BLOG purpose

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. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email

Sunday, December 31, 2017


Place suggestions for new topics here. Stay on topic with National Labs' related issues.

This space is not for comments on a post - i.e. do not reply to submission requests. Make your comments under approved blog articles. Any replies ( threads ) made in this suggestion box will not carry over to the blog article when a suggested topic is approved.

Friday, August 18, 2017

When Charlie met Janet.

Topic for Janet when she and Charlie have their mutual admiration meeting:

Please provide a list of all tangible contributions that UC has made to operating LLNL and LANL in the past 25 years. For each one listed clearly indicate how it was specifically unique to the UC.

Other posters welcome to offer suggestions.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hey moderators!

Hey moderators, if you want to persist in the inane rule about no comments on posts on this top post thread, why not just disable replies here? Your rule has never had any effect, and most times, people have plenty of time to read the relevant and cogent replies before you get around to (vindictively, it seems) deleting them. Understand the technical capabilities of a blog moderator? Or is Blogger just not set up to accommodate your whim? Just as a thought, how do multiple requests for new threads differ from comments on a single request? Why not just automatically make each new top post immediately a new thread? No need to sort comments. Just wondering. Actually, wondering about the need for moderators at all, except for profanity,which I believe is fairly automatic these days.

Steve Younger

For all the rumormongering that went on when he was named Lab Director, by all accounts Steve Younger and his team have done a good job of transitioning SNL leadership. Their model of full housecleaning of the previous L-M managers above the GL level looks to have been what was desired by NNSA. Anyone want to wager if Younger is making a behind the scene effort to duplicate the win at LANL?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Time to get serious

Anonymous Anonymous said...
It's time to get serious about modernizing US nuclear weapons, from the laboratories and explosive packages to the delivery systems and the command and control systems

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

LANL employees worried

LANL employees worried that next contractor will be forced to restrict retirement and benefits to 105% of industry standard

“That is the concern of folks that have invested a lot of time in the laboratory, what’s going to happen to my retirement, what’s going to happen to my benefits.” Jekowski said. “The way I read the draft RFP, they’re marching more toward industry standards for benefits packages. “There’s a rule of thumb that’s used now that bidders can’t offer more than a 105 percent of the benefits that would be identified by a statistical analysis by credentialed benefits providers.”

Another Near Miss at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Another Near Miss at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Lab Accident Sends One Person to Hospital

By Rebecca Moss | The New Mexican Aug 14, 2017 Updated 5 hrs ago 

A main electrical line was accidentally cut in a building at Los Alamos National Laboratory, sending one person to the hospital for examination, shutting down power for several hours and pausing work for some electrical employees from Friday through Monday, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pu contamination at UNM covered up by LANL

More on the story uncovered by the investigative reporter.

UC System President to address LANL staff

McMillan must be in real trouble, seeing that Napolitano is coming to pay a visit.

In the early days, UC had leaders that understood why it was important to the country that the strategic deterrent be guided by great scientists. There have not been any UC faculty comparable to Lawrence or Seaborg for decades at this point, and may never be again. The Saxon and Gardner eras of UCOP marked the beginning of the end of knowledge about and interest in nuclear weapons for the top leadership. The last serious intellect on the subject in UCOP was Jud King, and he has been retired for years. The great science leaders of decades past would be horrified to discover that someone such as Kim Budil was now in charge of UC stewardship for LLNL and LANL.

Opinion about commentors' anonymity.

The question has been raised regarding allowing or disallowing anonymous posts. I think a vehicle such as this blog provides an interesting and sometimes provocative channel for questioning the orthodoxy and culture at the labs. I suspect losing anonymity will damage that, and ultimately the blog will collapse as a result.

Certainly, there is the constant static of "I hate Bechtel," "things were so much better under UC when we were unaccountable," and "things would be better if NNSA and or Congress would only realize just how great albeit unproductive we are." Oh, and the ever present "why is LANL dominating an LLNL blog" -- which goes back to the death of the original LANL blog. I think that static is worth the openness the blog presents, and it can be easily ignored.

I am also a little surprised that the blog owner, who chose to operate in anonymity himself until he was safely retired and outside the reach of employment retaliation, would even ask the question. If anonymous posting is stopped, will Evil Echo then also be unmasked?

I would also bet you will get a quiet campaign of managers at LANL and LLNL to vote against anonymity.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Anonymous comments and posts: has the time come?


The Blog moderation team want to get your opinion on discontinuing anonymous posting. See upcoming poll.
Such type of posting encourages meaningless and inflammatory remarks and bravery. In addition, the team wants to be able to track and block any posters who violate blog rules. It is the team's intention to improve the contents of this BLOG and make it a platform for intelligent debate.
For those of you fearing "retaliation" for expressing your opinion, don't worry. You can create a gmail id  which does not reveal your identity.


Scooby and Evil Echo.

Bechtel was never worth a damn

UC is a far cry from it's former glory. Bechtel was never worth a damn. Given that, I'm sure the NNSA will find new and creative ways to encumber scientists with additional Government bureaucracy while putting inept Beltway bandits in charge of the US nuclear weapons enterprise.

Who runs Los Alamos?

Real Statistics, Who runs Los Alamos?

Board:3 UC, 2 Bechtel, 1 BWXT

Directors: 2 UC (Charlie and Dave), 1 Bechtel

PADs: 4 UC, 1 Bechtel

ADs: 11 UC, 1 Bechtel, 1 AECOM, 1 other

Question for Goldstein.

While gone a week on vacation, the blog has erupted with comments that split equal parts pro-UC/anti-Bechtel and anti-UC/pro-Bechtel. Sure this is all driven by the LANL contract, but those of us here at LLNL still work under the exact same partnership, with the exact same Board of Governors. 

Will the impending family divorce of the partners at LANL have a cascading impact on LLNL operations, employees and retirees?

It would be good if Bill put out a statement that clarified this situation for all.

Soon. a very very beautiful golf course in Los Alamos. In fact, the most beautiful!

LA County considers leverage of LANL GRT to build "one of the top 50 golf courses in the US"

Before going all out against this notion, it just may not be as crackpot as it seems. Perhaps the county is in cahoots with Donnie to build one of the greatest golf courses of all time, and put the presidents name in large gold letters on top of the clubhouse.

They do this every place they go.

Ok UC lead the labs for 60 year and things worked very well. LLNS and LANS lead the labs for 10 years and total and complete disaster. What is the new ingredient...Bechtel. The cultural change of turning the labs into money making scams is the Bechtel MO. There is plenty of books on this
and they have this down to an art form. They take over and leverage every possible profit they can out of a place and yes they pay off the upper managers. They do this every place they go.

Why blame Bechtel?

Following from the stacks and stacks of studies in the recent years, the quality of science has declined at LANL. Since LANL science is 100% led by UC, how is it that Bechtel keeps on getting blamed for this decline?

Oakridge official convicted of murder.

Oak Ridge counterintelligence official convicted of murder.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Senator Claire McCaskill letter to NNSA

Senator Claire McCaskill letter to NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz raises "extensive safety violations and chronic problems" at LANL, and states that numerous NNSA contractors "have not been held accountable in a meaningful way" for "serious injuries, such as electric shocks, burning by acid or fire, and the inhalation of radioactive particles"

It all comes down to this

It all comes down to this

Finally, the state and local governments are concerned about the possible loss of significant tax revenue if the new M&O contractor is a nonprofit. In the event the new contractor is not subject to the state's gross receipts tax, we ask you to work with the State of New Mexico and local jurisdictions and seriously consider other options to maintain support for the cost of local services the NNSA relies upon.

Top award winners

Latest press release from OS on top award winners nationwide

Yet more evidence that the quality of science at LANL is not judged to be top shelf.

LANL fines of $10,000 per day

Report cites serious violations that could each cost LANL fines of $10,000 per day

Posted Thursday, August 10, 2017 3:33 pm
By Rebecca Moss
The New Mexican

“Due to the nature of the violations listed above and LANL’s history of noncompliance with 20.4.1 NMAC [the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act], NMED will propose a civil penalty for these violations,” the state’s letter says, adding that the lab could incur fines of up to $10,000 per day for each violation that goes unremedied.

The violations are among a continuing stream of issues that have called into question the lab’s ability to operate safely. In recent months, the lab improperly labeled shipments of hazardous waste sent to Colorado and sent a drum of plutonium to laboratories in California and South Carolina by airplane rather than ground cargo, a violation of federal regulations that launched a U.S. Department of Energy investigation into the incident.

The problems also have called into question the lab’s ability to handle increasing quantities of plutonium to build the softball-sized atomic cores of nuclear weapons as part of a growing demand to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal.,42320

N.M. Delegation Says Rebid Is Opportunity For DOE To Strengthen LANL’s Critical Role In Northern New Mexico

The letter has six points in it and none of them deal with why the US needs the Lab. Our Nation's enemies must enjoy reading this type of information on guidance to the DoE from congress on how to best manage a nuclear weapons facility contract competition. 

Production question

When did production ramp up at LANL? Is that a contributor to the decline?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

LANS misses yet another EM contractual milestone

Last Friday, LANL management informed the EM Field Office that they would not meet the
current contractual milestones for processing of RNS and the UNS wastes of June 30 and
September 30, 2017, respectively. Their current working schedule, which was adjusted using
efficiency data from the completed portion of the campaign, now projects respective completions
of December 22, 2017, and April 10, 2018. WCCRF management is actively engaging workers
for feedback on additional efficiency opportunities.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Listen up Trump!

State of the stockpile

Trump, on Twitter, sought to project American strength, trumpeting on Wednesday morning the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal that began under the Obama administration. “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” the president tweeted. “Hopefully, we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

Despite Trump’s boast, the nuclear arsenal takes decades, not months, to modernize.

North Korea forcing US tests?

Seeing how things are going in North Korea we might have a US test soon. Trump says the US nukes are stronger than ever, does he know Bechtel has been in charge for 10yr?

Both Brookhaven and Oak Ridge reducing headcount......are we next?!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pressure cookers

Whatever came of the pressure cookers that were still stored at LANL with organic kiddy litter in them? NNSA admitted to NMED that there were more of the drums packed with same waste as the explosion at WIPP that shut the place down for years and cost billions of dollars to clean up. What is LANL still covering up that is sitting on the mesa ticking and ticking and waiting?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Is LLNL competitive?

I might be getting an offer from LLNL. Can someone tell me the average/ expected annual raise and/or bonuses employees get? And does that apply to non-scientists as well?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Blunders at LANL

Investigation reveals that fire was preventable if LANL had just followed the rules

ABQ paper on continuing safety lapses at Los Alamos

Los Alamos National Security LLC, the corporation contracted by the federal National Nuclear Security Administration to run Los Alamos National Laboratory, seems incapable of providing the degree of safety the nation’s premiere nuclear lab requires.

Fortunately, the NNSA has opted against renewing the corporation’s multibillion-dollar contract beyond 2018 and released its draft request for proposals to manage the lab last month.

LANL’s oversight problems – ranging from a kitty litter packaging error that shut down the nation’s only permanent nuclear waste repository for nearly three years to improperly shipping nuclear material to other federal facilities by commercial cargo plane – continue.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Why does the lab (LANL) exist?

Topic of discussion among group of friends last evening related to shift of focus in why the Lab exists over the last 30 years. We all started early to mid 1980's and there was clarity that the sole reason for the Lab was to serve the Nation's interests. Even allowing for the halt in UGT, it seems that the general view is that the Lab now exists for a different reason. Some feel that is is now a jobs program for the region, some that it is destined to become a manufacturing plant a la Rocky Flats, while others see it as an applied energy Lab. No matter the perspective, the common view was that the Lab leadership since Sig has consistently failed to articulate a clear reason for why we come to work each morning. More importantly, no matter what the verbal or printed words from Lab leadership, their actions are indicative of seeking what is best for the Lab, vice seeking what is best for the Nation.

With the opportunity presented for a pending new contract, and presumably 100% turnover in upper level management, is it possible to return to the clarity of motivation, and daily action, for why the Lab exists?

Future of for-profit LANL

If the for profit model will remain for the foreseeable future, what can we do within this construct to make for a better Los Alamos National Laboratory?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Senator asks NNSA about PF-4 operational status...

Senator asks NNSA about PF-4 operational status and requests clarity on who paid for 3+ year stand down of work.

Good luck in getting the M&O contractor to pay for their screwups!

How is DoE doing under Trump?

Interesting article about how DOE is functioning under Trump

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Letter To The Editor...

Letter To The Editor: Laboratory Retiree Group Comments On NNSA Draft Request For Proposals

(A LLNL "Christmas Future"?)

LANL changes story on Pu shipping mistake

LANL changes story on Pu shipping mistake

When their initial story of attempting to blame LLNL for the mistake fell apart, LANL was left scrambling to come up with another excuse for who to blame.

When will LANL learn that the cover-up is always worse than the crime?

"Normally, a shipment of plutonium would take shape over the course of three months and be delivered by ground, Los Alamos's June 23 report to the NNSA said, "however, LLNL [Livermore] advised they needed this delivered within three days." But Livermore spokeswoman Seaver disputed Los Alamos's excuse for making the mistake. Seaver said, "We have a single point of contact here who worked with LANL [Los Alamos] regarding this shipment and at no time was any urgency expressed."

Asked about the discrepancy, Los Alamos spokesman Nerzig said in an email that "after a thorough internal investigation of the event, we found no evidence of time pressure to make the shipment." But he did not provide any other explanation for the mistaken shipment or explain why Los Alamos initially told the government that it was only responding to Livermore's urgent demands.

Referring to the incident, Nerzig emailed that "the Laboratory has acknowledged this as a mistake, taken an initial set of actions to address the situation, and plans on taking additional measures to dramatically reduce the possibility of something like this from happening again."

NNSA spokesman Gregory Wolf said the agency is looking closely at "the accuracy of initial reporting" by Los Alamos. He said a shipping facility employee had "failed to follow established procedures that would have prevented the improper shipments," and that a thorough review by the lab of what it was about to send out "was bypassed." In addition, checklists that FedEx requires customers to complete for dangerous goods "were not filled out properly," he said.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Blog features??

Hey Evil, is there a way on blogger to set up a notification on each thread when a thread is closed to comments, or when a thread contains new replies (say from the past 24 hours)? It is a little annoying to have to remember how many replies were posted to a thread yesterday, vs knowing at the top if there are new replies. Thanks.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The for-profit disaster

So they want a for-profit model. This has been a disaster for the last 10 year for LANL, NNSA and the United States. The lab does exist to give money to the county or to the state. Can the county name one thing that has been a benefit to LANL under the "for profit scheme", all it can claim is that it has given the county money but it has harmed LANL. One could argue that it might be better to close LANL than to continue LANL as a for profit. How would the county fair if they closed LANL? 

How about this, can someone from the council please provide one thing that the for profit model has done to improve LANL? Just one. This questions has been asked on this blog and in many other forums yet there has never been a single answer to the question. 

It is pretty clear the real issue the council is concerned about is the cash and not LANL. 
They could at least be honest about this.

Letter from Council Chair David Izraelevitz to NNSA

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

LLNL's Mark Martinez to lead Nevada Site Contractor

LLNL's Mark Martinez to lead Nevada Site Contractor
NewsLine 7/25/17

Mark Martinez, principal associate director of Operations & Business (O&B), is leaving LLNL to assume the role of president at Mission Support and Test Services, LLC (MSTS, LLC). MSTS, LLC was recently awarded the new management and operating contract for the Nevada National Security Site.

Martinez was congratulated by Lab employees at the Monday all-hands meeting for the Operations & Business Directorate.

The announcement was made Monday by LLNL Director Bill Goldstein in an all-hands for O&B.

"In awarding this contract to MSTS, LLC, the National Nuclear Security Administration made the very best decision they could possibly have made for the complex, and in choosing Mark to lead that site they made a remarkable and profoundly good decision," Goldstein said.

"From the point of view of the Laboratory, I think this is a real step forward for us and will represent a vast improvement in the way the Laboratory relates to the test site, which provides important support services for us," Goldstein said. "However, at the same time, losing Mark is quite a blow."

Martinez has made significant contributions to the mission of the Laboratory throughout his career. He has engaged in, and committed to, achieving operational excellence, while serving in a variety of programmatic and operational roles since joining the Laboratory in 1994. As a mechanical engineer, Martinez served in lead engineer capacities in the weapons program (B Division) for advanced development subcritical experiments, W80 secondary assembly and B61 drop test activities. He was assigned as a senior test director responsible for executing LLNL experimental activities at the Nevada Test Site, which encompassed comprehensive oversight of complex technical, construction, ES&H, quality assurance, security, external communications and other management functions for large-scale projects.

Martinez has held a progressive set of senior leadership positions at LLNL. He was the program leader for the Nuclear Materials Technology Program, the Nevada Experiments and Operations acting program leader and the deputy principal associate director in the Weapons & Complex Integration Directorate. He also led a multitude of special projects, including complex Incident Analysis Teams. Since Feb. 2014, Martinez has served as the principal associate director for O&B.

Goldstein praised Martinez's contributions to the Laboratory and wished him well in his new position.

"Mark took over an organization that had a vast number of strengths and only made it that much stronger," he said. "His commitment to continuous improvement and to find innovative ways to look at and implement operations at the Lab have been a strength that I and other managers of the Lab have been able to point to, lean on and rely on. I thank Mark for his exceptional service and commitment to the Laboratory and wish him the very best in this new important leadership role."

"I want to thank you for the kind words, but I really want to thank you for the privilege it's been to work as a PAD for this organization," Martinez said. "I remember coming to this Laboratory right out of college, and just seeing the difference in the people who hired me and all the people here at this Laboratory. I have always felt it's been a real privilege to work here. I have always felt very proud to be a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employee."

With Martinez's departure, Anita Gursahani, O&B deputy principal associate director, will serve as the acting O&B principal associate director, effective immediately. The position of the principal associate director for O&B will be posted and a national-level search launched.

Martinez will retire from LLNL effective July 28. He will start in his new position Aug. 1

Friday, July 21, 2017

First known name for Nevada.

LANS ratings decline across the board under UC leadership

The FY 12 - FY 16 annual performance evaluation reports for LANL are on the NNSA web site and the trends in every area are not good. For example, GS started out with 'excellent' ratings, then fell to 'very good' and recently was just above operations at the bottom of the list. UC and Charlie and his best available leadership team just were not up to the job of running such a complex organization in an acceptable manner.

Monday, July 17, 2017






USS Los Alamos

The committee notes that 2018 will be the 75th anniversary of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The committee further notes that people of Los Alamos, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Navy, have a 74-year relationship that spans the Manhattan Project through the creation of a nuclear Navy and to the sea-based leg of the strategic nuclear triad of the United States. The people of Los Alamos and surrounding communities have contributed to the Navy’s offensive edge since World War II, through the Cold War, that continues today. The committee believes that naming a submarine USS Los Alamos will recognize and continue to forge the longstanding relationship between the Navy and Los Alamos. Therefore, the committee urges the Secretary of the Navy to name the next nuclear-powered fast attack submarine the USS Los Alamos.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

No possible UC future at LANL?

FY 14 30% score for UC rules them out of any possible hope for contention on the Los Alamos upcoming contract. In addition they are the majority partner on the LLC and so the revoking of the contract falls more heavily on UC, no matter why it happened. They enjoyed the LLC while it lasted and got to pick their Director, got to pick their Chairman of the Board, and most of all got to rake in more than 50% of all the fee.

LANL performance stats

Looking at the recent last 5 years of NNSA annual performance evaluation reports for LANL on the NNSA website, if the science, technology & engineering (ST&E) goal component is attributed to UC and operations & infrastructure (O&I) to Bechtel, can anyone see Bechtel or a bidding team with Bechtel in it having a chance at the new LANL contract if this forms the basis for the RFP's past performance criteria.

  • ST&E (UC)
    • FY16: 95%
    • FY15: 92%
    • FY14: 30%
    • FY13: 95%
    • FY12: Very Good
  • O&I (Bechtel)
    • FY16: 74%
    • FY15: 49%
    • FY14: 0%
    • FY13: 49%
    • FY12: Good

Los Alamos Field Office future.

What is to become of the current NNSA Los Alamos Field Office staff when LANS is history for repeated poor performance? Will the same staff retain oversight responsibilities for the next LANL contractor?

"In order to provide oversight in the diverse areas associated with the LANL mission, the field office employs subject matter experts in such fields as physical and cybersecurity, safety, national security, nuclear facility operations, environmental protection and stewardship, radioactive waste management, quality assurance, business and contract administration, and project management."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Whistle blower found dead

July 14, 2017 at 2:17 PM

Wow this is just some crazy stuff, still think that story about being beat up at Cheeks in 2005 was really retaliation against a whistle blower? Also that Montano guy sounds like pure poison. You have to think that maybe the personal downhill spiral of Hook may have been more connected to meeting Montano rather than working at LANL. Pretty dam sad. 


The cap on fee in new contract from the LANL RFP is 1% fixed and 0.5% at risk. If LANL is at 2.5B per year, that translates to 25M fixed and 12.5M at risk, for a max of 37.5M. Considering just how messed up the place is, will be interesting to see what companies are willing to take on the job for this payment.

Also read that the winning team can be a university, consortium of universities, non-profit or not-for-profit institution. In all those cases, the NMGRT gravy train just comes to a screeching stop and the locals will have to return to living within their pre-LANS budgets

Former LANL whistleblower murdered in Arizona

Former LANL whistleblower murdered in Arizona

North Korea activity - not good!!

It seems that North  Korea has been making more SNM than estimates assumed. Combined with recent missile tests this does not bode well.

Reuters: North Korea may have more bomb fuel than thought - U.S. think tank

Story on SNL/LANS

Even though the reporter gets parts of the story incorrect on who runs SNL and who is the majority partner at LANL, this article is a pretty damming view of the entire process that lead to creation of LANS.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Draft RFP for LANL

Ok folks here it is the draft RFP call for LANL.

Document 1

Lots of stuff, some of the wording seems very very different from the last contract call. I am not a lawyer but maybe LANS can say they "reject" this call as being unfair to them and not keeping in the spirit of the original call from 2006. It also says the word "science" 40 times in a 50 page document which many in LANS will no doubt find insulting as that word should have only appeared 1 or 2 times. On the other hand the word "capabilities" only appears 24 times. Overall the words used in this document are rather different than the typical words used by LANS. It is rather obvious it comes from outside of the lab and has a different vision for the lab than what LANS had envisioned. Also one does not need to read a LANS purpose statement from an overpaid Saatchi and Saatchi guy to figure out what the possible purpose of the lab, as the purpose is laid out rather clearly in this document. 

What is not clear from a novice reading is how much the possible pay out per year the contractor can make such as if it is 100 million or so.

Document 2

Document 3

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Los Alamos disciplines employees

Los Alamos disciplines employees for lapses"
July 10th, 2017 

"Our response to this incident is not business as usual...Toward that end, all of those involved from the individual contributor level up the management chain have been held accountable through actions that include terminations, suspensions, and compensation consequences."

LANL makes changes

LANL makes changes in wake of botched nuclear shipments

Nationwide impact on science collaboration caused by LANL screwups

Hearing many reports that scientists can not get their scientific samples sent from LANL for experiments at other locations due to the revoking of all shipping permits by the feds. If this is as widespread as it seems, the ramifications on many scientists will be large for the mistakes of LANL in sending the nuclear materials by airplane and not by truck last month to both Livermore and Savannah River.

LANL employees bidding

Is there any potential for an LLC owned by LANL employees bidding on the Lab M&O Contract.

CH2M Hill which does work at various DOE and NNSA sites is an employee owned company, another is Parsons Engineering (100% employee owned), so it seems that this approach is not completely out of left field.

It would probably have to be initially organized by senior management type LANL retirees who understand the contracting business in NNSA/DOE, and have the time/personal financial resources to invest in the effort. 

An employee owned LLC probably has little chance of actually winning the bid, but it would make news and send DOE/NNSA HQ a clear message that employees at LANL are tied of being taken for granted. Without the skills/knowledge the 10,000 employees at LANL possess, the Lab would cease to exist - nothing more than several hundred empty buildings.

Protest withdrawal

Leidos has withdrawn their protest of the Nevada contract. The Northrup protest is still active.

Lazy culture

When are people going to recognize the FACT that the lazy culture at LANL, in the non-science areas, is the root problem.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Same old story.

The next LANL contract will be exactly like the old contract or even worse, there is no way they can move away from the LLC model as the state of New Mexico will not and cannot allow it. Maybe the actors will change but not the model and my guess is that it will be Bechtel again. LANL is a monetary white dwarf locked to a binary black hole system of corporate profit and state revenue and there is no force in the universe that stop such a system from collapsing until all the money is gone and the it is admitted that the lab can no longer function and must be shut down. It may last 10 years or more but this is it, all the players see it and are going to get as much cash as they can before the final implosion. The sad part is after it is all over people will ask "how could we have let this happen".

Employees lashing out

Don't like your group leader's evaluation of your performance? No problem, go into the parking lot at the Lab and take your anger out on the GL's car. Robert Winkel charged

Friday, July 7, 2017

UC Fees

I ran across the proposed UC fee distribution from LANS and LLNS income for 2016-2017 in the May 17, 2017 minutes of the UC Board of Regents National Lab Subcommittee. It was noted that the award fee to UC actually went up a bit; going from $23.1 million to $26.5 million for 2016. The UC subcommittee recommended the following:

  1. Contract Non-Reimbursable Compensation for LLC Employees in UC-Designated Key Personnel Positions = $2.2 million
  2. UC Office of the President Oversight = $4.9 millio
  3. Post-Contract Contingency Fund = $3.1 million (was $2.1 million)
  4. LLC Fee Contingency Fund = $0
  5. UC Laboratory Research Programs = $15 million (was $13 million) (including UC Graduate Student Fellowships at the labs) 
  6. Livermore Lab Foundation = $0.3 million
  7. Accelerating Therapeutic Opportunities for Medicine (UCSF-LLNL) = $1 million (was $0)

"Vice President [for Laboratory Management] Budil explained that each year her office estimates a budget based on anticipated fee income from the Los Alamos National Security, LLC and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. Once the actual allocation is received, the budget is brought back to the Regents for approval of the distribution of actual earned income from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The proposed amendment reflected the slightly higher fee income than originally anticipated in July [2016]. The increase would be allocated to three areas: a slight increase to the Post-Contract Contingency Fund; an increase to the UC Laboratory Fees Research Program, which includes a graduate student fellowship program; and an allocation of $1 million to a new collaboration Accelerating Therapeutic Opportunities for Medicine."


I find it curious that they added to the "post contract contingency" fund, I wonder if this is in anticipation of losing the LANL contract. Also it's nice that UC puts its money back into the Labs, as far as what the industrial partners like Bechtel do with their cut, anyone want to guess at how much comes back LANL or LLNL...

LANS breaking up for the rebid

LANS (Bechtel-UC) is breaking up for the re-bid of the LANL contract, and UC and Bechtel re-teaming with different partners, what does this mean for LLNS? 

Bechtel really has no appreciable involvement in LLNL operations and management (other than the Deputy Director being a Bechtel position), would UC drop Bechtel for the LLNL contract bid in a few years?

Given that UC is the official "managing" partner (aka lead) in LLNS, could it restructure LLNS and drop Bechtel before the next LLNL contract bidding

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rename Sandia?

Now that the Sandia Corporation is no longer running Sandia, shouldn't its name be changed?

Spin off pit production?

Now that NNSA is officially working on an RFP for the rebidding of the LANL contract, is this an opportunity to restructure and break it into two completely separate M&O contracts - one for the research/science work and one for pit production. 

This has been done before when LANL's Z Division was separated from the lab and became Sandia National Lab. I think a strong case could be made to merge a separate pit production M&O contract with the recently merged Y-12/Pamtex contract.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Safety, security and private management

Light penalties and lax oversight encourage weak safety culture at nuclear weapons labs...Explosions, fires, and radioactive exposures are among the workplace hazards that fail to make a serious dent in private contractor profits"

LANL O&M Contract Pre-Solicitation

Saturday, July 1, 2017

North Korea: Analysis

Excellent article in Atlantic magazine on North Korea. It’s based on interviews with US national-security experts and military officers specialized in the problem of NK, and looked at the four broad strategic options the US has for dealing with NK's nuclear program...

1. Prevention: A crushing U.S. military strike to eliminate Pyongyang’s arsenals of mass destruction, take out its leadership, and destroy its military. It would end North Korea’s standoff with the United States and South Korea, as well as the Kim dynasty, once and for all.

2. Turning the screws: A limited conventional military attack—or more likely a continuing series of such attacks—using aerial and naval assets, and possibly including narrowly targeted Special Forces operations. These would have to be punishing enough to significantly damage North Korea’s capability—but small enough to avoid being perceived as the beginning of a preventive strike. The goal would be to leave Kim Jong Un in power, but force him to abandon his pursuit of nuclear ICBMs.

3. Decapitation: Removing Kim and his inner circle, most likely by assassination, and replacing the leadership with a more moderate regime willing to open North Korea to the rest of the world.

4. Acceptance: The hardest pill to swallow—acquiescing to Kim’s developing the weapons he wants, while continuing efforts to contain his ambition.

It concludes with - "In short, North Korea is a problem with no solution … except time.

True, time works in favor of Kim getting what he wants. Every test, successful or not, brings him closer to building his prized weapons. When he has nuclear ICBMs, North Korea will have a more potent and lethal strike capability against the United States and its allies, but no chance of destroying America, or winning a war, and therefore no better chance of avoiding the inevitable consequence of launching a nuke: national suicide. Kim may end up trapped in the circular logic of his strategy. He seeks to avoid destruction by building a weapon that, if used, assures his destruction...

But acceptance, while the right choice, is yet another bad one. With such missiles, Kim might feel emboldened to move on South Korea. Would the U.S. sacrifice Los Angeles to save Seoul? The same calculation drove the U.K. and France to develop their own nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Trump has already suggested that South Korea and Japan might want to consider building nuclear programs. In this way, acceptance could lead to more nuclear-armed states and ever greater chances that one will use the weapons.

With his arsenal, Kim may well become an even more destabilizing force in the region. There is a good chance that he would try to negotiate from strength with Seoul and Washington, forging some kind of confederation with the South that leads to the removal of U.S. forces from the peninsula. If talks were to resume, Trump had better enter them with his eyes open, because Kim, who sees himself as the divinely inspired heir to leadership of all the Korean people, is not likely to be satisfied with only his half of the peninsula...

Although in late April Trump called Kim “a madman with nuclear weapons,” perhaps the most reassuring thing about pursuing the acceptance option is that Kim appears to be neither suicidal nor crazy...As tyrants go, he’s shown appalling natural ability. For a man who occupies a position both powerful and perilous, his moves have been nothing if not deliberate and even cruelly rational.

And as the latest head of a family that has ruled for three generations, one whose primary purpose has been to survive, as a young man with a lifetime of wealth and power before him, how likely is he to wake up one morning and set fire to his world?"


So I wonder if Japan and/or South Korea were to start a nuclear weapons program, what role the NNSA Labs play and would they potentially have a relationship similar to the one with the UK.

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