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This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog authors serve as moderators. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nuclear lab shutdown endangers US arsenal

Sunday June 18, 2017 07:32 PM - Associated Press

An extended shutdown of the nation's only scientific laboratory for producing and testing the plutonium cores for its nuclear weapons has taken a toll on America's arsenal, with key work postponed and delays looming in the production of components for new nuclear warheads, according to government documents and officials.

The unique research and production facility is located at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico, the birthplace of the U.S. atomic arsenal. The lab's director ordered the shutdown in 2013 after the Washington, D.C., official in charge of America's warhead production expressed worries that the facility was ill-equipped to prevent an accident that would kill its workers and potentially others nearby.


Parts of the facility began renewed operations last year, but with only partial success. And workers there last year were still violating safety rules for handling plutonium, the unstable man-made metal that serves as the sparkplug of the thermonuclear explosions that American bombs are designed to create.

...Kevin Roark, the spokesman for the consortium of firms hired by the government to run the lab, said in an email that he would defer to the NNSA's response. Charles McMillan, the Los Alamos lab's director since 2011, who receives government-funded compensation exceeding $1 million a year, declined to be interviewed about its safety records or the national security consequences of the shutdown. But he said in a 2015 promotional video that "the only way" the lab can accomplish its vital national security mission "is by doing it safely."...

www.readingeagle.com/ap/article/nuclear-lab-shutdown-endangers-us-arsenal 

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Over $1 million in compensation per year and Charlie "GQ" McMillan won't do interviews? 
What's he being paid for? To stand around and look pretty?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Um, run the Laboratory?

Anonymous said...

Made Washington Post, too.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/safety-lapses-undermine-nuclear-warhead-work-at-los-alamos/2017/06/17/87f051ee-510d-11e7-b064-828ba60fbb98_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_losalamos-6pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.da6e59a42bcf

Anonymous said...

Um, run the Laboratory?

June 18, 2017 at 10:35 PM

Um, no he is there to make profit for the LLC. And no he does not make 1 million a year, more like 2+ million a year.

I think it is in the LLCs best interest to keep this facility shut down since there is little downside in terms of profit in keeping in closed, maybe they get dinged 5% or so, however if they start running again they will could risk an incident which would cost them alot more money and money is the only driver in this case. By they way did you ever ask yourself why they now have so few experts in this kind of work? It may have something to do with the new managers brought in after the contract change. Just saying. Indeed LANL is mess but why do you think it is a mess now? Hint it has nothing to do with cowboy scientists.

Anonymous said...

Makes the political decision to remove Pu operations from LLNL more questionable. I remember a Lab manager saying back when de-inventory was announced that the US nuclear weapons program was at risk of having all of its eggs in one basket. LLNL's SuperBlock should have been retained as a capability to produce 1-2 pits a year as a backup to LANL.

Anonymous said...

The numbers just do not add up for keeping LANL as the production line. They have made a few parts total in the last decade and it costs 2 billion plus per year to keep the place afloat. Just does not make money sense to try to return to full scale production there and that may be why NNSA has started finding alternatives to LANL and all of its well known problems.

Anonymous said...

I think it is in the LLCs best interest to keep this facility shut down since there is little downside in terms of profit in keeping in closed, maybe they get dinged 5% or so...

June 18, 2017 at 10:39 PM

You do know that LANS LLC has already lost the contract for poor performance. No more money, no more LANS. I think that's quite a "ding."

Anonymous said...

The UC led LLC has been a disaster for the country. What kind of screwed up logic ever said it might be a good idea to put any university in charge of a manufacturing facility?

Anonymous said...

What kind of screwed up logic ever said it might be a good idea to put any university in charge of a manufacturing facility?

June 19, 2017 at 9:22 AM

You don't actually know much about LANL, do you?

Anonymous said...


The UC led LLC has been a disaster for the country. What kind of screwed up logic ever said it might be a good idea to put any university in charge of a manufacturing facility?

June 19, 2017 at 9:22 AM

This sounds utterly logical except for the fact that it makes now sense. For example UC it seemed to run this facility very well from 1945 to 2005, that is 60 years, and than it goes under a "BECHTEL LEAD LLC" and wam it goes straight to godam hell in in less than 6 years..LESS THAN 6 YEARS. "Another problem is that LANS is UC lead", Sorry but LLNL/LANL are Bechtel lead and every one knows that by now, there is no overlap with LANL from 1945-2005 with 2005 to present. By now it is very VERY CLEAR what the hell went wrong. Let us refine your thoughts for you , so what you are really saying is that the idea of making any NNSA/DOE lab an LLC has been a disaster for they country. What kind of screwed up logic ever said it would be a good idea to put a for profit at any cost private company in charge of running a DOE lab. Making LANL and LLNL for profit LLCs was a total mistake for the nation. Ok with that clarification you have a very good point. Thanks for your insight, it may be a bit clumsily but we on the blog can help get your real point across.

Anonymous said...

Someone is going to get an admonishment from our new mod.

Anonymous said...

Actually 9:22 AM has a very clear point, for those that know what they are talking abuout. UC operated a Laboratory and Rocky Flats was the manufacturing facility during the Cold War. Now that production for the stockpile has been moved to LANL it makes no sense at all to have that activity run by a university.

Anonymous said...

The manufacturing function of LANL, even if it were actually occurring, which it is not, would be a small fraction of LANL's activities in research and development not related to nuclear weapons. UC does not "run" that function anyway, Bechtel does. (And Bechtel runs absolutely nothing else at LANL.)

Anonymous said...

"Lies all lies!" Craig Leasure

Anonymous said...

Poor Craig, last man standing.

Anonymous said...

Or 500

Anonymous said...

It is yhe only place to do it since Rocky Flats was retired and California snowflakes protested B132 to impoyence...Russia, China, France,Great Britan, North Korea,Pakistan,India, Iran, Isreal,South Africa,Switzerland, Japan, the ..stans and South Korea, Australia and Canada are understandably rekuctant to lend ud theirs since oir sagety record is so bad...

Anonymous said...

There is almost no non-UC LLC presence at LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Leasure sent an e-mail to LANL "all hands" yesterday bitterly disputing every aspect of these reports. His tone was of Trump, with the exception of stating "fake news". I wonder who Craig voted for? Hmm..

Anonymous said...

June 20, 2017 at 6:12 AM

Yes there was lab wide mail sent. It was the usual junk that no one believes. I also don't get why you need to bring up a voting record since I am sure there are plenty of incompetent corrupt idiots that voted for Trump, Hillary, Sanders, and so on.

Anonymous said...

Bechtel runs everything at LANL.

June 19, 2017 at 2:25 PM



Bechtel runs nothing at LANL.

June 19, 2017 at 5:55 PM



ABC
Nanos called it right.

Anonymous said...

Poor Craig. His lack of integrity, technical skills, political savvy, and common sense finally caught up with him.

Anonymous said...

I knew Craig when he was Scott Gibbs' gofer. He had absolutely nothing on the ball. A complete loser who got his position from friendship and loyalty only.

Anonymous said...

Looks like any hope of a contract extension for LANS is gone now?

Anonymous said...

I still remember moving his head (that hallow gourd above his shoulders) in unison with Bret Knapp to ensure Bret knew that he (Craig) agreed with everything that Bret did and said. Craig was Knapp's organ monkey. It goes without saying that Craig he is way over his head as the PAD for Operations.

Anonymous said...

Wow Mike, bitter much?

Anonymous said...

The manufacturing function of LANL, even if it were actually occurring, which it is not, would be a small fraction of LANL's activities in research and development not related to nuclear weapons. UC does not "run" that function anyway, Bechtel does. (And Bechtel runs absolutely nothing else at LANL.)

June 19, 2017 at 5:55 PM

Bechtel does not run that function. AECOM does.

Anonymous said...

Looks like any hope of a contract extension for LANS is gone now?

June 20, 2017 at 8:25 PM

LANS will get extended for one more year. Contract cycle dictates it at this point.

Anonymous said...

LANS will get extended for one more year. Contract cycle dictates it at this point.

June 21, 2017 at 8:44 PM


I heard that it may still go down this and be very fast, but with the latest in Nevada who knows.

Anonymous said...

The manufacturing function of LANL, even if it were actually occurring, which it is not, would be a small fraction of LANL's activities in research and development not related to nuclear weapons. UC does not "run" that function anyway, Bechtel does.

June 19, 2017 at 5:55 PM


It has already been corrected by another poster that, in fact, Bechtel does NOT run that function.

As many posters in many threads have pointed out before, everything that happens at LANS is on UC - no matter which part of the lab operation has the screw-up. That is what comes with the role of being the majority partner, selecting the Lab Director, having the Chair of the Board, pulling in the majority of the annual fee, etc.


The error in the post is compounded by a lack of understanding of the role of LANL in the national lab landscape. LANL is a NNSA lab, with primary responsibility to the nuclear weapons program. There are other DoE labs that have their primary responsibility as R&D in other, non nuclear weapons areas.

Anonymous said...

Just the drivel of enemies and pinko anti-nukes. Make bombs not love.

Anonymous said...

LANL is a NNSA lab, with primary responsibility to the nuclear weapons program. There are other DoE labs that have their primary responsibility as R&D in other, non nuclear weapons areas.

June 22, 2017 at 4:38 AM

NNSA's responsibilities, carried out at LANL, also include non- and counter-proliferation, nuclear weapons arms control and verification, nuclear forensics and proliferation detection, etc.

Anonymous said...

June 22, 2017 at 4:38 AM

I know you hate UC for whatever it did to you before the contract change but UC has nothing to do with recent screwups at LANL. It is Bechtel baby. Just ask yourself this simple question, who well was the lab run before the contract change as compared to after the contract change.

Anonymous said...

June 22, 2017 at 6:25 PM

Those are secondary and fall far below the primary responsibility, but you already knew this and were only attempting to divert the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Hey 1:00 AM,

Here's a transcript from a congressional hearing in 2005, before LANS won the contract but after the decision to put it up for bid.

The question of whether the labs have improved since then is separate. But there clearly was a perception that the lab was being poorly run. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-109hhrg21634/html/CHRG-109hhrg21634.htm

Anonymous said...

UC may have done an adequate job at LANL up until the time of Browne, but from that period onward they were not up to the task. The end of Hecker's tenure corresponded with about the end of UC competence at LANL.

Anonymous said...

I know you hate UC for whatever it did to you before the contract change but UC has nothing to do with recent screwups at LANL. It is Bechtel baby.

June 23, 2017 at 1:00 AM

Sorry, what is "Bechtel baby"??

Anonymous said...

"But there clearly was a perception that the lab was being poorly run."

There never was a real perception but simply a hyped up perception in order to privitize the whole thing. A very simple example of this is that LLNL was also privitized along with LANL. Even if you buy into the perception thing than there was no reason to privitize LLNL, but they took advantage of the situation. It was always about money and that was it.

Anonymous said...

As Charlie likes to say: "Follow the money".
He sure did.

Anonymous said...


Bechtel baby!!!! Hang with the winners for some real $$$$. We came, messed up the place, and made good money in the process. That is how it is done, how it should be done and how it was done. Millions and millions. Bechtel baby indeed, INDEED!!!

Anonymous said...

Again, what is "Bechtel baby"???

Anonymous said...

Again, what is "Bechtel baby"???

June 25, 2017 at 6:23 PM

Bechtel baby is BECHTEL BABY! It is $$$, attitude, instinct, and winning. You get with it or you get out, go big or go home. It is world wide and dropping the mic, doing victory laps and them some. It is Bechtel Baby you know it or you don't. It is going for the midterm get in for 5-10 years, get the spoils and move on to the next, but place some operatives for the slow FUNNEL. It is Bechtel Baby, play it, do it, win it. It is Vibrant, UNREAL, contagious, ALIVE,... it is the VUCA many times over and under. It moves mountains, build tunnels, and is essential, it follows the money, grabs it, and the money lets Bechtel grab it. It is Bechtel baby!!! there is no ??? to it nor can the be because it is essential. Bechtel baby, you get it you or you don't and some have gotten it very well and played it well.

Anonymous said...

Man, you are really sick. You do know that LANS has lost the LANL contract and Bechtel is gone? Bechtel ByeBye!!

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