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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 jlscoob5@gmail.com

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.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The lab needs to be split into an independent production facility and a national laboratory. I would look at the Savannah site as a good model for this.

Anonymous said...


I think it is an interesting idea and would allow for more efficiency on both sides,
as each side has very different needs and priorities. I think there would be some resistance to this idea and it would come from managers. The large the institution the
more you argue that managers need huge salaries. If you cut the place in half than it might be difficult to justify so many managers and and at such high salaries. LANL Mangers are like schooling fish and see safety in numbers. It is easier to hide and be a non-productive manager in a larger organization than a smaller one.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what problem you would fix with this split. Based on how things have gone elsewhere, the total number of managers at the two locations would be greater than the number now at LANL. Same goes for the government oversight, since it will scale up with the number of contracts to monitor. The production facility side of the house might benefit from a split, since most of the safety, and about all of the security reports, have come from outside TA-55. The pure science side of the house could have trouble paying their bills, since many of them are currently covered by weapons activity accounts.

This is one view, from someone that came to LASL in late 70's and left there about 5 years ago.

Anonymous said...

LDRD scientific research would be decimated by a split up as far less money would be available to tax to fund it. Having two entities would also increase the number of managers, not decrease them. Just look at the explosion of management positions that occurred with the increase in the number of divisions over the last two decades.

On the positive side, the serious safety concerns of the nuclear production organizations are not the same as the largely national security concerns on the research side. It could make it somewhat easier to get science done.

The huge environmental cleanup efforts at LANL are already being prepared to be split-off to another for-profit entity due to the poor results that NNSA feels they have been getting from LANS. That will be interesting to watch. It will cause many of the same problems listed above (reduction in LDRD funds, more management positions, etc.). It will also change the benefits that are available to the workers in environmental cleanup efforts, probably for the worse.

Anonymous said...

Splitting up the operation is going in the wrong direction. It would make much more sense to combine LLNL and LANL.

Anonymous said...

Or even better, move all scientific work to LLNL and leave the "production" work in NM under different and brutally by-the-book management.

Anonymous said...

Or even better, move all scientific work to LLNL and leave the "production" work in NM under different and brutally by-the-book management.

January 10, 2016 at 5:44 PM


Ok, but what happens when some accident happens or some mishap which inevitable? In the past you could always blame scientists for a cowboy culture of arrogance for anything that goes wrong. If all the science is in LLNL you will not be able to that, not a good situation.

Anonymous said...

If there is a misshap then it is with a small contractor engaged in mundane, mostly compliance based follow-the-rules stuff. Meanwhile the arrogant cowboys are subsumed by hard-driving LLNL culture and put to real productive work. No more problems. And, there has not been a reason for two competing weapons labs since the early 1990s, so the taxpayers save money. Win, win, win.

Anonymous said...

"If there is a misshap then it is with a small contractor engaged in mundane, mostly compliance based follow-the-rules stuff"

I completely agree but if the words "Los Alamos" are in it than by definition it cannot be mundane and all hell will break loose. If they find out there are no scientists than who on earth are they gonna be blame? It would be bad, really really bad. You should read up on history and you will see that you always need a credible "group" to blame. I would also add that any punishment that is imposed on LANL is than automatically imposed on LLNL but worse. In case you had not noticed all the supposed dysfunction at LANL is what to led to the contract change at LLNL and the RIF, which it makes compete sense if you think about it. If you want to save the taxpayers money than you would make the labs non-profit, but no one is interested in the taxpayer, including you my friend, and it is not like taxpayers have any power so this point does not even matter and should not be brought up in the conversation again. I do like your thinking though.

Anonymous said...

"by hard-driving LLNL culture and put to real productive work"

NIF..., you know NIF?

Anonymous said...

Sorry dude !

NIF was and is very hard driving, since it's inception in the late '90's. Wore me out so that by the end of 2012 had to retire to get some peace and rest !

Anonymous said...

Splitting the lab will not solve the problem. It will only make it worse. What has to be done is that some of the work must be moved elsewhere. LANL is too big to have one person know everything that is going on. And it doesn't help when the underlings lie about everyday details.

Anonymous said...

LANL is too big to have one person know everything that is going on.

January 14, 2016 at 7:25 PM

Yes, this is the answer. While we are at it, let's break up all of the Fortune 500 corporations. Don't stop there, but also get rid of all the 3 and 4 star military commands. Maybe even chop up Alaska, Texas, and some of the other "too big" states. Identify all organizations that are deemed to be "too big" and slice and dice away until they are no longer "too big."

However, the size of LANL is not the issue that led to the current dismal situation. The lack of qualified leadership from Charlie & his PADs brought this debacle upon LANL.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, while splitting the lab into multiple contracts may have benefits, I do not believe it will happen since multiple contracts would mean extra work for the federal employees to compete, write, and then manage the seperate contracts.

Anonymous said...

Twice as many contracts = twice as much management! The higher-ups would love that.

Someone's thinking like a manager here!

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