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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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Friday, January 29, 2016

What is going on at LLNL?

Does anyone know what the "special event" was at LLNL this week that shut down the central cafeteria for the week and had a stream of local police, highway patrol, and sheriff cars coming in and out of the Lab the last two days?

The LANL cultural problem is starting to seep to other agencies!

Meanwhile, "Hundreds of badges, credentials, cell phones and guns belonging to the Department of Homeland Security employees have been lost or stolen in recent years -- raising serious security concerns about the potential damage these missing items could do in the wrong hands. 

Inventory reports, obtained by the news site Complete Colorado show that over 1,300 badges, 165 firearms and 589 cell phones were lost or stolen over the span of 31 months between 2012 and 2015."

Looks like they need to send this guy to clean up LANL

Looks like they need to send this guy to clean up LANL! Well at least he should be put into NNSA.

For more than two years, the Navy’s intelligence chief has been stuck with a major handicap: He’s not allowed to know any secrets.

Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel.

Worried that Branch was on the verge of being indicted, Navy leaders suspended his access to classified materials. They did the same to one of his deputies, Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy’s director of intelligence operations.

More than 800 days later, neither Branch nor Loveless has been charged. But neither has been cleared, either. Their access to classified information remains blocked.

Sandia in the news!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rise in plutonium production points to more work at Pantex

January 25, 2016 

AMARILLO — A nuclear safety agency has reported the federal Department of Energy recently approved plans to ramp up production of plutonium “pits,” the core that that triggers nuclear weapons, at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which could lead to more warhead refurbishment work at the Pantex Plant northeast of Amarillo.

The plans include a big increase in plutonium capacity at an existing facility at Los Alamos and new laboratory space for pit production, part of plans to get pit production up and rolling.

Accident at UChicago Argonne, LLC

UChicago Argonne, LLC - the M&O contractor for ANL - is being investigated by DOE over an accident that nearly amputated machinist's arm/hand.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Anonymous posting and commenting

So someone went through most of the existing threads today and posted "So what?," Who cares," "It is unimportant." ""Everybody does it," and similar nihilistic c**p. This blog seems to periodically attract such losers, who either are trying to elicit flame-throwing responses, or are seriously disturbed individuals who need help and are accessing the only mechanism they see for getting it. Either way, pathetic. I never thought I'd say it, but maybe it is time for this blog to abandon anonymous posting and require real-name registration. Then we'll see who the true believers are. And exactly who supports the goals here and who is just indulging in digital flatulence.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Prediction: Abandon anonymous postings, and the blog will soon become devoid of content related to misdeeds and management failings at the labs. Fear of retaliation is a powerful silencer.

Friday, January 22, 2016



Anthony T. Rivera, an award-winning senior engineer who blew the whistle on safety violations at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, sued the lab today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. His suit seeks $5 million in damages – and a court order reforming U.S. Department of Energy practices.

Rivera, a 29-year employee with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, charges Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC is liable for wrongful termination in violation of public policy because managers fired him after he disclosed safety violations in the lab’s high explosives test facility and alleged mismanagement.

His suit also seeks damages against two U.S. Department of Energy officials – Kimberly Davis Lebak, the DOE/NNSA site manager at Livermore in 2013, and Shiwali Patel, a DOE Office of Hearings and Appeals investigator who refused to investigate Rivera’s claims.

The suit says Lebak and Patel punished Rivera for exercising his First Amendment freedom of speech when he complained of unsafe practices and management misdeeds.

​Citing the Administrative Procedures Act of 1789, Rivera also asks the court to order DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration and its Office of Hearings and Appeals to reform their operations so as to protect whistleblowers in practice.
​Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC manages the principal U.S. nuclear arms lab.

​Rivera is represented by Atty. Tony Bothwell of San Francisco.
Anonymous said...
The next steps are an out of court settlement for a few hundred $k and we will never hear a thing more about this. Happens all the time at Los Alamos.
Really? Since when is Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC the principal U.S. nuclear arms lab? Come on man! LANS needs to file a counter lawsuit against this Bothwell and Rivera for damages of misrepresentation and fraud

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How did that happen?

Take a look here. Peruse those bios. You will see a collection of retired admirals, lawyers and ... quite a few folks of very modest educational backgrounds and accomplishments. Yes, they are incapable of understanding what's going on in the NW complex, which involves extremely complex, multidisciplinary science and sophisticated engineering. Yet, they managed to get themselves put in charge of this $12B enterprise. How did this happen? These folks must be really clever to get up there lacking even the most basic qualifications.

NNSA is to blame

The folks at DOE - or more accurately NNSA - do share the blame for the LANS fiasco. After all, they are the ones who awarded the contract. But others, including the media and politicians, are no less guilty. And, in a certain perverse way, none of the players were "stupid". All had their own logic, protecting and advancing themselves, while destroying the Lab. 

Remember, the contract change in 2006 came about after a sustained and brutal smear campaign against LANL. It was always obvious that the media hysteria was built on shaky and often simply false foundations. The Ford Mustang story was a fabrication and the two "missing" zip discs had never existed. This didn't matter to the media, which fed on the sensationalism of the moment. "Scathing exposés" sold many copies of newspapers. Thoughtful corrections and follow-ups not so much. Scathing exposés it was then. 

Feeding on this media frenzy were the politicians in Congress, who found it convenient to grandstand, pound on the table in fits of manufactured outrage and "demand action". This happens to be the oldest trick in the book to get more votes.

Of course, the next step after indignant outrage is to demonstrate some action and to transfer the blame onto someone else. Accordingly, Congress "acted" and the monster called NNSA was born. Staffed with lawyers and retired admirals, this organization had no technical competence to manage national laboratories. But what it did have in abundance was the bureaucratic savvy. The lawyers and retired admirals recognized that they had oversight over billions of taxpayer dollars going to the NW complex. They reckoned that they would just pay a modest fraction of this huge sum to a separate, nominally private, entity. In return, the entity would assume all blame for years to come. Bingo, problem solved. This is how LANS was born. 

LANS, of course, went on to pillage and rape the formerly great national laboratory. Their execs had no reason to care about science or engineering. The only goal was to minimize the blame while collecting millions of dollars year after year. The execs didn't feel particularly guilty about the arrangement, as they weren't selected for their conscience in the first place. (Think Beth Sellers or Anthony Stanford.) So long as most problems could be swept under the rug, blame could be controlled and money would continue flowing. And if the blame ever became too much (say, a radioactive drum very inconveniently and publicly exploded), these people could simply step aside, their millions collected, and continue their careers somewhere else in the bowels of government-industrial machine. The curious case of Admiral Nanos had shown them that the process had no accountability.

The bottom line is that it's just too simplistic to say that DOE/NNSA was simply "stupid". In a way, what they did was clever: using taxpayer money to reassign the blame. Precisely the sort of thing you expect a collection of lawyers and admirals to do. Congress did it to them, they did it to LANS.

The net result of course is a severe, long-term damage to the NW complex and to national security. But, somehow, I doubt any of the players are suffering from a guilty conscience. Remember, they weren't selected for their roles for their conscience.

Why recount all this old stuff now? Those who don't learn the right lessons are bound to repeat the same mistakes.

Undoing privatization

I have heard in several places that DOE realizes that privatizing LLNL and LANL was mistake but they are not sure how to undue it. This seems odd to me since they could just say in the next round it is non-profit. Perhaps they have to get permission from congress to do this, or they know they will catch hell from the state of NM, they will look bad politically if they try to change it or they just so utterly incompetent that they just will not be able to make any kind of change.

LANL score question(ned)

Is there any supporting evidence that the assigned LANL leadership score was 40 and the operations score was 20? This may not be correct, but those are the numbers that keep coming out over and over from government employees. Word is that NNSA pulled another "Neile Miller" and adjusted the LANL scores up after the fact.

Did he really say only two points?

Go back and listen to Charlie's spin on the loss of the LANL contract. It sure looks like he is claiming that only 2 points seperated the loss from an extension. Really? An employee nearly dies in an electical accident, after LANL had been specifically warned about electrical safety, and he spins it to make it look like a close decision.

DOE could have assigned any score from 0 to 50 for this near fatal accident. It doesn't matter what the score is, the contract is over this year. To spin it otherwise is a pathetic attempt to safe face.
Anonymous said...

The story I heard was that the score was much lower than that but the sight office or DOE moved it up 49 percent for some reason. They where not close at all.
Anonymous said...
They moved the score so that Charlie could save face. The score, such as it is, is completely arbitrary anyway. Furthermore, they people who choose the score are bureaucrats with no practical experience in anything. It is truly a situation of the blind leading the blind while the rich get richer. Why anyone believes this fiasco is somehow good for the country is beyond me.
Anonymous said...
The whole scoring process for the PEPs is a complete joke to begin with. Its solely handled by the NNSA site office - which has a clear conflict of interest. If they can't give a truly low score slamming LANS since it would call into question their day-to-day oversight of LANL and the LANS contract. So they score it just low enough to end the contract but not where it really would be if you objectively looked at the year's performance and issues.
Anonymous said...
For once DOE/NNSA (i.e. Charlie's "The Government") finally had some "balls" to do the right thing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New LANL purpose statement

 Do whatever it takes to be part of the next bidding team, throw anyone and everything under the bus, every man and women for themselves, do not let a good crises go to waste! Do not waste the last few years doing something for LANL spend every spare moment of time, lobbying and positing yourself for the next possible pot of booty! Build your buddy network, enforce you castle, perfect your lies, and profit and glory could be yours, but act quickly before someone makes app on a smartphone about how to get rich on the next contract change at LANL and everyone will be in on it.

DoE clearly stated LANS contract to end in 2017

And on Tuesday, a DOE spokeswoman provided a statement warning that LANS could lose the contract after 2017 if it doesn’t turn things around.

Los Alamos fallout

Although investigators still are evaluating exactly what caused the drum to overheat and rupture, they say the Los Alamos drum was improperly packaged with a volatile mix of nitrate salts and organic cat litter used to absorb liquids.

The feds, in addition to dramatically reducing the fee for LANS, also took back a previously granted one-year contract extension for the consortium that includes Bechtel Corp. and the University of California.

The contract with Los Alamos National Security has a “four-strike provision” that vacates the contract if LANS doesn’t earn four one-year extensions, a DOE spokeswoman said Tuesday. LANS has held the contract since 2006,

“Having failed to earn contract term extensions for fiscal years 2013 and 2014,” and with the recent revocation of the previous extension, “LANS must earn (an) award term in every future performance period to keep the contract in force beyond fiscal year 2017,” the DOE statement says.

Feds slash WIPP contractor performance pay

"Feds slash WIPP contractor performance pay; LANS must improve to avoid loss of lab contract"

"...LANS has the opportunity to improve performance and with sustained performance, continue to manage and operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory through fiscal year 2023..."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Where is the FY16 LLNL performance evaluation plan?

Where is the FY16 LLNL performance evaluation plan?

Why is it not posted for public review?

LANS future suggestions

After the NNSA news that LANS is out next year, there have been many suggestions here for how to make the situation better for the future. The two most serious ones would appear to be either to federalize the Laboratory or to move it to DoD. There could be a third option, which is to combine LANL and SNL; however, that doesn't seem to be a logical merger.

What are the reasons for or against these two options?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A question for those at LANL

A question for those at LANL. Should the M&O Contract for LANL be split into two different contacts - one for the "national laboratory" work (ie. weapons physics and basic science) and one for direct weapons "production" work (ie, pit and other nuclear component production). This would allow a solely industrial team to bid on the high hazard/risk production work that might benefit from their expertise. Breaking up DOE sites into separate M&O contracts has happened a several huge sites - Oak Ridge for example where Y-12 and ORNL were split apart. 

Have a Los Alamos National Laboratory (not for profit contract) and Los Alamos Production Plant (for profit contract). Operations with different needs and therefore different contracts and different management.

UC Regents to have closed-door meeting

UC Regents to have closed-door meeting on 'future of the LANL contract'

Really very odd that they cite 'security matters' as the excuse for the closed-door meeting. UC, with the strongest open door policy in the US, may find itself having to defend this decision to hold such a meeting not in public.

Friday, January 8, 2016

LANL payments to Wilson

What ever happened to the follow up investigation about the LANL payments to Wilson? The SNL part of the case was settled, but no word yet on the LANL part.

The story of Nancy Madore

Read about her experience with our judicial system. Just like many readers and contributors of this BLOG, she is fighting for justice and accountability!
There is a link to a free copy of the book on the sidebar, Please feel free to comment,

This is what Nancy said about  her book:

This book is my attempt to beat back the corruption I have witnessed in my little corner of the world, by using the ‗power of the pen‘ to hold one judge—and the system he operates within— accountable. I hope my story inspires others to do the same. As Albert Einstein so aptly wrote; ‗The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.‘

Thursday, January 7, 2016

SNL contract must be competed before the LANL one

One story making the rounds is that NNSA had determined that the SNL contract must be competed before the LANL one, and the total contract failure at LANL has created problems for both Labs. Some SNL managers are starting to drop hints that the SNL rebid schedule will be revised in order to get LANL under a new operator more quickly.

Maybe Charlie will discuss the rebid calendar in today's all hands meeting.

ORNL counter-intelligence officer charged

This is no doubt due to the arrogance of scientists at LANL, LLNL and Sandia. Funny how there are no arrogant scientists at ORNL. Can someone explain this to me?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

Where are the new brochures?

Does anyone know what happened to all the fancy new brochures that Charlie had made up with the Lab's new mission and vision?

A question for Charlie

A question for Charlie's all hands meeting this week:

So, how do we go forward from here? With the public release that LANS is gone next year, what is the plan for transition?

Was Nanos right all along?

Is there a culture of arrogance that dooms LANL, no matter who is the contractor?

Should Los Alamos National Laboratory remain open at all and with what mission?"

"A big question is: Should Los Alamos National Laboratory remain open at all and with what mission?"

I am not sure if this is a serious question, considering that the scope of screw ups in the government agencies and facilities LANL is pretty down there. Overall it is a silly question as LANL is no going anywhere...ever. That is a fact of life.
But lets try to address the question anyway.

Yes or no. Yes LANL should remain open or if you close it down you would just have to build something like elsewhere or break it up in parts and send those elsewhere if you want to have a deterrent. The question is can opening up a new facility really work? Where are you gong to move it to? Texas, Utah, sounds good but how does it change anything. It will be insanely expensive and risky since you will have to move so much stuff. Who are you going to hire the same old people? New people might be leery of ever going into such a new faculty after seeing what happened to the old facility. Can we just shut down LANL and only have what we currently have at LLNL, Pantex?...nope. What is done at LANL that cannot be done elsewhere? Right now plenty as I said you could always build something new or add new capabilities at other facilities but how is that fundamentally different? One could argue that one will get more bang for your buck in long run if you break it up since the overhead rates and profits for sleazy companies are much lower at other places, but what is to guarantee that if one expands Pantex that some sleazy corporation will just get hold of it and steal all the money. LLNL is already privatized and its overhead rates are just as bad so how does that save any money?

Can LANL be fixed? Well it depends on if you think something is wrong and a realistic look at LANL would show it is working and is probably one of the least wasteful organizations in the government right now. Yes that is a sad argument but is probably true. I would say getting rid of the for-profit company would be good step in the right direction as well as getting rid of the gross receipt taxes.

But being realistic LANL will not be closed. Do we close down the NSA, CIA, FBI after all the screw ups, do we close down the Congress after all the messes? No we do not and LANL is not going to be closed either. Did we close down Rocky Flats? Yes but than all the people went to work elsewhere in the complez and now LANL does the same job so essence we did not close down Rocky Flats either.

One can always frame other questions.
(1) Should the United States remain a nation and for what purpose? What is done in the United States that cannot be done better and cheaper elsewhere.
(2) Should we move Santa Fe to Southern New Mexico so we would have less problems with snow? Just what done at Santa Fe that could not be done elsewhere?
(3) Do we really need New Mexico as State?
(4) Why not make Esperanto the official language of Florida and New Mexico. It is easy to learn and less problems that English.

UC is the common element in LANL dysfunction?

Odd that the article did not focus on the large ethics scandals at LANL, since this is the paper that broke the Beth Sellers story and Charlie's long coverup.

LLNL BLOG 8 years later.

Dec 2nd 2007: was gone. This was a time of mental unrest and everyone had an opinion about the privatization.
We needed a forum to vent more than any other time in the history of LLNL.

I started with this first post:

Soon after, its brother, died. So, we had an influx of LANL readers and the LLNL BLOG became "it".

Not sure how LLNL management would react, I committed to keep the BLOG alive under the Scooby nickname. Then, in 2013, to deflect attention from scooby, I created a second nickname of

Today is my first day as a retired person. As in 2007, I am still committed to provide a forum for exchanging opinions, passing on new information and exposing injustices, abuse and fraud.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Julian Bentayeb

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Poor investment choices in 401k and TCP1.

The LLNS investment committee must be getting kickbacks from Fidelity. It only offers high fee options, when low fee options exist. Why? Goldstein getting kickbacks?

For example: In 401k 
The fee on the SP500 index mutual fund is a gigantic 0.25% per annum of assets which is three times what Fidelity charges for the same plan elsewhere.

In TCP1 the most basic, most efficient,most widely held, most recommended low fee SP500 index fund isn't even available. Only less effective UC managed imitations which perform more poorly exist.

Is the LLNS investment committee paying attention?

Offer a low fee (< 0.07%) SP500 index fund option in both places please. It is the most basic invest ment plan building block after cash.


How do the current and projected assets/liabilities compare between UCRP and LLNS TCP1?


Some talk that the plan for the new LANL contract is to get rid of the last of the TCP1 people and close out the pensions. They are also looking for ways to save money by reduced benefits or making the lab more of two-tired systems where large portions of the lab will be external contractors with their own benefits. It is all speculation but some people might be thinking that with the new contract that LANL could be the first NNSA lab to be truly brought into modern large businesses project management.

Friday, January 1, 2016

And the spin begins to "save LANL"

What will happen to our region if funding for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is cut. New Mexico is dependent on federal largesse for its economic survival, and our immediate area, Northern New Mexico, more than most parts of the state with the employment opportunities that LANL and the town of Los Alamos offer.

The state's economy is in dire straits, and a reduction of the country's taxpayers money pouring in would sink it even further. For the second year in a row New Mexico saw a decline in its population according to state population estimates released last Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. New Mexico's net population loss is startling when compared to neighboring states, all of which land in the top 10 for growth in the Census study.

Operations and construction at our neighboring nuclear weapons research laboratory account for millions of dollars in tax revenue for New Mexico and for the town of Los Alamos. But now, the National Nuclear Security Administration opted against extending Los Alamos National Security's contract to run Los Alamos National Laboratory because of repeated failures over the past four years to meet certain performance goals.

A recent review calls for docking the lab's manager $7.7 million in incentive fees for incidents that occurred at LANL and failure to provide for safe, secure, effective, efficient and economical management and operations of the laboratory. Most of the lab's failure came in meeting operational and infrastructure goals, while it made improvements in science and national security work.

Failing to meet performance goals could cost the for-profit consortium that runs the lab $2 billion, and the management of the operation be put out to bid. This consortium, it includes the University of California and the Bechtel Corporation, pays more than $100 million in gross receipts taxes to the state in most years. The community of Los Alamos also gets the majority of its revenues from lab operations.

The lab's management team missed an opportunity last year to earn a contract extension after it was held to account for errors that led to a radiation leak. The current contract expires in September 2017, but managers could continue through 2018 as part of a transition period. Spokespersons for the consortium put an optimistic spin on the latest review, saying that while improvements are needed in some areas the lab remains a world-class research institution.

Members of the United States congressional delegation stressed that LANL needs to be a responsible steward of federal funds and take action under the contract to ensure the safety of workers, the community and environment.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Let the beatings continue until morale improves.
December 30, 2015 at 7:39 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
And the spin begins to "save LANL"

The spin is not to save LANL, but to save LANS or some idea of for profit entity running LANL. Saving LANS is good for a few companies, some high level managers, but has been a disaster for LANL and ultimately the United States.
December 30, 2015 at 11:03 AM

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