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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, September 29, 2015

More examples of recent LANL security violations

Maybe the next group of managers can get ahead of the problems, but until then bad stories seem to just keep making the press.

What to Do About America's Nuclear Weapons Stockpile

What to Do About America's Nuclear Weapons Stockpile (aka Sandia's Pat Sena Carries a Shotgun)
U.S. News & World Report, Alan Neuhauser

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. – Pat Sena has a routine: He prays with his wife, he reads, he drives his '97 Chevy pickup through Albuquerque's low-slung outskirts to work. Then, at the office until he heads home, he and his team make sure the U.S. can still – at any moment – blow up the world.

“The way I think of it, I think of myself at my home, my family in my home. It's a rough neighborhood, there are gang members driving by and drive-by shooters, and I'm sitting out on the porch with a big shotgun, saying, 'Don't attack my family because you'll have to deal with me,’” he says.

Sena is deputy chief engineer of the nuclear Stockpile Systems Center at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, part of a gargantuan desert air base dotted with scrub brush, fuel tanks, tall unmarked buildings and a wooden test track that could have been a prototype for the Coney Island Cyclone.

In the seven decades since Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists blasted the New Mexico desert with the world’s first atomic explosion the morning of July 16, 1945, three labs have maintained, studied and – to the extent they can – tested the nation’s nuclear stockpile: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, Los Alamos outside Santa Fe, and Sandia.

“We do this because we believe in it,” says Michael Bernardin, acting associate director for weapons physics at Los Alamos.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Nuc safety board report

Monthly (July) Site Summary for LLNL by the DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD contains some newsworthy items. Here it is...

TO: Steven A. Stokes, Technical Director
FROM: Matthew P. Duncan, Cognizant Engineer
SUBJECT: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Report for July 2015
August 7, 2015
DNFSB Staff Activity: E. Gibson, M. Duncan, and outside expert R. Green participated in two teleconferences with LLNL, LFO, and subcontractor personnel to discuss the draft Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis update for LLNL.

Safety Basis: Earlier this year, LLNL had discovered that some safety basis calculations used embedded computer code that had not been verified in accordance with LLNL’s software quality assurance requirements or identified on its list of approved safety software. These results triggered a declaration of a potential inadequacy in the safety analysis and a positive unreviewed safety question. As one of the corrective actions, LLNL performed an extent of condition review to comprehensively evaluate all calculations cited in each nuclear facility’s documented safety analysis. This effort uncovered ten additional calculations without the appropriate software quality assurance. Every nuclear facility was affected, with the exception of the Radiography Facility. In general, most were related to structural or seismic analyses. LLNL declared a potential inadequacy in the safety analysis, but does not believe any compensatory measures are required as the calculations were performed using widely distributed software commonly used for engineering applications.

Plutonium Facility: LLNL requested and LFO approved a proposal to modify the fire suppression system and how it is credited in the documented safety analysis. The fire suppression system supplies backup water to the exhaust duct sprays that protect the final HEPA filters from high temperatures during postulated fire scenarios. To increase the amount of firewater available, the 7500 gallon firewater tank will now be used instead of the 2500 gallon tank. The safety class nitrogen skid is no longer considered necessary and will be taken out of service. As a condition of approval, LFO required that the designation of alarms related to pressure in the firewater tank be upgraded to “defense-in-depth equipment important to safety.”
While preforming a weekly surveillance for the room ventilation system, LLNL determined that the differential pressure between a laboratory room and the corridor was outside of the allowable range per the Technical Safety Requirements. The room is currently being used for waste container storage. LLNL entered the appropriate limiting condition for operation and rebalanced the system.

Hardened Engineering Test Building: LLNL completed installation of a new electron beam welder. The current scope of operations prohibits welding items containing radioactive material. LLNL sent a request to LFO to allow welding items containing depleted uranium. LFO is evaluating the proposal.

Waste Storage Facilities: Late last month, LLNL declared a potential inadequacy in the safety analysis for pipe overpack containers. This month, LLNL determined that it is a positive unreviewed safety question.


USA Today -- September 10, 2015
by Steve Reilly

Cyber attackers successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, according to a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY.

Incident reports submitted by federal officials and contractors since late 2010 to the Energy Department's Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center shows a near-consistent barrage of attempts to breach the security of critical information systems that contain sensitive data about the nation's power grid, nuclear weapons stockpile and energy labs.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, show DOE components reported a total of 1,131 cyberattacks over a 48-month period ending in October 2014. Of those attempted cyber intrusions, 159 were successful.

"The potential for an adversary to disrupt, shut down (power systems), or worse … is real here," said Scott White, Professor of Homeland Security and Security Management and Director of the Computing Security and Technology program at Drexel University. "It's absolutely real."

Energy Department officials would not say whether any sensitive data related to the operation and security of the nation's power grid or nuclear weapons stockpile was accessed or stolen in any of the attacks, or whether foreign governments are believed to have been involved.

"DOE does not comment on ongoing investigations or possible attributions of malicious activity," Energy Department spokesman Andrew Gumbiner said in a statement.

In all cases of malicious cybersecurity activity, Gumbiner said the Energy Department "seeks to identify indicators of compromise and other cybersecurity relevant information, which it then shares broadly amongst all DOE labs, plants, and sites as well as within the entire federal government."

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Energy Department responsible for managing and securing the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, experienced 19 successful attacks during the four-year period, records show.

While information on the specific nature of the attacks was redacted from the records prior to being released, numerous Energy Department cybersecurity vulnerabilities have been identified in recent years by the department's Office of Inspector General, an independent watchdog agency.

After a cyber attack in 2013 resulted in unauthorized access to personally identifying information for more than 104,000 Energy Department employees and contractors, auditors noted "unclear lines of responsibility" and "lack of awareness by responsible officials." In an audit report released in October of last year, the Inspector General found 41 Energy Department servers and 14 workstations "were configured with default or easily guessed passwords."

Was there any more news about the Ed Moses Giant Magellan Telescope fiasco?

This is all I have heard.

Ed Moses, former principal associate director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has stepped down as president of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization “to deal with family matters.”

The organization announced Moses’s departure after rumors had been circulating in the Livermore area for several days, including emails and a short article in the blog, “LLNL the true story,” and national media were starting to inquire.

From LLNL BLog
"Ed did real and lasting damage to GMT in his short time there."

Within the first three months of Eds arrival three of the original GMT staff had left. Two other staff members that had been with GMT for four years also left. Some retired but all left due to changes Ed instituted that showed little respect for the GMT staff or any understanding of telescope design or observatory operations.

The experience lost will be hard to replace as these people each had perhaps 20 years of experience in telescope design and construction and had a deep understating of the design and proposed operations of GMT.

The changes to the telescope and operations plan that Ed produced will need extensive review if they are kept. The original design had already been through a number of reviews.

IG finds problems

IG finds problems in nanoscale materials safety

Although several issues were found at various DoE sites, LANL stands out for having the most problems. Looks like there is no end for all the bad press these days.

LANL's effectiveness

Another Excellent report on LANL's Effectivness that is Essential reading for all staff

See, some employees are capable of following Charlie's wise leadership.

Legacy cleanup contract

So much for getting rid of EM work at LANL.

Same crew in charge

Same crew in charge, just a new way to pay them. 

Close WIPP with a waste drum explosion = new contract for environmental cleanup at LANL.

Near fatality at LANCE = new contract science at LANL?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Devastating assessment of NIF in MIT Technology review:

Exhibit A in this counterargument could be the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. With close to $10 billion spent and no tangible results in sight, the Ignition Facility, as Bill Sweet wrote in IEEE Spectrum magazine in 2012, is “the mother of all boondoggles.” Yet it trundles along, consuming hundreds of millions of dollars and countless scientist-hours each year, bringing delight to its congressional supporters but not much to anyone else.

Perhaps "high-floor break even" was a mistake?

All your cleared employee fingerprints belong to us!

OPM Now Admits 5.6m Feds’ Fingerprints Were Stolen By Hackers (Wired, Sept 23, 2015)

On Wednesday, the Office of Personnel Management admitted that the number of federal employees’ fingerprints compromised in the massive breach of its servers revealed over the summer has grown from 1.1 million to 5.6 million. OPM, which serves as a sort of human resources department for the federal government, didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment on who exactly those fingerprints belong to within the federal government. But OPM had previously confirmed that the data of 21.5 million federal employees was potentially compromised by the hack—which likely originated in China—and that those victims included intelligence and military employees with security clearances.


Why has the federal government done almost NOTHING to help protect those who had their personal data stolen because of the lax cyber-security standards of the OPM? This is a major failure on the part of our federal government.

Contract extension?

If the Los Alamos field office recommends a contract extension, what does that say about the safety culture? In a year when there was a near miss electrical accident, awarding extra years sends a strong message about how NNSA views safety. Will all their good words be erased by a single action?

Anonymous said...
"...If the Los Alamos field office recommends a contract extension, what does that say about the safety culture? In a year when there was a near miss electrical accident..."

"NEAR MISS — near misses describe incidents where, given a slight shift in time or distance, injury, ill-health or damage easily could have occurred, but didn't."

The LANS LANSCE incident was NOT a "near miss" since significant human injury and property damage DID occur.

Are the NNSA Field Office staff liable?

Are the NNSA Field Office staff liable for off the mark Contractor performance evaluations,
failures, or unlawful Contractor activities (Sandia, LANS, etc.)?

"...NNSA maintains seven field offices that are responsible for day-to-day oversight of the activities at each site..."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
After the whole illegal lobbying scandal, it shows that Sandia is just full of criminals, or even worse, mediocrity. Maybe they really just didn't know better - someone didn't tell them that kind of bribery is illegal! Lesson learned. It's all just caused by a vast left-wing conspiracy orchestrated by the other labs anyways, to hassle Sandia, right? Sandia is just the leper child getting picked on and being bullied. Waa waaaa!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

U.S. Drops Charges That Professor Shared Technology With China -part 2

U.S. Drops Charges That Professor Shared Technology With China -part 2

U.S. Drops Charges That Professor Shared Technology With China -part 1

U.S. Drops Charges That Professor Shared Technology With China -part 1

UC regents discuss the status of the Labs

For those who missed it, UC Regents meeting today to discuss the status of the Labs. Norm Pattiz indicated he was happy to get rid of the Environmental work at LANL, "no interesting science here" He doesn't know waste is accumulating at TA-55 and is directly tied to science. He said "UC took a punch in the face" over the exploding drum at WIPP. No remorse or lessons-learned. Norm was wearing his 1000 caret diamond ring, Alexander Price suit, and drove off in his Austin Healy. The dwit nauseates me.

Anonymous said...
"UC 'running' LANL is what led to the current mess."

How? UC ran the labs just fine until 1999 with Wen Ho Lee, and even then UC was not to blame. The mess at the labs lies squarely at the greedy and corrupt politicians who where after money for the overlord corporations. In the long run this will destroy the labs and the country and it looks like we have we have the time limit for what is the long run. Hey look on the bright side a huge amount of money was made for certain people.

Talk that LANS will be gone shortly

More talk that LANS will be gone shortly and that there will be an interim entity
runing LANL (UC?) for a year before the next contract bid. It is that bad for LANS.
September 16, 2015 at 8:08 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
UC 'running' LANL is what led to the current mess.
September 16, 2015 at 11:44 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
No, Pete Dominici is what led to the current mess.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Criminal charges still on the table for Sandia lobbying

Criminal charges still on the table for Sandia lobbying, according to TIME magazine!

Notice of violation

Nuclear Safety Enforcement Preliminary Notice of Violation issued to Los Alamos National Security, LLC for programmatic deficiencies in the nuclear practicality safety program at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
Never stops......

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Preliminary notice of violation for Nevada explosion

The National Nuclear Security Administration has issued a preliminary notice of violation (PNOV) to the contractor at the Nevada National Security Site in connection with a June 13, 2014 chemical explosion at the Nonproliferation Test and Evaluation Complex. Two workers were injured in the incident. According to the Aug. 25 letter to Raymond Juzaitis, president of National Security Technologies LLC., NNSA Administrator Frank G. Klotz, said the federal agency “considers the factors that led to the explosion to be of high safety significance.”

“The drum explosion and expelled steel shrapnel had the potential to cause a fatality or more serious physical harm to workers,” Klotz wrote.

The PNOV cites four Severity Level I violations and one Severity Level II violation. The NNSA, according to Klotz’ letter, reduced the contractor’s fee by $2.05 million for the performance period in which the accident occurred. Therefore, he said, the NNSA is not proposing additional civil penalties.

The Nevada contractor is required to submit a response within 30 days of the letter.

This entry was posted in NNSA on September 9, 2015 by Frank Munger.

Hey Sandia folks!

Hey Sandia folks: Did anyone read the e-mail that the SNL director sent to everyone about the illegal lobbying scandal? Was it just me, or did that sound so insincere?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

More violations at LANL!

LANL admits to over 200 new additional waste handling violations

This new story, on top of the recent near-fatal LANCE electrical accident, should factor heavily in any contract considerations.
Anonymous said...

The reason LANS self reports is that they cannot be sued. "Our beliefs our values"
Anonymous said...
This new story, on top of the recent near-fatal LANCE electrical accident, should factor heavily in any contract considerations.

September 6, 2015 at 7:56 AM

Now McMillan has the DOE manager (Kim Dave Lebak) snookered. Will Congress please come in and shut this place down, it's being run like the Chicago mob ala Corruption and deception.
Anonymous said...

"An extensive review at one of the nation’s premier federal laboratories has turned up violations in how the lab handled hundreds of containers of radioactive waste over the past decade.

The latest revelations are on top of the permit violations Los Alamos National Laboratory first reported last year in the wake of a radiation release at the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southern New Mexico."

Charlie's "Be Essential" Pontification

Charlie's "Be Essential" Pontification

From: Charlie McMillan
To: LANS Employees
SUBJECT: The Words ‘effectiveness’ and ‘excellence’ in Our Beliefs

As the Los Alamos Leadership Team and I have been sharing the Los Alamos Purpose Statement across the Laboratory, a question has come up regarding our choice of words in our belief: “Delivering mission success through operational effectiveness and scientific excellence.” Some have asked, why did we specifically choose to use both effectiveness and excellence? The answer is that the leadership team and I deliberately chose both words.

“Excellence” means to be the best of a kind, to be top-tier; it has a comparative/competitive connotation. Because our scientific and programmatic work is often competitive in nature, excellence is what we expect when we compare ourselves to what others are doing—whether it be at other labs or in the academic community. Excellence is what is required to win in the competitive environment we face. “Excellence” is relative to what others are doing and implies a condition that will certainly change with time.

“Effective,” on the other hand, means to produce the outcome that is necessary or needed. Our operational focus is on enabling our mission and protecting our people and the Laboratory. This requires that we produce specific, effective, and sustainable results. Often, the ways in which we do things here at Los Alamos are not even comparable to the processes at other labs, because the needs and expectations of each lab differ. Our operations must produce the results that we need independent of comparison or competition with others.

At the individual level, both excellence and effectiveness require that we always do our best—be Essential.
Anonymous said...
McMillan needs to learn some basics on honesty and credibility. He just cost NNSA $67M on the shutdown of WIPP and has a LANL employee suffering from third-degree burns from an electrocution now he's talking about excellence and effectiveness? McMillan can't be for real is he; doesn't he have a conscious?
Anonymous said...
Dear Charlie,

Thank you for reciting Webster's Dictionary on "excellence" and "effectiveness". Now walk the talk. Oh, and be essential too!

Sincerely, LANS Employees

Anonymous said...
Notice how McMillan never uses Operations and Excellence in the same sentence. Because he knows it will never happen at LANL, never has never will. Smart guy.
Anonymous said...
LANS is obviously in full panic mode now. Expect this kind of floundering to continue until they are fired. It will get weirder and weirder.
Anonymous said...
"...Excellence” means to be the best of a kind, to be top-tier; it has a comparative/competitive connotation..."

There is nothing wrong with real for profit companies or striving for excellence. LANSLLNS for better or worse is
a "sole source", "best effort" enterprise that pretends they are running with the real for profit risk/reward big dogs.
True excellence is acknowledged by others not compensated for their opinions, that observe a sustained track record
of achievements and operational efficiency. Excellence does not materialize by writing it on a poster, including the
word in meeting talking points, or by waving a "we are excellent" flag. The real story is excellence has been eroding
at the labs for years. What will be the final wake up call?
Anonymous said...
It is ironic that those members of the Laboratory community who consistently impede scientific excellence (DOE, LAO, LANS Senior Management) are the ones to preach to us about the definition. It gets tiresome. Very tiresome.
Anonymous said...

I am not sure what McMillan thinks but most of the managers will tell you off record that they think this whole purpose thing is an absolute fully loaded piece of crap. There are certain divisions that are doing this roll out thing and you can tell the managers who are doing the presentations are just going through the motions because they have to. It is rather sad when your own underling managers are turning on you.
Anonymous said...
There are certain divisions that are doing this roll out thing and you can tell the managers who are doing the presentations are just going through the motions because they have to. It is rather sad when your own underling managers are turning on you.

There are certain divisions that are doing this roll out thing and you can tell the managers who are doing the presentations are just going through the motions because they have to. It is rather sad when your own underling managers are turning on you.

September 5, 2015 at 9:33 AM

The LANS Managers (used car salesmen) will try to sell us (LANS employees) anything for the money they make. Even crap.
September 5, 2015 at 1:33 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor McMillan? You mean rich...very very rich just like all the upper managers. For the kind of money they have made since privatization I bet most of you would willing and happily sell out the lab and go along with anything no matter how harmful,crazy, or dangerous it is.

It funny how the purpose statement talks about "our values", yet managers will go on and on about how the world is different now and that excellence and concepts such as right and wrong are only personal opinions, in the end everything is perception so stop complaining about how LANS runs things since this is how the world really works and since CEO's get paid a lot of money so should the LANS managers, why should it be any different? It is all just a justification for what they have done.

Anonymous said...
"If they are now "off the record" declaiming it, that tells you everything you need to know about their morals and backbone. Suckups, and hypocrites all!"

Is this news? The only way to succeed in management is to suckup, manage up, and never challenge the superiors. Why do you think the higher up you go the more out of touch these guys get? The whole thing is a big echo-chamber of garbage.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What on earth is going on at LANL?

What on earth is going on at LANL? McMillan sent out some bizarre email that no one can understand. The group leaders are puzzled and telling the staff just to ignore this junk. The email was along the lines of, "some people have been asking why we put the words excellence and effectiveness in the purpose statement...the reason those two words were included is because I and the 70 member team wanted to put in these words." McMillan then prattles on about some more utterly obvious points that even the zombies in The Walking Dead already understood years before. What on earth is going on?

I would hazard a guess that lab workers, many of whom went through college, graduate school, possible postdocs, and the interview process were already under the impression that LANL was about excellence and effectiveness, and took that to be a basis for even wanting to work at LANL, LLNL, Sandia or any other DOE lab for that matter. It is not a controversial statement to say that the the thing holding back excellence and effectiveness at LANL is an utterly out of touch, bloated, ineffective, and as some former deputy directors can attest, corrupt management system. The workforce does not trust the management, the LLC, or the motives of these entities. McMillan's email ends with be Essential? That is not the question; the first thing management needs to consider is Primum non nocere, "first do no harm." Each and every manager should ask themselves "are they hurting LANL and the nation?" They may say that their loyalties are to LANS and not LANL but they should ask themselves that question in any case. After that they can ask if they are essential. Of course this is a crazy question; when they hired us did they not make that decision already? Maybe they should have looked up what real leaders say to inspire their people.

"Every single man in the army plays a vital role. So don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. What if every truck driver decided that he didn't like the whine of the shells and turned yellow and jumped headlong into a ditch? That cowardly bastard could say to himself, 'Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands.' What if every man said that? Where in the hell would we be then? No, thank God, Americans don't say that. Every man does his job. Every man is important. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns, the quartermaster is needed to bring up the food and clothes for us because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last damn man in the mess hall, even the one who boils the water to keep us from getting the GI shits, has a job to do."
-General George S Patton.

Strike at Pantex

Pantex workers (1,100) are going out on strike.

There's concern in NNSA that Y-12 may follow them. The big sticking point is the BenVal calculation requirement that NNSA M&O contractors must utilize to determine allowable benefits.

Criminal charges still on the table for Sandia lobbying

Criminal charges still on the table for Sandia lobbying, according to TIME magazine

The settlement leaves open the door for the Justice Department to file criminal charges associated with the investigation, according to the eight-page formal agreement signed by representatives of Sandia and the Justice Department, which was obtained by the Center.

The troubles uncovered by the inspector general’s investigation could affect Sandia Corporation’s chances if it pursues a contract extension, according to Michelle Laver, spokeswoman for the NNSA. “Federal acquisition regulations require that past performance be looked at as part of any and all contract awards,” she said.

The 10 Worst Things About Lockheed Martin's Alleged Lobbying Fraud

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