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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 author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Who is going to win?

So any bets on who wins a Bechtel-University of Texas LLC vs a University of California-Battelle LLC showdown on the LANL contract?

McMillan talk on managing

Watch Mcmillan talk about how LANS is 'managing' the contract transition


The new Sandia operator is requiring employees to sign what some are calling a "loyalty oath". Anybody got a copy? I hear some would rather leave than sign, others are simply not signing, and others are contacting their lawyers to figure out what parts of it may be illegal.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Economy slowing....budgets tightening......when can we expect to start hearing about a VSIP?

No one wanted to keep the present team.

Others may want to add in as they wish, but there were usual suspects at the NNSA bidders day. UC, Bechtel,BWTX, UT and others showed up to the event. About all that was clear is that no one wanted to keep the present team.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Any positives on UC?

A previous poster asked if anyone could give one positive contribution from UC to LANL in the past 20 years. No one listed any. Sure there are lots of negative ones from UC as well as from other partners. Are there any UC positives? Any at all??

Sunday, August 27, 2017

NNSA questions and responses to LANL draft RFP

NNSA questions and responses to LANL draft RFP to date (more responses pending):  NNSA's responses emphasize the RFP will be done by the book (i.e., federal acquisition regulations).

Questions and Answers August 11, 2017 Draft Request for Proposal DE-SOL-0011206 Los Alamos National Laboratory

Thursday, August 24, 2017

UT retrying

UT, a two time loser, is considering stepping up to the plate for a third swing

LANS hires another DDIR

Gibbs makes a comeback from retirement to try to save the end of Charlie's term. We now have 3 DDIRS, 5 PADS, 5 or more DPADS, 15 or so ADS and 15 or more DADS. Just one more layer of upper level management to feed from the overhead trough, with no value added.

Cost and safety at LANL

A U.S. senator has asked the National Nuclear Security Administration to report to Congress by Thursday on the costs and safety of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s weapons production program and, in particular, the potential for critical accidents.

In early August, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Frank Klotz, administrator of the NNSA, saying she had serious concerns about poor federal oversight and management of the laboratory and requesting a report.

SF committee mulls halt to plutonium program

City resolution would rescind state consent agreement for waste cleanup, halt LANL’s plutonium pit program

LANL Officials Present Update To Community Leaders

"..."We will remain strong through the transition as we work on what the Lab does on behalf of the nation,” he told more than 270 gathered for updates from McMillan, NNSA Los Alamos Field Office Manager Kim Davis Lebak and NNSA Environmental Manager Doug Hintze..."

DOE labs shouldn't be involved in fundamental science?

DOE labs shouldn't be involved in fundamental science?

That's funny, since LLNL was founded by Teller, who strongly believed that a strong fundamental research component was essential to the vitality of the lab.

Why? Good scientists want to work on real scientific problems, not figure out the reason why some piece of plastic is degrading inside a bomb. At the same time, they must be expected to work on practical problems of importance to the mission. As in any labor market, if you want top quality staff, you need to do what you need to do to attract them. That means having some fraction of their time devoted to good, original science.

The alternative is to hire people with no ambition, content to work on whatever is handed to them, in exchange for a paycheck.

Sorry, you don't want C students in charge of nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

One of the two dominate DOE EM clean up contractors merges with engineering firm

Either CH2M or Fluor have most of the environmental remediation projects nationwide, and this could be indicative of broader consolidation in the industry.

Commander of the US Japan based forces dismissed.

This morning's news reported that the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet had flown to Japan to personally dismiss the Commander of the US Japan based forces. It took a few days for this to happen after the recent ship collision close to Singapore. The official statement indicated that this was the second incident and confidence in leadership had been lost.

Why does this story have any relevance to the NNSA? Contrast the US Navy response with that of LANS. When repeated failures happened at LANL, there were no firings at the top leadership ranks.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Upbeat talk

Janet makes news at LANL by declaring that UC will bid for the continuation of the M&O contract

For all of the lab employees that started under the UC system, this is welcome news to hear. She was not forthcoming in her talk about who else would be brought in to run the lab. As everyone that survived the LANS years knows, the choice of corporate partners is what determines the workplace quality. Last time around, UC was so desperate to hang on to the contract that they chose partners unwisely and the result didn't turn out well for the workforce. 

Now the most important questions are what has UC learned from this mistake and how are they positioned this time around to make a better choice? Janet avoided these issues in her upbeat talk, but the employees deserve to have clarity on what UC has planned to address the gaping failure that was LANS.

Janet was great!

  1. Janet Napolitano gave a speech at LANL today. UC is definitely putting in a bid no sure who they are partnering with but Janet was very positive it was great talk.

  2. Janet has charisma and showed us what leadership looks like. Most impressive was her honesty, explaining how when she entered the job she had only vague understanding of the role UC plays in Los Alamos, and how her thinking evolved. She did not pretend to be somebody she is not. She sees the big picture, and that's for sure. I guess a resume that includes governor, DHS secretary, and UC president stands for something. Stark contrast with your typical lab upper level management.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bechtel & UC

If it wasn't for Bechtel, UC would have been gone 10 years ago. This is what we should blame them for.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


DOE has stated in various public forums that they want to move from a for profit model to a service oriented model. The for profit model seems to have failed so it seems reasonable to move to a more service oriented model such as found in PNNL, ANL, NIST, Fermi Lab, LBL, SLAC, BNL, NRL, NREL and so on. Why should the NNSA labs be different?

How competitive is LLNS as an employer?

In 2017, what attracts scientists and engineers to work and stay working for LLNS? Is it competitive pay, job security, benefits, interest in LLNL missions, other?

DOE moving away from for-profit lab management.

DOE has stated that they want to from from a for-profit model to a service model. The for profit model has failed at both labs. I you increase the fee you do not attract the best and brightest but the greediest and most corrupt. You also change the reason why someone would even want to manage the lab, is for money or the service to the nation. If it is for the money than how does that end, the manager will just see the lab as a way to make money and could care less about the country, it will act to maximize whatever money it can because it is managing the lab for money. If they could make big money selling the secrets to anyone who could pay and they if they could get away with it than of course they will do it, they want the money and that is why the want to mange the lab. The whole idea of a for-profit corrupts the whole culture and attracts exactly the wrong sort or characters. Norther New Mexico politicians only want the money and as much more as they can get and that is the only reason they want it to stay for profit at a high fee. I urge DOE to stand firm, the role of LANL is not to give money to Northern New Mexico, LANL serves the entire nation so do not endanger the entire nation just so some local politicians can get more money.

Will any competent contractors be willing to bid on LANL?

The indications are that several incompetent ones (UNM and UC come to mind) have signaled their intent to bid, and now would be a good time for DoE to make it worthwhile for competitive alternates.

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.

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