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Saturday, March 5, 2016

What went wrong with the LANL/LLNL contract.

Physics Today has an article about what went wrong with the LANL/LLNL contract. 
http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/article/69/3/10.1063/PT.3.3103

It has a lot of comments from Tyler Przybylek and little analysis of what might have gone wrong with the contracting process. Rarely do these articles seem to be written from real-world knowledge of what has gone on, but they do get a few things right. Not sure Przybylek was the best person to ask.

Comments: Reminder: comments should be made only on posted posts, not in "suggested topics". I will not publish comments made in "suggested topics".

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The article states: "In January the NNSA and LANS agreed to pay $74 million to settle claims by the New Mexico Environment Department related to the accident."

Wrong! NNSA payed the $74M fine to NMED. LANS didn't pay anything. Raises questions about the article with this glaring error at the beginning.
March 5, 2016 at 7:33 AM
 Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yeah, LANS did agree that NNSA would pay the fine they were responsible for.
March 5, 2016 at 7:45 AM
 Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
NNSA does not print money, so the $74M had to come from taxes that NNSA levied on other programs. Does anyone know (not speculate, but know) whether the tax was levied across all sites (LLNL,Pantex,Y-12,etc), or was it only levied on LANL programs? In other words, whose lunch did LANS eat?

121 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some correct some not. There is definitely a culture issue here but it is not with science, it is with operations. The reason the LLC failed is exactly because the leadership team comes from science and has no sense of operations. Science never failed, operations did. They need to break LANL up into an operations contract and a science contract. Oh and NNSA is worthless. NA-X through NA-XX do not know anything about what they are overseeing but they truly think they manage it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. From a management source I was told one pre-2007 proposal at LLNL was to keep science and engineering under UC, and farm out other areas like HR, security, and plant.

Anonymous said...

From the Physics Today article.

"Another former LANL official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed. “What [Bechtel] didn’t realize is that Los Alamos is a very complex organization with a strongly entrenched culture and that it is its own worst enemy. [Bechtel] thought they could come in and do what they normally do: rotate people in and out. The folks at Los Alamos are smart; they quickly realized they could wait all these industry guys out.”"

So Bechtel was outsmarted by evil scientists who figured that could wait them out? This whole statement is really creepy in its implications about LANL scientists and wishing they could have rotated people out. You could almost picture a high level Nazi after of World War II speaking with great sadness about the reasons that the final solution could not be fully realized.

Anonymous said...

>The folks at Los Alamos are smart; they quickly realized they could wait all these >industry guys out.”


Bechtel failed because it was not aware of what tremendous feats human beings/scientists are capable of once they abandon dignity.

Anonymous said...


Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal

In a landmark settlement, the Department of Energy has agreed to fund infrastructure projects in New Mexico worth $73.25 million to resolve fines connected with last year’s radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

“It’s not being diverted from cleanup budgets or the operational budgets of WIPP or Los Alamos,” he said. “It’s going to supplement the money we currently receive.”

So where did DOE get the $73.25M from? It is clear LANS didn't pay a dime for this fine. The Physics Today article should redact their article which incorrectly states LANS paid for the fine.

Anonymous said...

The failure of LANS is not due to the LANL culture as implied by the chief architect of the contract, Tyler Przybylek. Nor is it due to the contracting model, as implied by Physics Today. The failure is entirely due to the selection of the wrong industrial contractor (Bechtel), and lies squarely at the feet of NNSA, and its decision making officials, Tom D'Agostino and Tyler hisself.
The LANL mission is founded on the design of nuclear weapons, and more recently the precision manufacturing of their critical components, such as "pits." So, instead of choosing a bid with the industrial partner Lockheed-Martin, skilled at precision manufacturing, and led by Ambassador C. Paul Robinson,(who was highly respected at LANL), NNSA chose a bid with Bechtel, perhaps skilled at building dams and and such,and led by a team of LLNL managers (universally despised at LANL). So this was a spectacular failure of NNSA, the bastard child of the Department of Energy, aimed more at punishment, rather than business success.

Anonymous said...

8:11am , you do realize that Bechtel designs and builds the nations nuclear reactors for submarines, right? Including the new A1B (B = Bechtel) that is in the Gerald Ford. They have also built 70-80% of the nuclear power reactors in the country including generator change-outs. They have been running or been a part of running Y-12, SRS, and other DOE sites for a very long time. You may want to read up on them before you think they build houses for a living.

The real issue is that the operations people that have been here at LANL from before the change despise the rules levied by the DOE and believe they are smarter than the law. (i.e. Wait them out...) And, the Management at LANL is science heavy with no real understanding of the rules of operations. No failure in science you will notice.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention you have AECOM (Formerly URS/Washington Group/Westinghouse) and BWXT at LANL running operations. Which they have done in the DOE complex for a VERY long time.

Anonymous said...

How many Bechtel / AECOM / BWXT people are at LANL and LLNL?

Anonymous said...

Probably less than 400 out of 8000 at LANL, I think. Don't know LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Probably less than 400 out of 8000 at LANL, I think. Don't know LLNL.

March 6, 2016 at 10:12 AM

I heard 500 and the rotate them through as fast as they can once they transfer the pension. So over the years there has been about 2500 that have gone through. Also these 400-500 have much higher salaries than the average. Bechtel knows how to leverage.

Anonymous said...

Let me explain politics to everyone on this blog since it seems they are missing the biggest driver in where this will land.

#1) Never admit you are wrong (unless you are caught with your pants down, then cry on TV). What this means is the for-profit model is here to stay. They will find so other mechanism to make the contracts "better" like breaking up the pieces like someone already mentioned.

#2) Never, and I mean never, give up the money. Money equals influence. This also mean the for-profit model is staying. Whether it be through political contributions or money to the state buying influence over voters, this is not going to change.

#3) Always have a patsy. Scientists were the patsies, now the contractors are the patsy. Bottom line here is DOE and now NNSA are failures because they do not understand the work but want to stick their nose in every decision.

Anonymous said...

10:24, They get no UC pension. The best they could get is qualifying years on their pension at other DOE sites (SRS, NTS, etc.). Most contractor hires are TERM too.

Anonymous said...

March 6, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Nailed it. Scientists were the patsies, just like certain groups in Germany used to be the patsies.

If a scientist were to walk in here, right now, as I’m talking would you greet it with a saucer of your delicious milk? I didn’t think so. You don’t like them. You don’t really know why you don’t like them. All you know is you find them repulsive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How many Bechtel / AECOM / BWXT people are at LANL and LLNL?

March 6, 2016 at 10:09 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Probably less than 400 out of 8000 at LANL, I think. Don't know LLNL.

March 6, 2016 at 10:12 AM

------

At LLNL is only a handful. The Operations & Business PAD Martinez was an LLNL (UC) employee before transition, his deputy was at LLNL then went to LBNL and UCOP after transition. Several managers within O&B come from other NNSA sites but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are employees of Bechtel or AECOM.

Yes Lab Director Goldstein is UC and Dep Director Gioconda is Bechtel. However, 99% of those running around the LLNL Directors Office where at the Lab before transition or hired directly by LLNL after transition through the normal HR process.

Anonymous said...

...The failure is entirely due to the selection of the wrong industrial contractor (Bechtel)...
March 6, 2016 at 8:11 AM

If that were true, you would not see some of the same problems in other parts of the DOE complex, and you would see the same sorts of dreadful problems at LLNL as at LANL. Since you do and don't, that tells you it's not a problem with Bechtel, it's a problem with the model.

Anonymous said...

If that were true, you would not see some of the same problems in other parts of the DOE complex, and you would see the same sorts of dreadful problems at LLNL as at LANL. Since you do and don't, that tells you it's not a problem with Bechtel, it's a problem with the model.

March 6, 2016 at 11:16 AM

Bechtel has had major issues at other DOE sites that are far worse than anything at LANL Hanford being the most notable one.
Bechtel Incompetent To Complete Hanford Nuclear Waste ...
www.forbes.com/.../bechtel-incompetent-to-complete-hanford-nu...
Forbes

http://www.pogo.org/blog/2015/09/bechtel-get-job-done-hanford.html

As for LLNL, remember the RIF, the huge exodus of staff, the moral is even lower at LLNL than LANL. Remember the failure at NIF and the misappropriations of funds. In many ways the destruction of LLNL has been even more swift than at LANL. You also have to remember that on the whole the press will only cover LANL problems because the public has never heard of LLNL or the plethora of other DOE labs. Read the new book on Bechtel, they screws up all sorts of things but it is so deep in the governments pocket that it can get away with it.

Now that is not say that that there is not a problem with the model as well. For profit does not work for scientific organizations, it makes no sense on the face it and no one ever believed it was going to work for LLNL or LANL. By the way Sandia is not a for profit in the same way that LANS and LLNLS which is why Sandia does better. It may be a more engineering lab but it is a research lab.

Anonymous said...

" Bechtel designs and builds the nations nuclear reactors for submarines,"

blathered March 6, 2016 at 9:44 AM.

Equating steam plant construction to precision fabrication of large production runs of exquisitely toleranced parts made of lethally toxic materials is the height of stupidity. Must be a Bechtelian spouting smoke.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Hanford is a different issue. BNFL (now Environmental Solutions) engineered the technology for that job then got fired and as the articles say there are fundamental problems with the project technology that continue to drag that job into the ditch.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/03/black_cells_behind_stalled_cle.html

Anonymous said...

Equating steam plant construction to precision fabrication of large production runs of exquisitely toleranced parts made of lethally toxic materials is the height of stupidity. Must be a Bechtelian spouting smoke.

March 6, 2016 at 12:51 PM

I doubt you can even change the oil in your car. Not that you would even get your hands dirty.

Anonymous said...

LANL will never admit to LANL problems. Arrogance, ignorance, and living off the legacy of the great science before them. It does not matter who is in charge, this problem will continue until it is shut down or a large portion are fired. Move the scope to LLNL, NTS, and Y-12 and dissolve LANL.

Anonymous said...

I was at a conference at LANL a while back. Usual event, a group photo outside on one of the afternoons. A conference secretary took the group photo by climbing most of the way up an aluminum ladder that was set up on the dirt outside, with no one holding the ladder. Wobbly tilted ladder, uneven ground, rocks, tree roots, the usual, and no safety partner.

Now, I wouldn't expect her to call up a bucket lift truck and some harnessed guys in hardhats, but it was sketchy and I would not have done that in my own backyard. AND NO ONE STOPPED HER OR SAID ANYTHING! In plain view of a large crowd of visitors, she ignored the most basic ladder safety precautions, and no one stopped her or even moved to help steady the ladder.

That told me a lot about the LANL approach to safety and following safety rules. It really is a cultural problem.

Anonymous said...

> It really is a cultural problem.


We have tried to pin everything on a cultural problem before. Well more than half the workforce has turned over since 2003, the high level managers are from LLNL, the contractor is from outside of LANL. The idea that it is a cultural problem is just not going to stick this time, we have gone to the well just too many times on this and it no longer has any credibility. LANL has had many more problems since LANS took over than it did before the transition, many more and major ones. This points to the contractor or the for profit model being the problem. Additionally how do you also explain the rapid decline at LLNL since LLNS took over.

Anonymous said...

"LANL will never admit to LANL problems. Arrogance, ignorance, and living off the legacy of the great science before them. It does not matter who is in charge, this problem will continue until it is shut down or a large portion are fired. Move the scope to LLNL, NTS, and Y-12 and dissolve LANL.

March 6, 2016 at 1:10 PM"

Look I hate scientists as much as you do but how can you blame any of the recent events at LANL on scientists? I can see how the screw ups can come from bad management practices, but science...no. WIPP (they did not consult scientists), accident at LANCE (I thought this was some Bechtel subcontractor), Beth Sellers, Rich Marquez (not scientists), and so on and on. I know you find them repulsive and creepy but no matter how you analyze it scientists are not the ones responsible for this mess. No one listened to them, no one consulted them, and no one cared for what they had to say.

Maybe the key would be to make LANL a more scientific organization with more say and input from scientists.

Anonymous said...

If you add up the fee lost by LANS and the WIPP M&O it miraculously adds up to $74M. No double jeopardy if you will. But NNSA money that would have otherwise gone to the contractors.

Anonymous said...

So what if there has been 50% turnover since the LANL contract transition? It is not the newcomers that create problems.

The root cause of the problems at LANL is that the long term employees continue to insist that there are no problems. Until this changes, the problems will endure. The first step to recovery is admission that there is a problem.

Anonymous said...

It is not a long term or short term employee issue. In this for-profit environment, only employees with a career "death wish" will step forward with concerns before an accident occurs. After an accident (in the smoke), everyone is "all ears", including the liberal arts major overseers suddenly in the spotlight and in preservation mode. This is the "no problem" problem.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't a subcontractor injured. It was a craftsman from the local union. No one said that scientists are the problem by the way. 70%+ of LANL is non-scientist.

Anonymous said...

"So what if there has been 50% turnover since the LANL contract transition? It is not the newcomers that create problems.

The root cause of the problems at LANL is that the long term employees continue to insist that there are no problems. Until this changes, the problems will endure. The first step to recovery is admission that there is a problem.

March 6, 2016 at 4:27 PM"

This is odd conclusion since there has been a substantial decrease number of long term employees since 2000 yet the problems keep growing, this seems completely counter to your point. Most problems can seen to fall squarely on poor management but you have not and you cannot show that problems at LANL are due to scientists. Again I hate scientists as well but we already blamed them 17 years ago, 15, years, ago, 10 years ago and we played that argument out and history has shown that it was not the fault or the so called culture of "science". I know they are easy to blame but unfortunately blaming them just won't fly anymore no one believes these arguments anymore, hence the contract change. I know it is painful but what alternative do we have who do we blame now? At the heart of this is your personal hatred for LANL scientists, it may not be rational but I understand this, you are only human with all it's trapping of hatred, bigotry, fear, and jealousy. You know the really sad part is that even if they closed LANL down all those scientists would just find good jobs elsewhere, the higher your education the lower your unemployment, it is just a fact. You are right about one thing "The first step to recovery is admission that there is a problem." I think you need to make that first step. I mean that your hatred of LANL workers is really about you, it has nothing to do with LANL, once you accept this a great many new doors will be open to you, think of all other things in this world you could focus you hate on.

Anonymous said...

It is not a long term or short term employee issue. In this for-profit environment, only employees with a career "death wish" will step forward with concerns before an accident occurs. After an accident (in the smoke), everyone is "all ears", including the liberal arts major overseers suddenly in the spotlight and in preservation mode. This is the "no problem" problem.

March 6, 2016 at 4:49 PM


Stepping forward and risking your gravy train was a problem well before a contractor came in to get 2% profit. Let's see how many deaths, serious security infractions, or environmental mishaps happened before 2006. Oh yeah, plenty. The overseers are unfortunately not "liberal arts" majors but instead LANL requires a director who has a PhD in science or the entire science and engineering population at the laboratory heads will implode.

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't a subcontractor injured. It was a craftsman from the local union. No one said that scientists are the problem by the way. 70%+ of LANL is non-scientist.

March 6, 2016 at 5:13 PM"

That would be a rational argument but the implication over the years is and has been that it is the scientists. Arrogant, ignorant, and living of the great science before does not sound very impressive when used to describe union craftsman, however it sounds good describing scientists.

Anonymous said...

. AND NO ONE STOPPED HER OR SAID ANYTHING! In plain view of a large crowd of visitors, she ignored the most basic ladder safety precautions, and no one stopped her or even moved to help steady the ladder.

That told me a lot about the LANL approach to safety and following safety rules. It really is a cultural problem.

March 6, 2016 at 2:12 PM

2:12 is dead on!!
7000+ of the current LANL employees are not contractors and are the same crew of people or their kids that have been at LANL for decades. Only around 400-500 are from the contractors (AECOM, Bechtel, BWXT, UC). The cultural "problem children" never left at contract transition and they will just try to wait it out. And this isn't about the scientists. How many scientist are at the Lab 1500-2000 tops. That leaves about 5000 others not including contractors. Dissolve LANL or at least get rid of UC once and for all!

Anonymous said...


"2:12 is dead on!!
7000+ of the current LANL employees are not contractors and are the same crew of people or their kids that have been at LANL for decades. Only around 400-500 are from the contractors (AECOM, Bechtel, BWXT, UC). The cultural "problem children" never left at contract transition and they will just try to wait it out. And this isn't about the scientists. How many scientist are at the Lab 1500-2000 tops. That leaves about 5000 others not including contractors. Dissolve LANL or at least get rid of UC once and for all!

March 6, 2016 at 5:29 PM"

You claim that this is not about blaming scientists than please explain who the following quot below is talking about.

"Another former LANL official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed. “What [Bechtel] didn’t realize is that Los Alamos is a very complex organization with a strongly entrenched culture and that it is its own worst enemy. [Bechtel] thought they could come in and do what they normally do: rotate people in and out. The folks at Los Alamos are smart; they quickly realized they could wait all these industry guys out.”"

Anonymous said...

2:12 is dead on!!
7000+ of the current LANL employees are not contractors and are the same crew of people or their kids that have been at LANL for decades. Only around 400-500 are from the contractors (AECOM, Bechtel, BWXT, UC). The cultural "problem children" never left at contract transition and they will just try to wait it out. And this isn't about the scientists. How many scientist are at the Lab 1500-2000 tops. That leaves about 5000 others not including contractors. Dissolve LANL or at least get rid of UC once and for all!

March 6, 2016 at 5:29 PM

I doubt 2:12 is telling the truth. The idea that it is the same crew does not stand up to the numbers of employees that have left over the last 15 years, all you have to do is see the service anniversary announcements to see how few people there are at the LANL that have been there for more than 10 years. The idea of a single culture for a lab of this size never made any sense in the first place. Again the problems at LANL have gotten worse since the contract change. This all points to something other than the so called culture. Also the idea of all these evil people "waiting it out" makes absoutly no sense whatsoever...none. No one is buying the culture argument anymore. You are right that there are not than many scientists left but the whole "cultural" thing was just a convenient way to blame someone else beside the for profit model or the management team, and blaming scientists will get you more traction. Hell even the DOE reports on WIPP and LANCE are saying these where management failure.

Getting rid of UC, maybe but what happens when U Texas comes in? As long as the labs are for profit you will continue to have problems and these problems will get worse.

Anonymous said...

don't blame the scientists?

Charlie, Terry Wallace,Craig Leasure, etc. are all scientists. It's long been a LANL belief that you need smart people (i.e., scientists) to run the place. Charlie hired Beth Sellers and either Browne or Nanos hired Rich Marquez. Nanos was a scientist too. How did that work out?

Anonymous said...

You claim that this is not about blaming scientists than please explain who the following quot below is talking about.

"Another former LANL official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed. “What [Bechtel] didn’t realize is that Los Alamos is a very complex organization with a strongly entrenched culture and that it is its own worst enemy. [Bechtel] thought they could come in and do what they normally do: rotate people in and out. The folks at Los Alamos are smart; they quickly realized they could wait all these industry guys out.”"

March 6, 2016 at 5:33 PM

You must believe that only scientist are smart....

Anonymous said...

The idea that it is the same crew does not stand up to the numbers of employees that have left over the last 15 years, all you have to do is see the service anniversary announcements to see how few people there are at the LANL that have been there for more than 10 years

March 6, 2016 at 5:48 PM

Yet Charlie says we are going to lose 30%+ to retirement in the next 5 years. You are not truthful or paying attention....

Anonymous said...

As long as the labs are for profit you will continue to have problems and these problems will get worse.

March 6, 2016 at 5:48 PM

There were problems before "for-profit" and there will be plenty after the current contractor leaves, for-profit or not. I have seen the lack of following the rules because they believe they know better. And yes I am talking about the non-scientists. Who will you blame 5 years from now when you have the exact same problems. My bet is you will find someone else and still not admit that it IS a cultural problem.

Anonymous said...

"Yet Charlie says we are going to lose 30%+ to retirement in the next 5 years. You are not truthful or paying attention....

March 6, 2016 at 5:57 PM"

WTF??? If you look at the time table on Charles plots over the years it agrees exactly with what I was saying.

Anonymous said...

all you have to do is see the service anniversary announcements to see how few people there are at the LANL that have been there for more than 10 years.

March 6, 2016 at 5:48 PM

Because we retire at 15-20 years service??? wrong.

If the population hasn't really deceased at LANL since 2006 and the contractors only have around 500 people at LANL, where do the people come from under your theory???? I will give you one answer, the kids and family of retired LANL employees (the same culture)

Anonymous said...

"There were problems before "for-profit" and there will be plenty after the current contractor leaves, for-profit or not. I have seen the lack of following the rules because they believe they know better. And yes I am talking about the non-scientists. Who will you blame 5 years from now when you have the exact same problems. My bet is you will find someone else and still not admit that it IS a cultural problem.

March 6, 2016 at 6:02 PM"

Wait a sec, you just said 30% of the lab workforce will retire, this on on top of the 50% over the last 17 years, if there are still problems this would imply that it was not a cultural problem.

In any case the idea that the lab had cultural problem before the contract change does not stand up to statistics. LANL had the best or close to the best safety record as pointed out in. There never was a cultural problem.
1 Opinion column for Physics Today Is there really a ... - NPR
www.npr.org/healthscience/documents/holian_alamos.pdf
NPR

Anonymous said...

"decreased", not "deceased" before you turn this into some spelling contest....

Anonymous said...

If the population hasn't really deceased at LANL since 2006 and the contractors only have around 500 people at LANL, where do the people come from under your theory???? I will give you one answer, the kids and family of retired LANL employees (the same culture)

March 6, 2016 at 6:07 PM

The problem with that is it implies that there was a cultural problem before 2005, however when actual numbers are looked at this appears not to be the case. The increase in incidents at LANL after 2005 argues that something else changed which would be the for-profit model.

Anonymous said...


In any case the idea that the lab had cultural problem before the contract change does not stand up to statistics. LANL had the best or close to the best safety record as pointed out in. There never was a cultural problem.

March 6, 2016 at 6:07 PM

and the rate is at or lower than that now.... What is your point? I have seen it, these guys don't believe in following the rules. Ask anyone in safety and I mean personnel safety, environmental, nuclear safety, etc.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, Terry Wallace,Craig Leasure, etc. are all scientists. It's long been a LANL belief that you need smart people (i.e., scientists) to run the place. Charlie hired Beth Sellers and either Browne or Nanos hired Rich Marquez. Nanos was a scientist too. How did that work out?

March 6, 2016 at 5:48 PM

Caig Leasure is not a scientist, hell even saying Charlie is one is a stretch. Terry Wallace, ok. Nanos no way. I think you are confusing having a Ph.d with being a scientist, but for several of these people once they had a Ph.d they never did any kind science again. Just a side note. In any case Nanos absoutly hated scientists and this was very clear in his speeches.

Anonymous said...

I think the current "safety" rate is less than 2 which is lower than the graph shown on the "op ed" defense of the laboratory by a laboratory employee you quote.

Anonymous said...

and the rate is at or lower than that now.... What is your point? I have seen it, these guys don't believe in following the rules. Ask anyone in safety and I mean personnel safety, environmental, nuclear safety, etc.

March 6, 2016 at 6:14 PM

1 Opinion column for Physics Today Is there really a ... - NPR
www.npr.org/healthscience/documents/holian_alamos.pdf
NPR

Read the article it is in comparison to the other NNSA labs, DOE labs and several industries. The point is that real statistics means something and what you have to say about your own personal experience means very little and you could well be lying, but if we count your experience than all I can say is that the folks I know in personal safety and so say great things about how LANL people follow the rules. Maybe we should just stick to actual numbers rather that what you claim to "perceive".

Anonymous said...

Read the article it is in comparison to the other NNSA labs, DOE labs and several industries. The point is that real statistics means something and what you have to say about your own personal experience means very little and you could well be lying, but if we count your experience than all I can say is that the folks I know in personal safety and so say great things about how LANL people follow the rules. Maybe we should just stick to actual numbers rather that what you claim to "perceive".

March 6, 2016 at 6:28 PM

The increase in incidents at LANL after 2005 argues that something else changed which would be the for-profit model.

March 6, 2016 at 6:10 PM

What you say is not consistent. So if the rates are now lower (which they are, less than 2 right now. You can check tomorrow at work if you think I am lying...) then the contractor for-profit model must be wonderful. Numbers matter Right???

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I doubt 2:12 is telling the truth.

Oh that is priceless. Dozens and dozens of people saw the same thing, although probably only a fraction (and, I'm sure, not a single person among the LANL staff) were safety conscious enough to notice.

Anonymous said...

Under your theory, Bechtel is the best contractor on the planet.... They are less than a quarter of the rates at LANL before or after 2005. Better watch what statistics you align yourself with...

http://www.bechtel.com/bechtel/media/html/ARSR2015/sustainability-report/performance-data/

Anonymous said...

Under your theory, Bechtel is the best contractor on the planet.... They are less than a quarter of the rates at LANL before or after 2005. Better watch what statistics you align yourself with...

http://www.bechtel.com/bechtel/media/html/ARSR2015/sustainability-report/performance-data/


March 6, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Yes, and they can't fix this cesspool. Dissolve LANL.

Anonymous said...

Caig Leasure is not a scientist, hell even saying Charlie is one is a stretch. Terry Wallace, ok. Nanos no way. I think you are confusing having a Ph.d with being a scientist, but for several of these people once they had a Ph.d they never did any kind science again. Just a side note. In any case Nanos absoutly hated scientists and this was very clear in his speeches.


Well, they were all once scientists and thus "qualified" to manage anything, since how hard could that be. Of course they aren't doing science once they moved into the upper ranks.

Anonymous said...

Under your theory, Bechtel is the best contractor on the planet.... They are less than a quarter of the rates at LANL before or after 2005. Better watch what statistics you align yourself with...

http://www.bechtel.com/bechtel/media/html/ARSR2015/sustainability-report/performance-data/

Good, point however it not just the few big safety accidents it was also WIPP,
the VSP, delayed projects and so on. Beyond LANCE it may very well be possible the Bechtel did a better job, but one theory I heard is that they strongly discouraged people from reporting minor injuries in an effort to decrease the numbers but there was nothing they could do about the big ones.

I doubt 2:12 is telling the truth.

>Oh that is priceless. Dozens and dozens of people saw the same thing, although >probably only a fraction (and, I'm sure, not a single person among the LANL staff) >were safety conscious enough to notice.

This just sounds like total BS, everyone is so freaked out about safety that they bring up anything and everything including heating up a cup of water (I am not kidding). With all the emails about "ladder training". (I am not kidding about this either) someone would at the very least made a joke and I guarantee you everyone would have noticed. I am calling BS on this unless you can spill a few names, dates, locations, or even an organization so it can be checked out. It just does not pass the smell test, try again.

Anonymous said...

Beyond LANCE it may very well be possible the Bechtel did a better job, but one theory I heard is that they strongly discouraged people from reporting minor injuries in an effort to decrease the numbers but there was nothing they could do about the big ones.

March 6, 2016 at 7:14 PM

http://www.bechtel.com/bechtel/media/html/ARSR2015/sustainability-report/performance-data/

Running out of room are you. Now it is ethics not safety. Look at the chart next to Recordable rates. That is a chart of the "big ones" (Lost-Time Incident Rate). They are still well below the industry and well below LANL by factor of 5 to 10 I would bet. Are you now going to say they are hiding hospitalization and death? You really need to get perspective on this. I will give you a pass on not knowing what you are looking at in the data.

Anonymous said...

March 6, 2016 at 7:14 PM, stay way from Bechtel on safety as an argument. You are better of going to something else. LANL can't hold Bechtel's jockey strap when it comes to safety or safety culture. They aren't even in the same league.

Anonymous said...


Yes, and they can't fix this cesspool. Dissolve LANL.

March 6, 2016 at 7:02 PM


Ok lets just get to the crux of it shall we, this is really all about you. You just want LANL to be shut down. That's fine but come clean will you, it is something very personal with you and you will never be rational about it, you will never listen to facts, you will never present facts, you will never consider that you might be wrong and that there are more subtleties to things than just saying it is a "cesspool". So be it but at least be honest with us and be honest with yourself.

In any case let one thing be absoutly crystal clear to you, LANL is not going to be shut down, LLNL may be shut down but not LANL. It will never ever happen, you got that...never in your worthless lifetime. Let that little factoid eat you up.

Anonymous said...

March 6, 2016 at 7:14 PM, stay way from Bechtel on safety as an argument. You are better of going to something else. LANL can't hold Bechtel's jockey strap when it comes to safety or safety culture. They aren't even in the same league.

March 6, 2016 at 7:27 PM

Tell that to the eight workers at LANCE, so Bechtel really brought in a "safety culture".

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the eight workers at LANCE, so Bechtel really brought in a "safety culture".

March 6, 2016 at 7:30 PM

All you are saying is that whoever this is, is right:

"What [Bechtel] didn’t realize is that Los Alamos is a very complex organization with a strongly entrenched culture and that it is its own worst enemy."

Anonymous said...

Jeez, is there something in the water today? WTF??!!

Anonymous said...

"All you are saying is that whoever this is, is right:

"What [Bechtel] didn’t realize is that Los Alamos is a very complex organization with a strongly entrenched culture and that it is its own worst enemy."

March 6, 2016 at 8:19 PM:

How, how...on earth to you come to that conclusion?

Anonymous said...

This just sounds like total BS, everyone is so freaked out about safety that they bring up anything and everything including heating up a cup of water (I am not kidding). With all the emails about "ladder training". (I am not kidding about this either) someone would at the very least made a joke and I guarantee you everyone would have noticed. I am calling BS on this unless you can spill a few names, dates, locations, or even an organization so it can be checked out. It just does not pass the smell test, try again.

March 6, 2016 at 7:14 PM

There will never be answer to this because it never happened. Anyone so filled with utter hate and vitriol toward LANL that they call it cesspool to be shut down will have no qualms whatsoever about lying. There are some real bat crazy ex LANL employees out there like Chris Mechels or Chuck Montano that just cannot let it go.

Anonymous said...

Bechtel can bring safety culture to sub Saharan Africa but can't get LANL to change its culture. That tells it all. Dissolve LANL.

Mic drop

Anonymous said...

Bechtel can bring safety culture to sub Saharan Africa but can't get LANL to change its culture. That tells it all. Dissolve LANL.

Mic drop

March 6, 2016 at 8:54 PM

Face-palm, my God you are so amazingly f* up. You really need to let it go. Pic that Mic up do some therapeutic Karaoke to this.

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I'm the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried!

Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

Anonymous said...

>Bechtel can bring safety culture to sub Saharan Africa


Safety culture..no. A culture of corruption..YES.

As Bush creates a corporate protectorate in Iraq, many companies who stand to benefit from reconstruction and oil exploration there are familiar to Africans. Shell, Bechtel and Fluor are all associated with massacres and crimes against humanity in Africa. Bechtel has profited from and exacerbated the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As one of the largest construction and engineering companies in the world, Bechtel is the top contender for hundreds of millions - and potentially billions - in reconstruction contracts for post-war Iraq. Some attention has been paid to the mess the company has made in Boston and possible conflicts of interest because of its close connections to the Bush administration.

War profiteers Shell, Bechtel, Fluor take record of terror from ...
www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_227.shtml

American Companies Exploit the Congo

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-bechtel-executive-pleads-guilty-connection-52-million-kickback-scheme
The former Principal Vice President of Bechtel Corporation and General Manager of the Power Generation Engineering and Services Company (PGESCo) pleaded guilty today in connection with a $5.2 million kickback scheme intended to manipulate the competitive bidding process for state-run power contracts in Egypt

Bechtel is one of the most corrupt companies in the United States.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2005/05/09/straight-to-bechtel/

There is another post about chemical weapons in Iraq. Take a guess who was involved in that.

But ethylene oxide also has another use. It is a chemical precursor for the manufacture of mustard gas. Despite prohibitions against providing Iraq with so-called dual use chemicals, Bechtel didn’t pull out of the project until the first Gulf War appeared to be immanent.

No sanctions were ever level against the company for supplying Saddam’s regime with the building blocks for restocking his chemical weapons arsenal. Indeed, when Iraq submitted its much derided inventory of its chemical weapons stockpile to the UN in the fall of 2002, it identified Bechtel as a chief supplier. This embarrassing disclosure, however, was redacted by the Bush administration before the documents were released to the press. It only came to light after the French released the uncensored documents and by then the US press couldn’t be bothered to pursue the story

Lovely

Anonymous said...


Just to be geographically correct Bechtel not only screws over North America and Africa, but also the Middle East and South America.

" longtime CEO Stephen Bechtel: “We’re more about making money, than making things.”


When local Iraqi officials object or try to offer advice, they are ignored or bullied. “The impression we get is that Bechtel is more powerful than the US Army,” says Dr. Nabil Khudair Abbas, a top official with the new Iraqi government’s Ministry of Education.

No one reviews or evaluates Bechtel’s work. It’s too dangerous and few non-Iraqis give a damn, anyway. Certainly, not the Bechtel executives, operating out of their opulent penthouses in Qatar and Kuwait City.

“If the Americans had given us the money directly, we could have done a much better job,” says Abdeel Razzaq Ali, headmaster of the Anbariyn School in a poor, Shiite area of Baghdad. “We do we need Bechtel? They have done absolutely nothing.”
< Sounds familiar does it not>

Bechtel Meets Goals on Fewer Than Half of Its Iraq Rebuilding Projects, U.S. Study Finds
http://www.nytimes.com/?action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East&region=TopBar&module=HomePage-Title&pgtype=article

< Perhaps Iraq was also complex organization with an ingrained culture and those dam Iraqis where smart people who knew they could wait out Bechtel>


South America

In 1999, heeding to the lash of the World Bank and Clinton’s State Department, the government of Bolivia agreed to privatize the public water utility in the city of Cochabamba. Under a bill pushed through the Bolivian parliament in October 1999, the government turned the management of the utility in this arid city to International Water, Inc., a subsidiary of Bechtel. Almost immediately, Bechtel jacked up the price of the monthly water bill to about $20, a staggering amount for citizens of a city where the average monthly income is around $100. Soon thousands of people failed to pay their bills with the predictable consequence of having their water shut off.

The bills and the shut-offs propelled thousands of protesters into the streets. In January of 2000, demonstrators effectively shut down the city for a week, before they were violently suppressed by the national guard, at the behest of Bechtel. Over the course of the next few months, hundreds of thousands of Bolivians took to the streets in solidarity and joined marches to the embattled city. There were general strikes and counterattacks, which left hundreds injured and several dead in the streets . The protests almost brought down the government and eventually the privatization bill was repealed and Bechtel was booted from Bolivia, leaving the good people of Cochambamba with their old water company and a crushing mound of debt. Naturally, Bechtel didn’t leave without firing a parting shot. The company filed a breach of contract suit with the World Court demanding $25 million from this destitute nation.

Anonymous said...

While some have attempted to twist the discussion to be scientist vs non-scientist, or UC vs Bechtel, that just obscures the main point. The problems will remain, and continue to grow, as long as the LANL leadership ranks contain those with a "LANL is never wrong" approach to every issue. No organization is perfect; however, when you listen to Wallace and his minions, you hear the refrain loud and clear that the fault is always somewhere else. Sometimes it is blamed on NNSA, or DoE, or LANS, or Congress, or Bechtel, or NMED, or LAFO, or DNFSB, or LASG, or LLNL, or SNL, or (keep going).


WIPP remains closed due to the LANL drum explosion, yet Wallace continues to insist that "LANL did nothing wrong." Whatever group wins the next contract must bring in outsiders that are credible, and one part of earning credibility is to accept responsibility when failures occur.

Anonymous said...


Hey where is the Bechtel b guy to come back and blame everything on the LANL and LLNL culture? You know like Bechtel screwed up in Iraq because of LANL or something.

There has been some discussion of why Bechtel has done so poorly at LANL and LLNL in terms of who they sent. Bechtel is a very large organization with multiple projects all over the world. Some projects they have to well to get money others not so much. They also have people of varied quality and for some projects like say doing a crappy work in Congo or the Philippines they do not need very good people and between assignments they need place these dregs somewhere so it is off to LLNL and LANL. It is simple economics and a way to maximize the overall profit. You see the labs are just a small part of their overall portfolio and just another way to leverage profit in the big scheme of things. People always seem to miss this point. If you read the Physics Today Article you will see that Kuckuck says this as well.
"Robert Kuckuck, who was the last director of LANL under the previous not-for-profit contract run by UC, says the interests of the private sector and the university were not aligned in LANS. “What I saw at Los Alamos was that industry did not send its A team in to the lab. Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, was the culture difference. None of the industry people I watched come in had any career visions in their mind with respect to the laboratory. " In other words Bechtel never cared about the mission of the labs but only the greater profit in their organizations in the short term.

Anonymous said...

"WIPP remains closed due to the LANL drum explosion, yet Wallace continues to insist that "LANL did nothing wrong." Whatever group wins the next contract must bring in outsiders that are credible, and one part of earning credibility is to accept responsibility when failures occur.

March 7, 2016 at 6:11 AM"

I agree but you have to remember the current LANL leadership arose and thrives under the for profit model and LANS and LANL management are one and the same. LANS and hence the management cannot accept responsibility. They will blame DOE, NNSA, New Mexico, LANL scientists and LANL non-scientists, the culture and so on. It is NOT LANL culture it IS the LANL management culture. That is the distinction you need to make. One of the biggest issues with the current management culture is that management sees itself as a completely separate entity from the non-management workforce and that they have no overlap at all. The workforce is their only to take the blame. This is how you get stuff like "LANS did not fail it was the in-grained non-management workforce which are sneaky smart rat like people hoping to wait the management out". That is just bullshit, sorry the fish rots from the head down.

As long you say LANL has to take responsibility than it is spun into LANL workers have to take responsibility and not LANL managers.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice that the LANL posters who tirelessly defend their beloved lab against all criticism, never listen and absorb? All is battle, forever, I'm right and you're a (insert your favorite cut-down). It must be part of the culture of decay there, and maybe part of the reason for that very same decay. But they will never see it.

Anonymous said...

As others have said here before, the only possible hope for any new contractor is to purge every LANL manager above Group Leader and start with a clean slate at the top.

Anonymous said...

As others have said here before, the only possible hope for any new contractor is to purge every LANL manager above Group Leader and start with a clean slate at the top.

March 7, 2016 at 8:23 AM

So you are tirelessly defending your beloved lab against all criticism you never listen and absorb. Have you ever thought your are the problem?

Anonymous said...

LANL Managers at work: Check out Facebook: Carolyn Zerkle and her Chief of Staff on travel to LLNL decided to participate on the TV show "FABLIFE." All on taxpayers money!!!

Anonymous said...

Kuckuck's quote in Physics Today, posted by March 7, 2016 at 6:27 AM, pretty much says it all. Bechtel knows very well how to manage in a corporate environment, but was woefully unprepared for LANL. Bechtel essentially admitted this when they gave UC Chairman of the Board position of LANS and the power to select the LANL Director (who is the President of LANS). I suspect all the LANL haters here are Bechtel employees and all the Bechtel haters are LANS employees (although they probably think of themselves as LANL employees, which they aren't).

Anonymous said...

11:29 AM is right and all the LANL problems belong at UC's door.

Anonymous said...

11:29 AM is right and all the LANL problems belong at UC's door.

March 7, 2016 at 1:07 PM

That is not what the poster said and clearly not of LANLs problems lie at UCs door. Read the Physics Today Article.

Anonymous said...


The Physics Today Article is is odd that most of the quotes are from Tyler Przybylek. He must be a great scientist.

The George Washington University Law School
Jurid Doctor, Law
1971 – 1974
Boston College
Boston College
Bachelor of Arts (BA), Philospphy, Classics,


The Profiteers: Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1476706484
I did like one description of Bechtel at LLNL as "the worse aspects of the Department of Motor Vehiclas and Goldman Sachs"

Anonymous said...

>Oh that is priceless. Dozens and dozens of people saw the same thing, although >probably only a fraction (and, I'm sure, not a single person among the LANL staff) >were safety conscious enough to notice.

This just sounds like total BS, everyone is so freaked out about safety that they bring up anything and everything including heating up a cup of water (I am not kidding). With all the emails about "ladder training". (I am not kidding about this either) someone would at the very least made a joke and I guarantee you everyone would have noticed. I am calling BS on this unless you can spill a few names, dates, locations, or even an organization so it can be checked out. It just does not pass the smell test, try again.

March 6, 2016 at 7:14 PM

You never gave the names, places or dates for you so called ladder claim. I think it is time for you to man up and admit you fabricated the whole thing, its a zero or hero moment for you, so best come clean. Your silence speaks volumes. I understand you hate LANL but just making crap up will not serve your purpose.

Anonymous said...

Who let the Bechtel Trolls out?

Anonymous said...

"I suspect all the LANL haters here are Bechtel employees "

I suspect this as well. I think one of the big problems was that Bechtel came in with a bad attitude and with the idea that they where brought in to punish LANL and LLNL. Part of this has to do with the attitude that NNSA, DOE and Nanos gave, the problem was that these entities where passing the buck and would not take any blame for the previous problems of LANL. Wen Ho Lee had to be a LANL science problem, not a security problem, the stolen Mustang had to be a LANL science problem, the missing disks again had to be a LANL science problem not Nanos overreacting. No one at the top was going to take the blame, not DOE, not Bill Richardson, not NNSA, no one so all of it was blamed on the workforce particularly the rat like scientist that infest the labs. So Bechtel thought that the way to treat the labs both LLNL and LANL was with disdain, disgust, to take everything they could and punish the bastards. They figured that must be what they where brought in to do but this approach was obviously doomed to fail since it really was not what DOE or NNSA wanted. What DOE wanted was not to have any blame for what they where responsible for but they still needed to the labs to run well. Bechtel just got the wrong message and now they are angry about how it went down. In their minds they where brought in the eff things up which they did and now they are being kicked out for doing exactly what they thought they where suppose to do. It is no wonder that they bashing the hell out of the labs on this blog, and they have a point.

Anonymous said...


The constant bashing of UC makes no sense either, they ran the labs well for 60 years and out of nowhere in 2000 it all goes bad? A more likely scenario is that by 2000 corporate and political corruption simply in the United States got so out of hand that they pushed to privatize and anything and everything. I have yet to see a single compelling argument that UC ever mismanaged LANL or LLNL.

I would add that UC also deserves major props for standing up and doing the right thing against the likes Chris Mechels, Chuck Montano, Glenn Walp, Doran, and their ilk. I only wish they got rid of more these people to set an example of righteousness against these morally bankrupt types.

Anonymous said...

March 7, 2016 at 7:40 PM

You make some good points, and I don't want to be the "spelling nazi" but please try to observe the difference between "where" and "were." It makes your posts very jarring to read.

Anonymous said...

March 7, 2016 at 7:58 PM

I agree with your comments about UC, but I would observe that UC was very passive and uninvolved during the Wen Ho Lee mess, and that was to the extreme detriment of LANL. I don't know what conversations happened early between Hecker and UC during that time, but I am sure, based on my relationship with Hecker, that he would have asked for high-level help from UC and their attorneys to get through the FBI and DoJ minefield. None was forthcoming. Browne got some help, but it was the wrong kind, and too late.

Anonymous said...

Richardson's ego is an interesting root cause that I had not considered before.

Anonymous said...

The poor poster that claims UC was perfect in all ways needs to wake up to reality. It is delusional to keep on insisting that LLNL and LANL would be Utopian under UC in the modern era. Yes, life at the Labs was very good in the UC days, but that had more to do with nearly unlimited budgets and a clear mission focused on UGT. These two driving forces have been absent for years and without them managing the design labs under DoE is vastly more complicated.

Remember that UC picked Charlie to be LANL Director and he was woefully inadequate for the job in the present environment. If UC has any hope of staying engaged in LLNL in the future, it must select leaders that are capable of functioning in the current world.

Anonymous said...

A little myth busting:
1) there is not a cultural issue at LANL.
Yes there is. It pervades middle management aand is communicated to new hires. Terry Wallace is a perfect example of the problem: when staff brought to him criticality concerns, hhe dismissed them with "they'll never shut us down." it is a sense that they've given up what surely would have been prestigious academic careers to live in on the Mesa and grace the government with their expertise. It's a pervasive view, strongly influenced by a lack of respect for authority (no matter whether the authority has a point)and as the article said very different fron LLNL.

2) the "for profit" set up matters.
No it doesn't. Despite the fact that no lab director at LLNL or LANL has allowedd themselves to be influenced by fee considerations (a true statement) what matters more is the variable fee and award term "incentives". They create nothing but grief for the Labs.

3) Bechtel is the problem.
No it is not. LLNL runs just fine under the llc.

4)UC is the good guys.
No they are not. They insisted on the llc structure to reduce risk. More importantly, they went away from a model where the lab directors reported to the UC president, and instead inserted a regent as the board chairman, from the PR industry, who's claim to the job rests on his dropping $100M on the Governor's Fund. If he wasn't an active chairman, listening to the likes of Ed Moses, that wouldn't be a problem. But he is, and that has arguably been the single biggest issue with the llc concept.

Anonymous said...

>A little myth busting:
1) there is not a cultural issue at LANL.
Yes there is. It pervades middle management aand is communicated to new hires. Terry Wallace is a perfect example of the problem: when staff brought to him criticality concerns, hhe dismissed them with "they'll never shut us down." it is a sense that they've given up what surely would have been prestigious academic careers to live in on the Mesa and grace the government with their expertise. It's a pervasive view, strongly influenced by a lack of respect for authority (no matter whether the >authority has a point)and as the article said very different fron LLNL.

This is a rather schizophrenic and keeps contradicting itself. You say middle management and new staff, but than you say Terry Wallace does not listen to staff. I am no fan of Terry Wallace but he did have a prestigious academic career before he cam to LANL and I know he has had some nice offers at universities since. You also say that it is lack of respect for authority and than you claim in it the management (authority) that is a problem. The part of about LLNL is also not correct and I am sure the LLNL cohorts and attest to to how decline at LLNL since the contract change.

>3) Bechtel is the problem.
>No it is not. LLNL runs just fine under the llc.

Nope, there was that little RIF a while back remember, even LANL did not have that. Also can you name one positive thing that the for profit model brought to LLNL?

>No they are not. They insisted on the llc structure to reduce risk. More importantly, they went away from a model where the lab directors reported to the UC president, and instead inserted a regent as the board chairman, from the PR industry, who's claim to the job rests on his dropping $100M on the Governor's Fund. If he wasn't an active chairman, listening to the likes of Ed Moses, that wouldn't be a problem. But he is, and that has arguably been the single biggest >issue with the llc concept.

Facepalm, I though you just said the LLCs where great for LLNL and LANL, it is just the LANL culture that it did not do well at LANL. In any case UC never insisted on LLC that was written in the contact change. > who's claim to the job rests on his dropping $100M on the Governor's Fund. If he wasn't an active chairman, listening to the likes of Ed Moses, that wouldn't be a problem.< I thought LLNL was great, by the way what on earth are you talking about?

Pal you are just one hot mess. The for profit model failed at LLNL and LANL because it was a horrible idea for a research organization. Maybe it works fine
for the Kansas City disposal plant but not research. Sandia by the way is not a for profit. UC seems to work just fine for 60 years and than wamo, time to privatize! Did you ever think this who privatization thing could have been about private corporation making easy money while not adding any value?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little myth busting:
1) there is not a cultural issue at LANL.
Yes there is. It pervades middle management aand is communicated to new hires. Terry Wallace is a perfect example of the problem: when staff brought to him criticality concerns, hhe dismissed them with "they'll never shut us down." it is a sense that they've given up what surely would have been prestigious academic careers to live in on the Mesa and grace the government with their expertise. It's a pervasive view, strongly influenced by a lack of respect for authority (no matter whether the authority has a point)and as the article said very different fron LLNL.

2) the "for profit" set up matters.
No it doesn't. Despite the fact that no lab director at LLNL or LANL has allowedd themselves to be influenced by fee considerations (a true statement) what matters more is the variable fee and award term "incentives". They create nothing but grief for the Labs.

3) Bechtel is the problem.
No it is not. LLNL runs just fine under the llc.

4)UC is the good guys.
No they are not. They insisted on the llc structure to reduce risk. More importantly, they went away from a model where the lab directors reported to the UC president, and instead inserted a regent as the board chairman, from the PR industry, who's claim to the job rests on his dropping $100M on the Governor's Fund. If he wasn't an active chairman, listening to the likes of Ed Moses, that wouldn't be a problem. But he is, and that has arguably been the single biggest issue with the llc concept.

March 8, 2016 at 8:10 PM




Poster gets a B- for typing skills; otherwise, an A+.

Anonymous said...

Poster gets a B- for typing skills; otherwise, an A+.

March 9, 2016 at 5:24 AM


A+ how? sounds like delusional ravings as usual. D- I would give in F but they guy actually put effort into it.

Anonymous said...

3) Bechtel is the problem.
No it is not. LLNL runs just fine under the llc.

ROFL!!!!, ....ROFL,....please forgive me, let me get it together, ROFLMAOYSST,...
.. eh ehm, would someone from LLNL like to address this point, I, ROFL, sorry, as I was saying would anyone of the 400 laid off people like to second the point of "LLNL runs just fine under the llc"!. Look I know it is not funny for the people at LLNL but, sometimes people just say such funny crazy stuff on this blog. I mean, well you know what I mean. Ya, Bechel been great for LLNL, ROFLMAO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad3muFUM4r0, and http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/6-minutes-of-rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-literally/, sorry, ahh, ROFL, this blog, I mean you just can't make some of this stuff up, ya LLNL is purring like a kitten run over by a steamroller under he llc, oh ya ROFLMAO!

ROFLMAO, ok in all seriousness, ROFL, I mean really serious this time, could someone from LLNL respond to the poster or to the comments made in the Physics Today article about just how things have been so great at LLNL under the llc.. sorry ROFLMAO.

ROFLMAO!!

Anonymous said...

>3) Bechtel is the problem.
>No it is not. LLNL runs just fine under the llc.

As the kids today say, Epic Failure!

Anonymous said...

As the kids today say, Epic Failure!

March 10, 2016 at 10:20 AM

I wish!! They say, "epic fail" because kids today are completely ignorant about almost everything.

Anonymous said...

I wish!! They say, "epic fail" because kids today are completely ignorant about almost everything.

March 10, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Indeed and to say " LLNL runs just fine under the llc." you have to be completely ignorant about almost everything as well.

Anonymous said...

@10:28PM
A fine example of the very best that LANL has to offer is on display in this post.

Anonymous said...

>@10:28PM
>A fine example of the very best that LANL has to offer is on display in this post.


And "LLNL runs just fine under the llc." is fine example of how bats*t delusional some of the LANL bashers are. Did you happen to notice all those LLNL employees rushing into defend the statement about how well LLNL is running under the llc. Nope just crickets.

Anonymous said...

And "LLNL runs just fine under the llc." is fine example of how bats*t delusional some of the LANL bashers are. Did you happen to notice all those LLNL employees rushing into defend the statement about how well LLNL is running under the llc. Nope just crickets.

March 10, 2016 at 6:50 PM


This outlet is only for those that want to bash. Defenders find a warmer welcome in other venues.

Anonymous said...

This outlet is only for those that want to bash. Defenders find a warmer welcome in other venues.

March 11, 2016 at 8:19 AM

If you read the posts you will see plenty of people defending various aspects of the labs.

Anonymous said...

LLNL does run just fine under LLNS, if you're in the right job in the right group in the right directorate. Look at NIF. Despite worldwide embarrassment in 2012, years of Ed Moses and his clique of sycophants, the loss of Moses and his sycophants, piles of boring data, and a continuing operating cost of a few hundred million a year, it's still there when other facilities with that sort of record would be in the process of shutting down. Partly because it has a great safety record and safety culture, things that LANL lacks. You can get away with almost anything as long as no one gets hurt, there are no spills or releases or contamination, and everyone is up to date on their safety classes.

Anonymous said...

March 8, 2016 at 8:10 PM makes four points. The first one (there is not a cultural issue at LANL. Yes there is.) and the last one (UC is the good guys. No they are not.) are particularly valid as the re-compete starts up. UC might have some interest in being part of a bid team for LLNL, but it is hard to see how they have any chance of running LANL in the future. After the current mess, why would any university want to intentionally bring on a category 5 migraine such as LANL?

Anonymous said...

>The first one (there is not a cultural issue at LANL. Yes there is.)

No there is not

>last one (UC is the good guys. No they are not.)

Yes they are

>After the current mess, why would any university want to intentionally bring on a category 5 >migraine such as LANL?

How the hell would a dumb ass like you know? You are have already proven
that you have no idea what you are talking about on several points so it is same to assume you do not know what you talking about here. The rumours are that there are universities that will indeed be bidding.

Anonymous said...

why would any university want to intentionally bring on a category 5 migraine such as LANL?

March 11, 2016 at 10:54 AM

Free money for research. The university lends prestige and a "science focus," and gets access to LANL facilities and staff, in addition to their cut of the award fee. For a large, varied research university, it is a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

why would any university want to intentionally bring on a category 5 migraine such as LANL?

March 11, 2016 at 10:54 AM

I have heard that there are a number university systems that are very interested.

Anonymous said...

(UC is the good guys. No they are not.)

Than how come LANL worked so well under UC alone before the contact change? Seems like they
are good guys to me while Bechtel is just after the short term money.

Anonymous said...

LANL did not work well under UC, not towards the end. Their safety and security lapses CAUSED the UC era to end, for both LANL and LLNL. Times changed but LANL did not. After the era where cowboys were tolerated and even honored came to a close, LANL continued with the cowboy nonsense and wrecked things for everyone.

Anonymous said...

why would any university want to intentionally bring on a category 5 migraine such as LANL?

March 11, 2016 at 10:54 AM

Free money for research. The university lends prestige and a "science focus," and gets access to LANL facilities and staff, in addition to their cut of the award fee. For a large, varied research university, it is a no-brainer.

March 11, 2016 at 12:50 PM


Would be a good fit for NMSU, but otherwise this is just delusional nonsense.

Anonymous said...

You realize that the safety and security lapses at LANL under UC were largely trumped up, don't you? There was no missing disk, Nanos knew this but blew the issue up to get the contract changed and to bully and belittle the employees. There was no "stolen" Mustang (a Mustang customizing shop stole a buyer's credit card number and the buyer reported it). There was a terrible laser accident accident but that was a single researcher whose management was apparently too stupid to realize that the guy was using high powered lasers without any safety planning and very bad habits (the tech who had previously kept the lab safe had retired). The wide-scale "theft" turned out to be ~$15k of poorly documented purchases and a bad actor who was successfully prosecuted. I do not make light of having theft going on but with thousands of employees there are likely to be some bad actors, the question is whether they are caught or not and he was caught. So there is good reason to believe that safety and security issues were made to look as bad as possible to get the contract into the hands of profiteers like Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

why would any university want to intentionally bring on a category 5 migraine such as LANL?

March 11, 2016 at 10:54 AM

I have heard that there are a number university systems that are very interested.

March 11, 2016 at 1:02 PM


Other folks tell a different story. Only time will reveal who is correct. It may be that some university does make a run at LANL. On the other hand, a number of the local pueblos could get together and have an equally good chance of winning the bid.

Anonymous said...

Would be a good fit for NMSU, but otherwise this is just delusional nonsense.

March 11, 2016 at 3:44 PM

Would be interesting to hear your justification for this "delusional nonsense" statement. Any evidence at all that passes the giggle test?

Anonymous said...

"Other folks tell a different story. Only time will reveal who is correct. It may be that some university does make a run at LANL. On the other hand, a number of the local pueblos could get together and have an equally good chance of winning the bid.

March 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM"

I suspect that you are simply lying since I know a several universities that will be involved in a bid. "Would be a good fit for NMSU," in fact NMSU in a consortium of universities is very likely to be one of the teams. Why on earth do you stick so militantly to your ignorance? What the hell is the matter with you, has blog posting been recommended to you as a kind of occupational therapy for a traumatic brain injury or something?

Anonymous said...

March 11, 2016 at 9:00 PM

Wow, why the extreme vitriol?? Is it your view that anyone who believes something you believe to be incorrect is "lying"?? "Traumatic brain injury"?? Really?? Do you even know anyone with that affliction? Apparently not, for you to use it so cavalierly, in such an insulting manner. There are many kinds of "ignorance"" and I suspect that you are ignorant of the fact that you need to go to bed and sleep it off.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that you are simply lying since I know a several universities that will be involved in a bid. "Would be a good fit for NMSU," in fact NMSU in a consortium of universities is very likely to be one of the teams. Why on earth do you stick so militantly to your ignorance? What the hell is the matter with you, has blog posting been recommended to you as a kind of occupational therapy for a traumatic brain injury or something?

March 11, 2016 at 9:00 PM


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the "best and brightest" from LANL on full display for all to see.

Anonymous said...

"No it is not. LLNL runs just fine under the llc.?"


And that, ladies and gentlemen, tells you all you need to know about our utterly batsh*t crazy and out of touch this LANL hater is full display for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Bechtel hasn't been a real problem at LLNL. Prior to Tom Giaconda they threw a bunch of mediocrities at LLNL but they were mostly harmless. Giaconda is very good. Also, both Miller and Albright, and also Goldstein, have been allowed to put the best available in to jobs. So, the only "reserved to Bechtel" job is Giaconda's. If you asked those Directors what their biggest problem with the llc was, I am certain they'd say it was that their interface with UC was a clownish but high maintenance regent and not the UC president, as it had been before the llc.

Anonymous said...

March 12, 2016 at 8:55 AM needs to repeat lower level elementary school English.

Anonymous said...

March 8, 2016 at 9:21 PM

When did Sandia go to "not for profit"???

http://nnsa.energy.gov/aboutus/ouroperations/apm/perfevals/sandiaperfevals

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere in this blog about Bechtel punishing LANL. I would like a few bullets on how? I really haven't seen much change at LANL in the 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Bechtel is used as the whipping boy (part of the NNSA plan) but they did not take the top spot and did not change much at LANL, why? (UC still in control at the top, no major changes to the organizational structure, most top positions occupied by DOE Lab Lifers (LLNL, LANL), etc.)

Anonymous said...

Bechtel is used as the whipping boy (part of the NNSA plan) but they did not take the top spot and did not change much at LANL, why? (UC still in control at the top, no major changes to the organizational structure, most top positions occupied by DOE Lab Lifers (LLNL, LANL), etc.)

March 13, 2016 at 7:29 AM

Maybe their mistake, like others on this blog, was believing nothing was wrong with LANL.

Anonymous said...

March 13, 2016 at 7:29 AM

Having worked closely with most of the LANS leadership since transition, this is a good reflection of the organization. The poorest leaders have turned out to be the UC lifers: McMillan, Wallace, Bishop, Leasure, and Knapp all led the downward death spiral. In contrast, some of the best leaders came from outside UC. They were uniformly despised by the lifers, but generally received high praise outside of LANL. Van Prooyen, Mallory and Reese top this group.

One outlier was Mara, a LLNL lifer, who understood that LANL indeed had a very different culture and was able to manipulate that to his advantage.

Anonymous said...

"They were uniformly despised by the lifers, but generally received high praise outside of LANL. Van Prooyen, Mallory and Reese top this group."

I am not saying I disagree with you about your lifers theory, however all three of the people you have named are more disposed than the people you listed. You do know how it ended with Reese, not good. Something also went very strange with Van Prooyen as well. Never heard anyone say anything good about Mallory. Reese was something special.

Anonymous said...

>Maybe their mistake, like others on this blog, was believing nothing was wrong with LANL.
>March 13, 2016 at 7:42 AM

The real mistake was getting it wrong about "what was wrong with LANL" The most convenient thing to say what was wrong with LANL was the "scientists themselves" and that is why it failed. LANL has a lot of problems but the scientists are not one of them.

Anonymous said...

LANL people should have their own blog

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