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

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


http://www.ladailypost.com/content/los-alamos-county-submits-comments-nnsa-draft-solicitation-lanl-site-management-and

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
ReplyDelete

Friday, July 21, 2017

First known name for Nevada.

http://www.ladailypost.com/content/lanl-associate-director-weapon-engineering-experiments-john-benner-accepts-msts-deputy-sitehttp://www.ladailypost.com/content/lanl-associate-director-weapon-engineering-experiments-john-benner-accepts-msts-deputy-site

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.

https://nnsa.energy.gov/aboutus/ouroperations/apm/perfevals/lanlperfevals

Monday, July 17, 2017

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018



R E P O R T

[TO ACCOMPANY S. 1519]

ON TO AUTHORIZE APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018 FOR MILITARY ACTIVITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, FOR MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, AND FOR DEFENSE ACTIVITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, TO PRESCRIBE MILITARY PERSONNEL STRENGTHS FOR SUCH FISCAL YEAR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES TOGETHER WITH ADDITIONAL VIEWS COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES UNITED STATES SENATE

p.39

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? 

https://nnsa.energy.gov/fieldoffices/losalamos

"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

https://www.abqjournal.com/1032896/exlanl-official-found-dead-in-tucson.html

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. 

Fees

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


https://www.abqjournal.com/1032896/exlanl-official-found-dead-in-tucson.html

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.


https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/dr-strangelove-and-the-los-alamos-nuclear-fiasco/

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."
https://www.abqjournal.com/1031150/los-alamos-lab-says-firings-other-discipline-meted-out-over-shipping-foul-up.html

LANL makes changes

LANL makes changes in wake of botched nuclear shipments


http://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/los-alamos-national-laboratorymakes-changes-in-wake-of-botched-nuclear-shipments-lanl/4539064/

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. 

https://www.nceo.org/articles/employee-ownership-100

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. https://www.gao.gov/docket/B-414750.1

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...

http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/minutes-index/index.html

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"
https://apps.publicintegrity.org/nuclear-negligence/light-penalties/

LANL O&M Contract Pre-Solicitation

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9eIrcyRIQxydElnRFFyemlzbkZlNVlvWHJpbzBHQnhzTERz&authuser=0

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?"

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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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