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.
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.