.

Anonymous said...

Has there been a status update as to the condition of the injured LANS Employees?

Anonymous said...

Large parts of TA55 are still not operating because they are going through restart.

Anonymous said...


Could this be the end?

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with TA-55. Do your homework before posting.

Anonymous said...

Could this be the end?

May 6, 2015 at 7:47 PM

The end of what? LANL as a facility? Nope. LANS as the contractor running it? Yep.

Anonymous said...

The end of what? LANL as a facility? Nope. LANS as the contractor running it? Yep.

May 6, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Back in 2004 Congress said that one more screw up and we will shut this dam place down. Are we there yet? Do we really need LANL? One congressmen asked "what is done at LANL that cannot be done elsewhere?" I do not agree with this sentiment but these questions may be raised again. If LANS is one the way out they will not throw any bones are way if the tough questions are asked. Maybe we should be nice to LANS perhaps they are the only ones who can save us now. Perhaps if they where paid more money or given way more control they could have done a better job?

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should be nice to LANS perhaps they are the only ones who can save us now.

I take it your are sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

Has there been a status update as to the condition of the injured LANS Employees?

May 6, 2015 at 9:42 AM

Too sad and graphic to describe. It's beyond bad.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry for the employees hurt in this incident.

That said, I truly don't understand or see how LANS can or more importantly should win the upcoming rebidding of the LANL contract.

From what I understand this incident was completely avoidable and due to the infrastructure operations departments failed work control practices. Bechtel, URS, B&W were brought into LANS specifically and solely to improve these practices at LANL - not to do research and science mission, which belongs to UC.

Both the WIPP and LANCE electrical incidents rest squarely on the support operations side of LANS.

If UC wants to continue a major role in running LANL it would have to be crazy to get back into bed with this set of industrial partners. Unfortunately I think it will have no choice but to keep LANS together for the rebid - which I think it will lose.

Every other big contractor with in DOE/NNSA was its own problems, so this is not a slam dunk. Look at Lockheed-Martin's wrist slap for Sandia Corp. missteps. However I could see a couple things happening;

1 - LANS stays intact and the competing bidder is a complete joke. Similar to what happened on the LLNL 2007 bid with a LLC composed solely of industrial firms and no academic partners at all (not a strong chance of wining a contract to run a "science" facility).

2 - LANS breaks up, with one of the industrial partners (B&W) with "cleaner" hands jumping ship to partner with another entity (Univ of Texas or an academic consortium). This is what happened at Y-12.

3 - Another industrial firm with DOE/NNSA ties forms a strong LLC, similar to the last time in 2006 bidding. Such as Lockheed-Martin or Grumman with Univ of Texas or an academic consortium. I could also see a newbie like Boeing giving it a try; how about Boeing-Battelle.

4 - NNSA splits up the LANL contract into a science/physics lab contract and a separate pit production facility contract.

If 2 or 3 happen, it is out once and for all at LANL and this will have major implications for LLNS and LLNL. Would UC keep LLNS together, or go in a different direction for the LLNL rebid; how about a UC-Battelle owned LLC to bid on LLNL.

If 1 or 4 happen, UC would still be a major player in LANL.

I see interesting and stressful times ahead for everyone....

Anonymous said...

"...From what I understand this incident was completely avoidable and due to the infrastructure operations departments failed work control practices. Bechtel, URS, B&W were brought into LANS specifically and solely to improve these practices at LANL - not to do research and science mission, which belongs to UC..."

Best wishes to the injured LANS workers and their families. Attorneys representing DOE Contractors Bechtel and URS (LANS and LLNS corporate members), at the Hanford Site WTP, essentially told the DOE IG to "take a hike". I hope this does not happen with the DOE LANSCE investigation.

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/10/f18/IG-0923.pdf

Anonymous said...

It's sad to think you might go to work to almost lose your life.

Anonymous said...

"...It's sad to think you might go to work to almost lose your life..."

Yes, which is why if there are "lessons learned" from this LANSCE incident, they should be brought forward by LANS Management as soon as possible to prevent a reoccurrence.

Anonymous said...

Who is in the drivers seat for all aspects of the LANSCE incident investigation, DOE IG, NNSA Los Alamos Field Office, LANS Engineering, or LANS LLC attorneys?

Anonymous said...

If it was Livermore, staff relations would be involved, especially if they needed someone to change their story.

Anonymous said...

May 8, 2015 at 2:22 PM;

A DOE Office of Enforcement investigation on electrical safety problems at LANL was announced last week before the LANSCE accident.

===
Enforcement Notice of Intent to Investigate, Los Alamos National Security, LLC

April 2015

The DOE Office of Enforcement issued a Notice of Intent to Investigate recent hazardous electrical energy events and potential deficiencies in implementing hazardous energy assessment and control requirements at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

On April 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Enterprise Assessments’ Office of Enforcement notified Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the operating contractor for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, of its intent to investigate recent hazardous electrical energy events and potential deficiencies in the contractor’s implementation of 10 C.F.R. Part 851 requirements for hazardous energy assessment and control.

===
You can bet that the DOE Enforcement Office will now focus like a laser beam on electrical safety at LANL.

The results from this DOE office usually involve sizable fines to contractors that have to come out of their management fee. Back in 2012 they hit LANS with a $262,000 penalty (that LANS talked down to $168,000) over four electrical safety accidents that had happened from 2010 to 2011. All of these were near misses, no major injuries.

So since they were already coming again to grill LANL/LANS on electrical safety, before the most recent accident sent 9 employees to the hospital - I'm sure this investigation visit by DOE Enforcement will now be ugly (and costly to LANS).

How many times will DOE Enforcement Office have to investigate and issue monetary penalties against LANL management before real (not paper) safety programs are implemented.

http://energy.gov/ea/downloads/enforcement-notice-intent-investigate-los-alamos-national-security-llc-0

http://energy.gov/ea/downloads/preliminary-notice-violation-los-alamos-national-security-llc-wea-2012-03

Anonymous said...

The results from this DOE office usually involve sizable fines to contractors that have to come out of their management fee. Back in 2012 they hit LANS with a $262,000 penalty (that LANS talked down to $168,000) over four electrical safety accidents that had happened from 2010 to 2011. All of these were near misses, no major injuries.

May 8, 2015 at 4:44 PM

If LANS thinks these fines were big, which they probably didn't, just wait until they are hit with a multi-million dollar lawsuit from the nine workers burned/shocked from this recent event. They will end paying the $53M they "squeaked" out of on the WIPP FUBAR. It all ends up catching up with you LANS. This event might even hit some of the "big boys" upstairs for "negligence". Follow the money McMillan, follow the money.....

Anonymous said...

Some of the information coming out this accident at LANSCE are just flat out "gruesome". LANS looks really bad, negligent!

Anonymous said...

"...McMillan: 'Sympathy and support' to family of burn victim..."

Yes very appropriate McMillan. Steps forward to swiftly determine and expose the root and contributing causes of this tragedy....?

Anonymous said...

LANS looks really bad, negligent!

May 8, 2015 at 6:24 PM

Yet, you provide no details or even a source for details. Rumor mongering as usual.

Anonymous said...

Yet, you provide no details or even a source for details. Rumor mongering as usual.

May 8, 2015 at 7:55 PM

One of "last man standing" in support of LANS. Give it up pal, your "empire" is coming down.

Anonymous said...

One of "last man standing" in support of LANS. Give it up pal, your "empire" is coming down.

May 8, 2015 at 8:18 PM

Nope, no connection to LANS - just seeking real, true information. Guess that's wrong in your view. Did all you LANS-haters forget about "truth"?? Because that would be wrong.

Anonymous said...

"...Are we there yet? Do we really need LANL?..."

Yes.

North Korea is now testing missle launches from submerged submarines, and may according to public sources, have some small number of packages of fissile material that point toward a weapons development program.

They may have cooperated with middle eastern states in some aspects of advancing this technology.

A resurgent nationalist Russia is upgrading their conventional and strategic delivery systems with next generation systems and today have somewhere around 1500 proved warheads deployed, and perhaps thousands in reserve. Meanwhile they have disruptors in Urkraine and active insugencies in five other neighboring countries. Other NATO neighbors and neutrals Finland and Sweden have responded by conducting modest scale manuavers including anti-air, counter insurgency, anti-invasion and antisubmarine operations in national soveriegn waters. Russia and former soviet states have, to their credit, been a partner in preventing the escalation of state conflicts to stragetic systems for the last 65 years.

Sunni Pashtun Pakistan has a modest number of nuclear warheads and delivery systems (thank you Dr. Kahna and Framatone). They have some level of treaty agreement with religious ally, but tribal competitor Arab Saudi Arabia, that may include strateric support. Saudi leaders are wahabi or tolerate wahabi zealots. The 9/11 bombers were Wahabi Sunnis from Saudi Arabia. ISIL zealots are Sunni. Does this association trouble you as much as it troubles me?

Then there's Iran, on their way. Shia and Persian, they are religious an tribal rivals to the Arabs throughout the world and have been continuously for 1300 years.

All of the above folks are in hegemonic competition in Syria and Iraq.

Then there is Israel, India and the grouwing an unknown size of China's arsenal. Including the most extensive interconnected deep tunnel network in the world. These groups seem somewhat saner than the folks above. As do our independant nuclear armed allies, and Japan who has the means, material and technology, but so far, little demonstrated interest in an independant stockpile. By the way, Muslims and Hindus are 1000 year old enemies, with a history of large scale-warfare, and many current border skimishs over mutually claimed territory.

Did former soviet states return all devices and materials? What of former state efforts that were on their way in the 50s and then stopped? Does a non-state player have the ability to independently develop something dangerous?

And how old can our stockpile become before we realize that it cant age without redesigns, nor can the technologists retains skills without underground testing.

So unless the Lord grants our bedtime prayer to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle, perhaps as a Mother's Day answer to your prayer?, it is likely the world will remain a large, dispersed, uncertain and complicated network of nuclear arsenels of various levels of ability and development.

Can Boehner and Pelosi marshall the resources to manage these affairs of state without LANL?

LANL and LLNL are one of the teams necessary to protect ourselves from the unwanted future. Picture the US operating for long in a world without LANL. They would be outfoxed and outflanked within 30 years.

If you have the boomers, you need the thinkers.

Anonymous said...

...Are we there yet? Do we really need LANL?..."

Yes.

Do we (or the taxpayers and country) need LANS or LLNL?

No!

Have the industrial partners in these LLCs really done anything to improve operations at either LANL or LLNL? Anything other than sending a few carpetbagging managers (Russo, Conner, Henderson, etc) to make cosmetic changes and take credit for the positives and blame lower level employees for the negatives.

Are their ideas (Six Sigma, 7 Habits, Work Control, etc) and parent company reviews really worth $70 million (LANS) or $40 million (LLNS) a year?

For example, Bechtel gets around $20 million a year at LLNL as part of LLNS. The Deputy Director Tom Gioconda is a Bechtel guy. I like him - but are we really saying the Lab (aka UC) couldn't have hired him directly for a $300K a year salary.

If LLNS went away today, and everyone at LLNL stayed in place - from Director Goldstien on down - and continued doing their jobs as usual. I don't think there would be a single drop off in Lab performance of either mission work or operations. None. Yet the Lab would have around $35 or $40 million more in its overhead budget for improving the Lab - instead of sending this money to the LLC.

Anonymous said...

"...Yet the Lab would have around $35 or $40 million more in its overhead budget for improving the Lab - instead of sending this money to the LLC..."

The UC/LLNL tax exempt status was a big loss $$$.

Anonymous said...

May 9, 2015 at 8:48 AM

You still don't seem to get it that there is no "LLNL" except for a bunch of land, buildingss, and facilities owned by the federal government. All "LLNL" employees actually work for LLNS. If LLNS "goes away," there are no employees either, unless a new contractor is chosen and decides to hire all the ex-LLNS employees. I well remember getting a job offer in writing from LANS when UC "went away." UC was very good at making all their employees at LLNL (and LANL) believe that they were LLNL employees, when they were not.

Anonymous said...

May 9, 2015 at 12:15 PM,

I fully realize that LLNL is a GOCO run by a contract (first UC now LLNS) and not a standalone legal entity. You can't sue LLNL in court - you have to either sue LLNS (the operating contractor) or federal government (if it allows it by waiving sovereign immunity) or sometimes both.

My point is that the current contractor - LLNS LLC - provides little actual value to LLNL. Especially with a management fee of 3.5%, which is significantly higher than most other GOCO FFRDCs (Sandia, ORNL, ANL, BNL, PNL, LBNL, JPL, Lincoln Lab) where it is just 1% to 1.5% of annual budget.

Contract 44, and the RFP for LLNL basically tells LLNS how to manage LLNL and what is allowed. Add in oppressive and intrusive DOE site office micromanagement, not to mention super prescriptive DOE Orders and code of federal regulations applicable to DOE contractors - there is very little real decision making left to the LLC, let along Lab management.

Did you know that UC got a waiver for LBNL (with DOE Office of Science support) from having to comply with the rule that DOE GOCO M&O contractors could no longer give new employees a pensions? No way LLNS would get one from NNSA/LFO - who just love crawling through LLNL's (yes - LLNS) human resources and benefits programs. Parney basically got fired because he had the nerve to act like lab employees actually worked from him and that he was the President of LLNS and could speak his mind to Congress when asked a question.

How about this for a crazy idea - what if all 6500 LLNS employees decided to form a company to bid on the LLNL contract. No industrial parent companies as shell fronts, not even UC. Just a company where all 6500 employees are the only shareholders. Heck, even keep Goldstein and Gioconda as President and Vice President of the new company. The new company could sign MOUs with UC for research interactions support and hire Bechtel or URS to run a few speciiic operations (for a reasonable compensation based on clear deliverables). Yes its a dream - never done before on a grand scale at a national lab... sort of like building the first atomic bomb. Do you think this company could do any worst than LLNS running LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Do you think this company could do any worst than LLNS running LLNL.

May 9, 2015 at 2:32 PM

The only thing worse that LLNS running LLNL, is LANS running LLNS.

Anonymous said...

How about this for a crazy idea - what if all 6500 LLNS employees decided to form a company to bid on the LLNL contract. No industrial parent companies as shell fronts, not even UC. Just a company where all 6500 employees are the only shareholders.

May 9, 2015 at 2:32 PM

Yeah, that is indeed a crazy idea. How do "6500 employees" "form a company"?? Someone has to take on all the legal liabilities of a company, then convince some state authority to grant them some kind of business license (based on what?), then convince DOE/NNSA that this new "company" has the experience, the credentials, and the financial backing and security to run an enterprise such as LLNL. Keep dreaming - maybe one day you'll wake up.

Anonymous said...

"...Yeah, that is indeed a crazy idea. How do "6500 employees" "form a company"??..."

SWA has ~13% employee ownership.

"...Someone has to take on all the legal liabilities of a company..."

LANSLLNS is backed by DOE/NNSA.

".. then convince DOE/NNSA that this new "company" has the experience, the credentials, and the financial backing and security to run an enterprise such as LLNL..."

Precisely why we are having this discussion. Many are "convinced" LANSLLNS is an expensive failure in motion.

Anonymous said...

LANS is in a unique position. Increasingly, they look likely to disappear when the contract comes up for (early) bidding, but what organization on the planet would want to step up and take over managing LANL? If they are bad enough, they get the renewal by default.

Anonymous said...

May 9, 2015 at 9:53 PM

Realizing that there's zero chance of LLNS employees at LLNL organizing and forming a company to bid on the LLNL M&O contract, here's an interesting list of the top 100 employee owned companies in the country...

http://www.nceo.org/articles/employee-ownership-100

A couple even have ties to DOE sites; CH2M Hill (26,000 employees) works at several DOE sites and has been part of LLCs running some DOE sites, Parsons Engineering (15,000) which was the A&E firm on NIF, Austin Industries (5,600) construction projects at LANL. Both Parsons and Austin are 100% employee owned.

Anonymous said...

How are the 9 LANS employees injured in the LANSE incident doing? Root causes determined yet?

Anonymous said...

LANSLLNS Management is working overtime to control the release of such information.

Anonymous said...

Not quite. HIPPA law controls the release of such information.

Anonymous said...

"...LANSLLNS Management is working overtime to control the release of such information..."

Understood. I wondering if this most recent LANSCE tragedy is now past the DOE tipping point to act.

Anonymous said...

How are the 9 LANS employees injured in the LANSE incident doing? Root causes determined yet?

May 12, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Work was being conducted over the weekend. There were three identical looking ~ 12 kV substation electrical boxes. Worker opened the wrong box to clean which was "live". He sprayed conductive "cleaner", electrical discharge, worker's clothes caught on fire. Another worker (a woman) was able to extinguish fire on him. Worker air lifted to Albuquerque with major burns to face and upper torso. Some issues related to whether the worker was an "unqualified" electrical worker or "lineman".

Anyone care to elaborate or clarify? This is what were told out at TA-55.

Anonymous said...

Work was being conducted over the weekend. There were three identical looking ~ 12 kV substation electrical boxes. Worker opened the wrong box to clean which was "live". He sprayed conductive "cleaner", electrical discharge, worker's clothes caught on fire. Another worker (a woman) was able to extinguish fire on him. Worker air lifted to Albuquerque with major burns to face and upper torso. Some issues related to whether the worker was an "unqualified" electrical worker or "lineman".

May 12, 2015 at 5:19 PM

Was this a part of recent introduction of periodic "breaker maintenance" ?

Anonymous said...

How are the injured LANSCE workers doing? Silence...

Anonymous said...

I worked at LANL in Work Control for years and the Work Control Manager should be responsible for his work control teams. In all the years I worked there, he had one all department meeting. He is a foul mouth useless Manager. Several Planners do not even come from a Mechanical or Electrical background but are writing work steps for the craft to work. Every FOD has a different way of preparing the work packages. The Superintendents are so buried with several jobs so they are not in the field. LANL has been a mess since LANS took them over. NNSA need to clean house and put real managers in the positions needed to change the quick descending of the labs.

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