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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, July 28, 2015

De-privatizing the Labs

By Jeff Colvin

SPSE-UPTE Legislative Director and UPTE Executive Vice President

In February 2014 a sealed drum containing low-level radioactive waste that was shipped from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a radioactive waste underground repository near Carlsbad, New Mexico, caught fire and exploded, exposing some 23 workers to radioactive contamination. The accident closed WIPP, and the whole facility remains closed to this day.

Another consequence of the WIPP accident, in addition to the large fine levied against Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), the private company that manages LANL, was the poor performance rating that LANS received from the Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and having one year lopped off the management contract. Thus, the contract that LANS has to manage the laboratory for DOE/NNSA now expires 30 September 2017.

If no further contract extensions are awarded (a distinct possibility, especially since several serious electrical accidents have occurred recently, one leading to a serious injury and the most recent leading to a work stand-down at several technical sites), then the contract may be re-bid. If that happens the whole process, which starts with writing a Request for Proposal (RFP) could begin as early as this Fall with notification to LANS. Although the LLNS contract to manage our lab here in Livermore expires at a later date, there is sure to be political pressure to re-bid that contract also, especially since LANS and LLNS are in essence the same corporate entity with the same board of directors.

If the lab management contracts are to be re-bid, we want it done right this time. University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) has believed for a long time that the real problems plaguing both labs stem from careerism and profiteering by corporate management, leading to everything from the failures to meet unrealistic programmatic goals set to earn the maximum management bonus at LLNL to the WIPP accident at LANL. These issues were discussed at a public forum UPTE leaders held in Los Alamos last spring.

At the forum, UPTE announced the launch of a new RFP Committee to put together a plan to influence the RFP process. UPTE’s RFP Committee has now expanded to include participants from both Labs, and is holding monthly meetings via conference call. Our success is tied to engaging as much of the workforce as we can at both labs. Accordingly, we urge you to join UPTE (if you are not already a member), and participate in the work of the RFP Committee. We want to hear your ideas and comments. To join us please contact either Eileen Montano of SPSE-UPTE LLNL at or 925-449-4846 or Richard Espinosa of UPTE-LANL at or 505-603-9034.

Monday, July 27, 2015

There is a list of major problems where lax NNSA oversight was blamed for the issue, most of them at LANL. So, is the solution to have stronger oversight?

Just what IS going on at LANL?

What is going on – or isn’t – at Los Alamos National Laboratory?

That’s the gut reaction to a new government report that slams the nuclear weapons lab for its lack of nuclear safety compliance.

Certainly science and nuclear defense work is being done. After all, that’s what the lab is supposed to do.

But at what risks to workers, the public and the nation?

Reports of bureaucratic red tape, project delays, budget overruns and outright incompetence are nothing new for the northern New Mexico lab (a worker writing down “organic” kitty litter instead of “inorganic” litter leading to a radiation release and the indefinite shutdown of WIPP, the nation’s only nuclear waste repository, immediately comes to mind).

But a safety audit by the Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General lays out serious ongoing issues the lab seems to be taking way too long – in some cases years – to address.


The report gives LANL credit for making progress in some safety areas, and a DOE response accompanying the audit notes the lab’s contract operator, Los Alamos National Security LLC, has made management changes “to affect a culture change that is needed to address systemic weaknesses.”

Good to know, because LANL’s culture has needed a makeover for years.

U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for what appears to be lackadaisical efforts to get up to full speed in fulfilling the lab’s national security mission.

With daily terrorist threats and a growing global political powder keg, the U.S. needs to know its nuclear arsenal is up to snuff as a key deterrent to those who would harm us.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Working at LLNL

How do you like working at the lab? Pros & Cons?

Investigation sought

Legal papers served in Washington asked Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to investigate “substantial and specific danger to employees or to public health or safety” due to “technical failure and incidents” at the High Explosive Application Facility (HEAF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

According to attorney Tony Bothwell, his client Anthony T. Rivera, a 28-year veteran of the lab, said he was harassed and fired in October 2013, after reporting the hazards and other violations to lab management. Bothwell added, the Department of Energy Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) dragged out his case until March 2015 when it said it would not investigate. Rivera asks Secretary Munoz to either order reinstatement and compensatory damages or order OHA to conduct an investigation and hearing on the matter.

A California administrative judge who conducted a hearing found that lab management gave false reasons for firing Rivera.

Rivera appealed to the Secretary of Energy pursuant to whistleblower protection provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 C.F.R. Part 708."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Moses departs

Ed Moses departs from Giant Magellan Telescope Organization:

The GMTO Board would like you to know that, effective immediately, Dr. Ed Moses
is on leave for substantial and significant family matters
that require his attention.

Dr. Moses will not return to GMTO. The GMTO Board thanks Dr. Moses for his
important service to the GMTO.

The GMTO Board has appointed Dr. Pat McCarthy as interim President and looks
forward to his leadership of the GMTO project.

A public statement will be made at a later date.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Office of Inspector General report on LANL

The Office of Inspector General has issued a report titled “Follow-up on Nuclear Safety:  Safety Basis and Quality Assurance at the Los Alamos National Laboratory," (DOE/IG-0941).

This report is now available for viewing and can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Protect your Head!

By order of management

"As part of LLNL's commitment to safety..." management will treat you like baby. 

6 years and running. 

and on a complete unrelated topic of babying of America:

More financial waste by Sandia

Here's more financial waste by Sandia, with taxpayers footing the bill (confirmed by DOE):

and here's another from an old post:

From the Sandia article itself:

" Tim Shepodd (8223) liked the moniker and agreed to call it the “chili cookoff.” But there was no chili involved, and the only “cooking” had to do with the kind of chemicals not usually found on Sandia grounds. "

For profit LLCs and waste

Under the for-profit LLCs, the NNSA weapon labs have become enormous black holes that suck in billions of dollars in funding but produce little in the way of productive value. Here's yet another example:

Audit: Nuclear lab lets safety gaps languish for years 

The Center for Public Integrity July 22nd, 2015

An obscure facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory for nine years provided vital scientific data about a critical gas used in America’s arsenal of nuclear weapons, until it was shuttered four years ago due to a raft of safety problems that have stubbornly persisted.

The Energy Department, which oversees and finances the lab’s work, has poured tens of millions of dollars into fixing the problems, but so far, the expenditures haven’t borne much fruit. The facility – known as the Weapons Engineering Tritium Facility – is “vital” to the lab’s national security mission, but it remains closed, the department’s inspector general said in a report released July 20.

In fact, Los Alamos managers have been unable – after seven years of effort – even to prepare a sound analysis of the site’s safety hazards and the steps being taken to ensure that the radioactive gas at issue does not leak or explode and harm either workers or those living nearby, according to the DOE report.

Note from doobydew: the link provided is bad.

TCP1 COLA for 2015.

Did anyone see an announcement of the 2015 COLA? Either I am looking in the wrong places or LLNS pension managers need a satisfactory stakeholder communication strategy...some any 3rd year MBA candidate is taught in corporate ethics.
C'mon LLNS.

Meanwhile I got 1.7%. Can I verify if it correct? Nope. Why? LLNS aint saying.

What a complete difference from customer oriented, transparent UCRS, that announced adjustments three months before implementation.

Even retired Tarter, Miller Anastasio And Mara care about this. S'up?

Yet another LANL report from the IG

However, LANL continued to have problems in fully implementing a number of critical nuclear safety management requirements. This contributed to multiple safety basis iterations and lengthy update, review, and approval processes. Specifically, LANL had not always developed safety basis documents that met NNSA's expectations to ensure that nuclear hazards had been fully identified and that mitigation controls had been implemented; resolved issues identified in the annual updates to the safety bases for two nuclear facilities; and resolved significant and long-standing nuclear safety deficiencies.

We found that LANL had not effectively implemented its Safety Basis Improvement Plan, which was designed to enable LANL to build upon lessons learned and assessment findings. In addition, nuclear safety deficiencies were not always resolved because corrective actions were not effectively designed to prevent recurrence. Further improvements in nuclear safety are essential if the Department is to be in a position to ensure workers and the public that safety risks associated with nuclear facility operations have been effectively mitigated.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Women should get more money

Accident Investigation Team Report


From:  Charles F. McMillan

Date: July 13, 2015

Subject: Release of Joint Accident Investigation Team Report – Arc-flash Event

On May 3, 2015, a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) employee was seriously injured by an arc-flash while doing preventive maintenance work at an electrical substation that supports Technical Area 53 (TA-53). I am pleased to report that the employee has been released from the hospital, although he has not returned to work. I hope you will continue to extend your support and best wishes as he progresses through the recovery process.

Immediately after the incident, a Joint Accident Investigation Team (JAIT) comprised of personnel from LANL, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) began investigating the root causes of the accident. The JAIT will release its report soon. The report outlines 13 Judgments of Need (JONs) that are being addressed. The findings in the report are intended to help prevent similar accidents here and at other national laboratories in the future. I commend the JAIT for its thorough and thoughtful work. I encourage every employee to read the JAIT report so that we may all learn and benefit from it.

In summary, the report underscores that our Laboratory has an Integrated Safety Management (ISM) process that can help us all do our work safely; but the report points out that, in the broadest sense, we may not be adequately and consistently implementing these processes. Specifically, with regard to the May 3 arc-flash accident, we did not adequately consider the potential hazards that arose from a change in work scope; we did not establish physical barriers; we did not consistently require all electrical workers to validate zero voltage; and some workers were not wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

As an immediate result of the accident, interim guidance for electrical work was issued even as the JAIT was conducting its investigation. The Laboratory is taking further actions to ensure that our ISM processes are being appropriately implemented—with specific focus on medium and high-hazard operations—and that our work planning takes into account the possibility of intentional or unintentional changes to work scope.

There is nothing more important than the safety and security of every employee at the Laboratory. I have met with Laboratory managers to ensure that this value is shared and acknowledged in every organization across the Laboratory. As you know, we initiated a requirement for ongoing, interactive engagements in all work areas by managers, from the PAD-level to the group level. These manager engagements will support employees by creating opportunities for dialogue and hands-on interactions. Such interactions can enable our safety processes to account for hazards and risks associated with the job, including unforeseen circumstances such as human error, situational awareness, or equipment failure. These engagements will also help employees fully understand the work they are performing and the hazards they face, and that ISM processes are appropriate and will be adequately implemented. Perhaps most important of all, these interactions will underscore that every Laboratory worker has the authority and responsibility to stop work if they see something that is potentially unsafe, or believe that some aspect of the work is unsafe. This authority and responsibility extends to any area of the Laboratory, not just areas where a worker might normally work.

The JAIT report reminds us that even robust safety processes may not be effective if they are not properly implemented. I am confident that the Laboratory has a committed, talented workforce that can work together to place our safety, security, and operational performance on par with our science and mission delivery. Thank you for your continued commitment to a safe and secure workplace.

Second Data Breach

OPM Announces More Than 21 Million Affected by Second Data Breach

The National Journal, July 9th 2015

July 9, 2015 More than 21 million Social Security numbers were compromised in a breach that affected a database of sensitive information on federal employees held by the Office of Personnel Management, the agency announced Thursday.

That number is in addition to the 4.2 million Social Security numbers that were compromised in another data breach at OPM that was made public in June. Officials have privately linked both intrusions to China.

Of the 21.5 million records that were stolen, 19.7 million belonged to individuals who had undergone background investigations, OPM said. The remaining 1.8 million records belonged to other individuals, mostly applicants' families.

The records that were compromised include detailed, sensitive background information, such as employment history, relatives, addresses, and any past drug abuse or emotional disorders. OPM said 1.1 million of the compromised files also included fingerprints.

Some of the files in the compromised database also include "residency and educational history; employment history; information about immediate family and other personal and business acquaintances; health, criminal and financial history; and other details," OPM said.

Also included in the database is information from background investigations, and usernames and passwords that applicants used to fill out investigation forms. And although separate systems that store health, financial, and payroll information do not appear to have been compromised, the agency says some mental health and financial information is included in the security clearance files that were affected by the hack.

Besides the 21.5 million individuals who had their Social Security information stolen, OPM says others' identifying information—like their names, addresses, and dates of birth—were also compromised.

OPM will provide credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to the 21.5 million individuals whose Social Security numbers were stolen, but those individuals will be responsible for disseminating information to other people they may have listed on their background check forms. Those people, whom the government will not contact directly, will not have access to government-bought identity protection services.

The hack that resulted in the loss of these records began in May 2014, according to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta's testimony before Congress. It was not discovered until May 2015.

A security update applied by OPM and the Department of Homeland Security in January 2015 ended the bulk of the data extraction, according to congressional testimony from Andy Ozment, assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS, even though the breach would not be discovered for months.

OPM said Thursday that individuals who underwent background investigations in or after the year 2000 are "highly likely" to have had their information compromised in the breach. (This includes both new applicants and employees that were subject to a "periodic reinvestigation" during that time.) But those who were investigated before 2000 may also have been affected...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Don't argue with data!

Women are better than men

- With male managers and male employees, engagement level is 25%.
- With female managers and male employees, engagement level is 29%.
- With male managers and female employees, engagement level is 31%.
- With female managers and female employees, engagement level is 35%.

Gallup’s overall conclusion? “Organizations should hire and promote more female managers. Female managers in the U.S. exceed male managers at meeting employees’ essential workplace requirements.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lobbying with taxpayers' money

The LANS LANSCE accident review?

Over 2 months have passed since the LANS LANSCE accident occurred.
Where is the "lessons learned" report to help prevent a repeat of this tragedy?



Let the Greek mess be a lesson to those who think that rules, transparency, and laws are fungible by emotion based arguments.

Example: Livermore hires the best and the brightest, but not really
Example: Livermore promotes the best candidate regardless of gender, but not really
Example: LDRD projects are chosen based on merit, but not really
Example: Crossing borders is illegal, but not really
Example: Greek taxes need to be paid along with austerity, but not really
Example: Do what cops say, but not really (and we're surprised when you don't , bad things happen)

Get Educated.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fierce lobbying campaign for Sandia contract

An inspector general report once meant for Department of Energy eyes only sheds more light on a fierce lobbying campaign for the contract to run Sandia National Laboratories.

The special inquiry report, obtained by Greenwire under the Freedom of Information Act, fleshes out allegations that Sandia Corp., the DOE contractor that runs the New Mexico-based labs, used federal funds to influence the government's contract extension for the company.

Sandia Corp. is a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. The company first won the contract in 1993, which has since been extended several times. The latest extension came in March 2014 for another two years, with the department planning to open the contract for competitive bids after that.

The Sandia labs contract is worth at least $2.4 billion a year. The contractor wasn't ready to lose that kind of money, according to the IG.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Greeks vote "no"

The Greeks vote no; now they will suffer. It is just like all you people at the lab that 
want another contract change it will only get worse.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The blow-up, the clean-up and the latest news from the labs"

Here And There July 1, 2015 Staci Matlock
Today on HERE AND THERE, The State of New Mexico got $73 million from the Federal Energy Department to compensate for Los Alamos Labs filling waste barrels with the wrong stuff, and forcing the shut down the WIPP nuclear waste repository for years. A good deal? For whom? The New Mexican's Staci Matlock on the blow-up, the clean-up and the latest news from the labs.

Are US nuclear weapons engineers really shooting rats off their lunches?

Are US nuclear weapons engineers really shooting rats off their lunches? 
Rep. Thornberry That's what Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said, in a talk at the Atlantic Council on June 23, and he might know, being the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and privy to all manner of top secret information. But he's also a booster for more spending on the nuclear arsenal. So is it true? And if it is, are we talking about guns inside the labs? Who carries the guns? Well, Nukewatch and Peace Farm have filed a Freedom of Information Request to find out.

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