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. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Interesting new Website...

Interesting new Website...

www.deprivatizethelabs.org

"The privatization has placed the LANL and LLNL science and engineering missions in jeopardy. The focus has shifted to meeting the contract performance goals and earning maximum fee, resulting in less tolerance for the open debate and discussion that is necessary both for good science and engineering and for regulatory compliance. The changed environment has affected careers through program misdirection and loss of trained personnel, and has escalated a decline in science and engineering productivity. Both Labs have suffered from a decline in recruitment and a continued loss of senior people. All of this has happened while costing taxpayers an additional 300-400 million dollars per year, more than half of which is in management bonuses."

UPTE meets with public about LANL contract change

UPTE meets with public about LANL contract change

By Tris DeRoma
Los Alamos Monitor
Friday, April 28, 2017 

Representatives of the University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE), which has a chapter at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, urged people at a town hall meeting to help it make changes to the laboratory’s management and operations structure.

“We put together this panel to initiate this discussion, which we hope will turn into an ongoing discussion over the next number of months as the requests for proposals for the next LANL contract is being composed and created within the DOE (Department of Energy) and the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration),” said UPTE System-wide Executive Vice President Jeff Colvin.

When the lab’s operations and management contract comes up for rebid sometime this year, UPTE is hoping a non-profit entity takes it over, instead of a for profit entity, which is what the lab has now under Los Alamos National Security LLC. Representatives at the meeting told the audience the for-profit model has led to a LANL being a national lab without a sense of mission, like it had in the days of the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.

“The ironic thing is that industry was brought in to organize the labs and make them more efficient,” UPTE Tri-Labs Task Force member Mike Fluss said to the audience. “The consequence has been is that industry has brought in chaos and has made the lab more expensive.”...

...“What has happened has become a place where managing the physical plant, it’s called tactical management, has been emphasized at the expense of, rather than for, the mission focus,” Fluss said. “Short term milestones and box checking have taken over, and this has resulted in a loss of focus on mission success and a focus on profit first, safety and environment second.”

Recommendations from the UPTE include the creation of a steering council that would be directly accountable to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and chaired by LANL’s director. The council would also include LANL scientists and engineers as members. Other changes include The DOE developing 10-year, long range plans for LANL, and a management structure would be built around those plans.

The plan’s more notable change would come with the millions of dollars of gross receipts tax the lab contributes to the state each year, which is then given to counties where the labs are located. If the DOE does decide on a not-for-profit contract, the state stands to lose about $200 million a year.

UPTE reps said under their plan neither the state nor Los Alamos County would be affected by the loss of the gross receipts tax.

“Any reduction for gross receipts taxes currently paid to the state of New Mexico should be compensated by substantially equivalent contribution to New Mexico educational institutions and local governments in consultation with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities,” a statement in the UPTE proposal said.

Also on the panel at the town hall style meeting was the regional coalition’s executive director, Andrea Romero.

The RCLC recently drafted state legislation that should the contract go to a non-profit, the state’s $200 million in gross receipts tax revenue that comes from New Mexico’s National Laboratories would be secured...

...UPTE has voiced support for the gross receipts tax bill in the legislature as well.

At the end of the meeting UPTE officials urged audience members to go to their website at deprivatizethelabs.org and learn more and to sign up for mailings on future meetings.

“This was very good,” Colvin said. “This is just the start of the process. We will be back as the process unfolds.”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

SNL to Honeywell

This week marks the turning over of the keys for SNL from Lockheed to Honeywell. From all reports it has gone very well so far and NNSA is moving forward with transitions at other sites as well.

Has anyone seen any indications that there will be a delay in the final SNL hand over date?

UC Audit

Napolitano and UCOP called out for $175 million in hidden slush fund and tampering with audit reports to hide facts



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California administrators hid $175 million from the public, its governing board and lawmakers in a secret reserve fund even as the UC raised tuition and asked the state for more funding, the state auditor said in a scathing report released Tuesday.

Auditor Elaine Howle said the office of UC President Janet Napolitano also overcharged the system's 10 campuses to fund its operations, paid its employees significantly more than state employees and interfered in the auditing process.

"Taken as a whole, these problems indicate that significant change is necessary to strengthen the public's trust in the University of California," Howle wrote in the report.

The audit found that over the course of four years, the UC's central bureaucracy amassed more than $175 million in reserve funds by spending significantly less than it budgeted for and asking for increases in future funding based on its previous years' over-estimated budgets rather than its actual expenditures.

"In effect, the Office of the President received more funds than it needed each year, and it amassed millions of dollars in reserves that it spent with little or no oversight," the report said


https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-04-25/audit-university-of-california-hid-175m-in-secret-fund

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

LANL union to host town hall

LANL union to host town hall meeting Wednesday
By Tris DeRoma
Friday, April 21, 2017 

A union that represents some scientists and technical workers that work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory will host a town hall-style meeting Wednesday in Los Alamos to discuss the upcoming contract transfer.

The Department of Energy’s rebid process for the lab’s management and operations contract, currently held by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, is scheduled to start in the late spring or summer. The union, the “University Professional and Technical Employees,” is advocating for a non-profit company to take over the contract.

Members of the community are invited to the meeting.

“This is really organized as a true town hall meeting, where we want input from stakeholders,” said Jeff Colvin, executive vice president of the union. “Stakeholders are basically every employee at the laboratory and people who live in the local communities. Everybody is a stakeholder in the success of the laboratory. We want to hear from them.”

Colvin and others plan to attend to provide as many answers as they can.

“They will know what’s going on, as far as we know, concerning what the bid process is about, what the timeline is, and to have their say in what they’d like to see happen in this upcoming bid process,” Colvin said.

One of the issues that will probably be brought up at the meeting is the gross receipts tax issue.

LANS is a privately held, for-profit company, and as such pays millions of dollars of gross receipts tax to the communities LANL serves, including Los Alamos.

If a non-profit company is awarded the management and operations contract, Los Alamos County is at risk of losing millions of dollars in revenue.

UPTE favors a non-profit company management model, saying the for-profit model has stifled innovation in technological and scientific discovery at LANL.

“We hope to recruit more people who want to take a more active role in helping us influence the RFP (request for proposal),” Colvin said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Also attending the meeting will be representatives from the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities. The coalition represents the priorities and voices of people from LANL’s surrounding communities, and often represents those interests in the New Mexico State Legislature and Washington, D.C.

The RCLC has written and endorsed state legislation that would preserve the gross receipts tax function, even if a non-profit entity was awarded the contract. The bill did not get a reading during this legislative session.

UPTE also approves of the idea. The RCLC’s executive director, Andrea Romero, said she thinks both sides can come together on a mutual understanding.

“The reality for us is if a for-profit contractor that can do the job well, meet all the demands that UPTE’s requesting specific to their workforce and the public interest… we just want the best people for the job,” Romero said. “We aren’t necessarily aligned on the deprivatization of the laboratory, we are leaving that up to the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) to be the best judge of. Whether you’re for a profit or non-profit, we want the best manager for the laboratory… Having a blanket deprivatization to us doesn’t necessarily solve some of their problems. It’s about what’s in the guts in the proposed plan of the next contractor.”

The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at UNM-LA, Wallace Hall, Building 5.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Plutonium fire

  1. Fire in plutonium facility sends employee to hospital.

    With a headline like this, someone is sure to get called to Congress for hearings. Would be entertaining if it was Napalitano and Pattiz that had to do it for the UC led contractor!

  2. Comment
  3. No one in Congress or NNSA believes that UC is in charge of anything at the labs. In fact, you might be the only hold out who hasn't gotten the memo.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Small fire

  1. LANL reports fire at plutonium facility
    By Edmundo Carrillo/Journal North
    Friday, April 21st, 2017 at 5:47pm
    SANTA FE — A small fire broke out in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plutonium facility Wednesday and caused minor injuries, but a lab spokesman said no radioactive materials were involved in the incident.

    The fire started around 10 a.m. during cleanup activity. Lab spokesman Kevin Roark said the blaze involved a pyrophoric metal material, which can spontaneously overheat in the presence of oxygen, but it was quickly put out. Roark said no radioactive substance was involved, but said the material that ignited is still under investigation.

    One employee was taken to the hospital with finger burns and was later released. The facility was not damaged and resumed normal operations Thursday, Roark said.

    The plutonium facility is part of the lab’s Technical Area 55.

    https://www.abqjournal.com/991580/lanl-reports-fire-at-plutonium-facility.html
    Comments:

  2. .



    Cowboy scientists!!!! I told you this is an out of control cultural zone of arrogance and hubris by scientists and engineers who think they are above it all just as Bodman said. How can you deny these real FACTS staring right at you?

Klotz speech

Anyone have any insight from Klotz speech yesterday?

Women at labs

  1. LANL Website:

    "The only national laboratories that earned a spot on the Woman Engineer list of top government employers were Los Alamos (No. 14) and Sandia National Laboratories (No. 17)."

    KRQE News:

    "Women at Sandia Labs allege discrimination in federal lawsuit"

    http://krqe.com/2017/02/08/women-at-sandia-labs-allege-discrimination-in-federal-lawsuit/
    Comments:

  2. Really, a local liberal Albuquerque news headline as evidence of something? What a joke. Yeah, that's a great source of "facts." Aggrieved people can "allege" anything they want. Doesn't make it true. Whiners and crybabies (or in this case, crybullies) get all the press they want these days.

LANL & SNL

Headline banner on today's LANL website was about how LANL and SNL were the only two national labs that won awards last year for diversity in the workplace. Which two labs lost their contract? Looks like a perfect correlation.

Klotz replacement

  1. Who is going to replace Klotz?
    Comment:
  2. Admiral Jay Cohen was rumored to be in the running for NNSA several months ago.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Call for new LANL management

  1. An official call for new management at LANL will come out soon. This could be the opportunity to it right this time and crush the LANL cultural problem once and for all. Wording needs to be put in the contract that will allow the manager to do what needs to be done without question. This time they must not underestimate how clever the LANL people and not allow them to wait the next contractor out just as they did with LANS. They must anticipate that what normal people consider decent or undignified will not work on the LANL people who thing they know best. They will not respond to mere words, they will talk in the shadows, offsite, and on blogs. They have a history of showing contempt for the corporate management and this must change and change must be forced and the new contract must allow the next corporation to leeway to force it. LANL has been given every chance and has failed every time, so the next contractor needs to fix it or shut it down. To many it has seems unbelievable that such cultural problems have been so entrenched and persistant but we must realize that for 70 years these "people" at LANL have been told they are special, that they are smart, that they are doing things no else can do, that the work is vitally important and only they can do it, and these "people" actually believe it. If there is one thing that the next contractor must put above all else it will be culture and having the power to change the culture, but first it must know what it is really dealing with.

  2. COMMENTS

  3. April 17, 2017 at 8:13 PM

    Wow, you are really sick. You sound like a true Nazi. The LANL culture must be "crushed". "Change must be forced." "Fix it or shut it down." Your hatred for LANL employees is evident, but so is your insanity. If you think any company or university will bid on the LANL contract in order to use your proposed tactics on the employees, you are truly deranged. The first order of business for any new contractor will be to demonstrate continued scientific excellence and contract metrics met and exceeded. No contractor can achieve that with your idiocy. They would lose the contract on their first review. Neither NNSA, Congress, nor the country at large wants to see a LANL management that browbeats, "crushes," or demeans its scientific staff, which is in fact the best in the world (especially since you left).
    ReplyDelete

  4. 8:41 PM

    I do not disagree with out but have to remember what has been said about the labs.

    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.”"

    "I believe there is something about the Los Alamos culture that we have
    not yet beaten into submission… They exalt science and that's good. But ...
    they devalue security."
    NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks to Congress, 13 July 2004.

    https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200410/backpage.cfm
    Is there a “culture of arrogance” toward safety and security rules

    a belief amongst some very powerful people in Congress that academic culture and running a high security national laboratory are totally incompatible and scientists can't be trusted."

    Apparently a hypothesis has emerged that it is the long-standing scientific culture of Los Alamos that is responsible for the present situation at our institution.

    as Mr. Issa [Darrell Issa (R- CA)] points out, perhaps these people don't realize, these intellectual nuts or whatever they call them, these people don't appreciate the sensitivity of what they're working on because they work with it all the time."

    " Another Committee member's comments seem to condone the use of fear tactics: " I was an FBI agent before I did this in the late 80's.quite frankly I want a scientist afraid of these people. If they came wandering by, I want them worried that they're not going to be working there on something that they 've dedicated their lives to… "

    http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/bodman-blames-scientists-for-problems-at-los-alamos/

    Bureaucratic issues are not "at the heart of the problem," he told the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. "The heart of the problem is a cultural issue at Los Alamos."

    Asked by Representative David Loebsack (D-Iowa) to sum up the cultural impediment to security at the nuclear weapons facility, Bodman responded bluntly.

    "Arrogance," he said. "Arrogance of the chemists and physicists and engineers who work at Los Alamos and think they're above it all."

VSIP anyone?

VSIP in the near future? Inquiring minds want to know!

Flawed code story


Open letter to lab management about flawed code

http://www.independentnews.com/mailbox/open-letter-to-lab-management/article_c69106b4-1a35-11e7-915f-7fd08f789ffb.html



Hmm, I cannot say anything about the viability of his claims for the code. Sometimes these people have a point and other times not. Perhaps his issues have been addressed by the community but he just refused to believe it. Of course maybe he has a valid issue that needs to be addressed.

However there is some interesting tidbits here.

"I was even told that (at least in my group) the appraisal of a scientist’s work rests strictly and solely on whether or not they had managed to obtain funding; not on the quality or incisiveness of their ideas. Yet, and with all due respect, the Director of the Laboratory has recently proclaimed LLNL to be a ``new idea’’ Laboratory."

This does seem to ring true. Does anyone want counter this? To be fair funding is
important and should and must be part of the evaluation however it should not be the "only" criteria for evaluation. The point of being funded is to do something not just to be funded however I would say under the current management it is only funding that matters. Why is this so? I would say because it is easy, takes less work, and there is no upside to rewording good results. Only rewarding funding and this goes against the concept of an "new idea laboratory".

Friday, April 14, 2017

APS News

  1. This month's issue of "APS News" arrived in the mail this week and the front page cover headline was "How African-American Women Succeed in Physics." Clearly the APS has moved away from promoting science and is now spending all of the dues collected to promote diversity and inclusion. In the process it has lost its once mighty clout as the lead advocate for science in Washington, and an important supporter of the NNSA physics labs is now relegated to just one more noisy voice in the crowd.
  2. Comments

  3. The dreadful lack of women in STEM educational fields, and the scary demographic trends regarding men vs women in higher education in general, might justify some of this, but the title (I haven't read the article) seems to indicate a truly unfortunate racial focus. How about "How Women Succeed in Physics"? Wouldn't that necessarily include African-American women? Not politically correct enough for whomever APS is trying to impress?

  4. If you are going to remove the race, why not the sex too. Just talk about the real issue, which is presumably, "How do under-represented minorities succeed in physics?" It's the same issues for all, starting with fewer role models who students feel they can identify with

ISIS bombing lamented

'March for Science’ Group Laments Trump’s Bombing Of ‘Marginalized’ ISIS Fighters

http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/13/march-for-science-group-laments-trumps-bombing-of-marginalized-isis-fighters/

NNSA to DOD


  1. Here we go, the first mention of moving NNSA over to DOD

    "Mulvaney declined Tuesday, when first announcing the plan, to say how many jobs, overall, the administration intends to eliminate.

    One possibility is moving the National Nuclear Security Administration from the Department of Energy to the Department of Defense."

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/12/trump-replaces-federal-hiring-freeze-with-surgical-cuts.html
  2. Comments 
  3. Bad move, obviously considered by people who know nothing about history. Millenials: if they didn't experience it, it doesn't matter.
  4. 9:32 is full of rhetoric and empty on facts. Mulvaney is hardly a millennial and he is closer to being a pensioner than he is to the college student.

    Moving NNSA from DOE to DOD will face the Congressional turf battles of some snowflakes losing oversight authority and Mulvaney knows what battle he is picking here. As a long term Member of Congress, he just might be crazy like a fox.
  5. It's not only millenials who know nothing about history.

Equipment theft

  1. Can't wait to see how the UC led team at LANL tries to spin this one.

    http://www.lamonitor.com/content/lanl-employee-pleads-no-contest-theft-tools
    Comments





  2. The rumor I keep hearing is that UC will not be part of any bid at LANL. In any case
    we can always blame of the culture of arrogant scientists on this.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The American Physical Society (APS) update

  1. APS is now an official partner and supporter of the March for Science! http://www.aps.org/about/marchforscience.cfm But when you read their mission page, you find politically correct drivel like this, "We acknowledge that society and scientific institutions often fail to include and value the contributions of scientists from underrepresented groups. Systems of privilege influence who becomes a part of the science community, what topics we study, and how we apply our work in creating new technologies and crafting policy. We recognize that, historically and today, some scientific endeavors have been used to harm and oppress marginalized communities....", and "The March for Science does not tolerate hate speech, bigotry, or harassment within or outside our community. Targeting individuals or communities with violent language, including statements that reflect racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, or any form of bigotry, will result in banning and/or blocking...." What has the APS become?
    Comments :
  2. "The March for Science does not tolerate hate speech, bigotry, or harassment within or outside our community........



    Sure it does......! It just has to be targeted at the right group.
  3. I cancelled my membership over this stuff, since they've gone crazy and they obviously don't need my money. Maybe the black-hooded anarchists in Berkeley will chip in to make up the difference.

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