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Sunday, August 13, 2017

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

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

LANL is another Whittington's Longhouse - it doesn't matter much who operates the facility, its function remains the same.

Anonymous said...

This disproves the baseless assertion that Bechtel is in charge of LANL. Can we all agree that Bechtel is not in charge, never was, and just move on?

Anonymous said...

August 13, 2017 at 12:56 PM

Had to look it up, but that is most appropriate!!

Anonymous said...

Again UC ran both labs very well for 60 years. After the contract change things have been all downhill and the common thread is Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

Different UC managers are in charge of LANL now. They're MUCH poorer quality than the previous managers. Don't claim the current bunch of dunces are as good as before because you'll only get laughed out.

Wait, with your "blame it all on Bechtel because they are a private company" shtick, you're ALREADY getting laughed out.

Anonymous said...

"Different UC managers are in charge of LANL now. They're MUCH poorer quality than the previous managers. Don't claim the current bunch of dunces are as good as before because you'll only get laughed out"

We are all in agreement about the quality of the current managers being very poor. The point is why is it after LANS comes in how did we get such poor managers? One theory is that Bechtel made sure that these people would come in and be loyal. Another variation on this is that that these people where allowed to write the contract bid and of course they created terms that only benefited them and created a corrupted culture. It could be something like this: Bechtel guys say look we want to be in control so in exchange we let you write up the bid terms where you guys get huge raises, golden parachutes, no accountability and little work but you have to make sure we get all the perks we want as well to the ability to leverage profit. Look you come into some place like Darkest Africa to stripe mine a place and poison the water. The locals are against this but you find a few locals and pay them off to work for you and it all looks legit.

Ok it may sound a bit contrived but ask yourself this, how on earth did we end up with the current crop of managers? This simply cannot be a coincidence. Since the contract change the lab has more of a feeling of being a hustle or a scam and one giveaway that even managers know this is they try to have as little communication as possible and come across very uncomfortable when you ask them about how to improve things or what has gone wrong. They are not very subtle about it and just say "well things are just different now" and run out as fast as they can. Something is just not right and everyone knows it.

Anonymous said...

Something is just not right and everyone knows it.

August 13, 2017 at 8:31 PM



Sometimes the answer is not so contrived.....UC selects Charlie as Lab Director, and he is, at best, a B- caliber leader. Charlie proceeds to surround himself with managers that he is comfortable around, UC lifers that are C- caliber leaders. With that set of managers running the show for the past 6 years no one should be surprised at the state of affairs.


Face the fact that Charlie was the best available internal UC candidate for Lab Director and the rest is fully understandable. No one will know if it could have turned out better had UC gone with an external candidate for Lab Director; however, many astute observers predicted this outcome when Charlie was named.

Anonymous said...

August 14, 2017 at 4:40 AM

I agree with this but you say "UC selects Charlie as Lab Director" but just how do they select the lab director? My understanding is that they had a committee and many people on the committees where in fact LANL managers, so you have a kind of chicken or egg thing.

Anonymous said...

If 7:40 AM worked at LANL, then he would know that the committee was window dressing for a fait accompli.

Anonymous said...

8:31

Bechtel had no way to make sure that UC, the entity in charge, would pick such poor managers. No way at all.

Let's all agree that Bechtel was, and is, a minor player and move on.

Anonymous said...

8:31

Bechtel had no way to make sure that UC, the entity in charge, would pick such poor managers. No way at all.

Let's all agree that Bechtel was, and is, a minor player and move on.

August 14, 2017 at 10:06 AM

Not buying it, I say Bechtel was precisely why these people got picked and it was well worth their time since they had huge profit leverage. Do you work for Bechtel or something? The only person who thinks Bechtel has had nothing to do with this mess is you and I doubt you even believe this since I suspect you have some ulterior motive to post on this blog.

Think about it UC can run the labs well for 60 year pick good leaders and so on. Than the contract change and out of the blue they suddenly start picking bad managers? Nope this just does not add up. The question than is what changed during the contract and there is one answer Bechtel. Also why is it that LLNL had to go through a RIF when Bechtel came in? The idea that UC went completely bad in a course
of a single year is crazy. All you have to do read

The Profiteers: Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World
Sally Denton

Denton argues that the spy case against Chinese-American LANL scientist Wen Ho Lee was “trumped up,” in part to justify the government’s decision to privatize the labs’ operations. “Many things surprised me during my research, but a couple of things really stung,” Denton said. “One is the cruelty with which Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee was treated — shackled and in solitary confinement for 278 days without facing trial before being exonerated — and how his case was used to justify the privatization of the nuclear labs. In that same vein I was stunned at the stealth and alacrity with which the nation’s nuclear warhead complex was privatized under the George W. Bush administration, almost completely away from the spotlight. Which goes to the largest surprise to me: the ability of Bechtel to march across American history with barely a flicker of public scrutiny. I was astonished by the damage that can be done on the world stage when a corporation becomes so powerful and so closely associated with our public officials that it essentially wears the stars and stripes wherever it goes.”


March 30, 2012
Bechtel and Los Alamos National Laboratory: The Privatization of the Nuclear Industry

[EDITOR’S NOTE]: Nuclear Watch New Mexico recently filed a second lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act in the federal district court of New Mexico to obtain the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Performance Evaluation Reports for Los Alamos National Laboratory and all eight nuclear weapons sites in the country. The group first filed a FOIA request in January of 2012 and failed to get a response from the government. This new lawsuit seeks to find out why the government continues to award tens of millions of dollars of contracts to the Bechtel/University of California corporate consortium that has increasingly demonstrated mismanagement and waste. Below is a history of Bechtel’s long and sordid history of corporate profiteering and mismanagement around the world. (nuclearwatchnm@nukewatch.org)

Anonymous said...

August 14, 2017 at 11:05 AM

Man you are one seriously sick puppy if you believe any of that insane ranting.

Anonymous said...

The Bechtel managers are just as bad as the UC managers, the BWXT managers and the AECOM managers. End if discussion.

Anonymous said...

Bechtel had NOTHING to do with picking the UC managers who are in charge. NOTHING at all.

Why do you persist in retelling this laughable lie?

Anonymous said...

End if discussion.

August 14, 2017 at 7:53 PM

Well, since it wasn't a discussion, it isn't the end.

Anonymous said...

No matter how often or how loudly UC and its minions proclaim otherwise, Bechtel had zip, zero, nada to do with selecting the crop of buffoons running LANL under Charlie.

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth"

Attributed to both Joseph Goebbels and Vladimir Lenin.

Anonymous said...


Again I keep hearing rumors that Bechtel is putting in a bid and blaming UC and the scientists at the lab. It seems a bit far fetched however seeing that prof Bechtel and UC is to blame posters on the blog this rumor might have some truth to it.

Anonymous said...

"Hearing rumors" from whom?? Perhaps you should put your ears to different conference room doors, or maybe develop a better class of rumor-mongers. Or just get a little more common sense.

Anonymous said...

Who would want the LANL contract? 0.5% profit. All the downside risk. Its not like the community support or the reputation you gain by running the place buys you anything. This is a loser through and through.

Anonymous said...

Suggested motto for the upcoming UC bid team

We admit we failed when we ran LANL by ourselves, we admit that we failed when we ran LANL as the prime partner in LANS, but no one else has the decades and decades of hand's on experience that we do at LANL, and even in baseball you get 3 strikes; so, please give us one more chance and we promise to do better this time.

Anonymous said...

Unfounded anti-UC crap. Pissed that you went with LANS and missed out on your UC pension? You should be, but don't take it out on us.

Anonymous said...

We admit we failed when we ran LANL by ourselves, we admit that we failed when we ran LANL as the prime partner in LANS,

How did UC fail when they ran LLNL and LANL before 2005? If you look at the record I would say they ran both labs very...very well. Perhaps we should go back to that model if we actually take our deterrent seriously. Presumably during the cold war when we did take the deterrent seriously UC was the trusted manager. Perhaps we no longer take our deterrent seriously so the same bozos that cannot dig a tunnel, rebuild aynthing in Iraq and kill innocent people in Bolivia can be trusted to run the labs. Having such a incompetent manager of the NNSA Labs surely strikes fear into NK and all other enemies and that is why we do not hear anything about North Korea or Russia. Lets be honest, all empires die and history has shown that many die by a slow creeping corruption and the United States is no exception so in the spirit of corruption let us embrace the 60 years of total UC failure and the 10 year of glorious Bechtel success, let us also say loudly that everyone is replaceable, anything done done at LANL and LLNL can be done anywhere else on earth 1000 cheaper, 100000 times safer, 100000 times faster with only 10 people. In the end does it make any difference at all who runs the labs or how they run the labs? I think not, and we have to think about the funds for northern New Mexico so whoever can get the most money for the state is good because that is the only thing that is at stake. Anyone ever read the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? If you have you will understand why we must keep the labs a for profit enterprise at a 5-10 percent fee, with extra kick back money going to the town and the state. U Ra!

Anonymous said...

I have seen 30 years of LANL "events" and I can tell you the only difference now is that the problems make the news. Before, no one cared. Why? My guess is that now people want it to make the news to push their agenda. Whether it be "for profit is bad" or "cowboy culture needs reigning in", etc. You brought this to the lab through your hate. It is likely here to stay.

Anonymous said...

10:18 PM,

It's flat CRAZY to claim that UC ran the labs well before 2005. Pete Nanos was UC before 2005. He didn't run LANL well. In fact, he nearly destroyed the lab.

Also, no one EVER trusted Bechtel to run the labs. Bechtel was (and is) a minor player. UC has ALWAYS been the lead and principle partner. Even now.

10:18 PM, something is really wrong with you.

Anonymous said...

I have seen 30 years of LANL "events" and I can tell you the only difference now is that the problems make the news. Before, no one cared. Why?
"It's flat CRAZY to claim that UC ran the labs well before 2005"


Sorry I have to call BS on this since I was also around before the contract change. Again one has to ask what changed at LANL and LLNL after the contract change and the common element is Bechtel. You seem to have some clear agenda against UC which I can guess has something to do with you being fired before the contract change. You have
not "seen 30 years of LLNL or LANL" events. Also you keep focusing on LANL, do you think UC ran LLNL so badly as well?

"Bechtel was (and is) a minor player. UC has ALWAYS been the lead and principle partner. "

Although they are not listed as a the principle partner it does not mean they are a "minor" player. The whole culture of both labs changed rather significantly after the contract change. UC did not change but the new element was the for profit model and Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

August 19, 2017 at 7:35 AM
"Sorry I have to call BS on this since I was also around before the contract change. "

So was I. We used to say that about every year something was due to happen. Do you deny that people were seriously injured or killed before 2006 or did that just happen with the contract change? Do you deny that the production facilities ran non-compliant to the DOE orders, or did that just happen after the contract change? It is time to call BS on your BS.

Some references (not a complete list) so you can deny history with your rose colored glasses. Just recent ones to remain relevant. GAO report GAO-08-73 plus other sources....

April 1994: Safety violations close the lab’s plutonium facility at Technical Area 55.

January 1996: Workman Efren Martinez is electrocuted while performing excavation work at a technical area. Martinez, left in a coma for several years, dies from his injuries in 2009. His family later settles a lawsuit with the Department of Energy for $13 million, and the department cites the lab for substandard electrical safety measures.

Type A Accident Investigation of the July 11, 1996, Electrical Shock at Technical Area 53, Building MPF-14, Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Department of Energy, National Nuclear Safety Administration. Type A
Accident Investigation of the March 16, 2000, Plutonium-238 Multiple
Intake Event at the Plutonium Facility, Los Alamos National
Laboratory, New Mexico. Washington, D.C.: July 2000.

Department of Energy, National Nuclear Safety Administration. Type B
Accident Investigation of the August 5, 2003, Plutonium-238 Multiple
Uptake Event at the Plutonium Facility, Los Alamos National
Laboratory, New Mexico. Washington, D.C.: December 2003.

Department of Energy, National Nuclear Safety Administration. Type B
Accident Investigation of the Americium Contamination Accident at the
Sigma Facility, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, July 14,
2005. Washington, D.C.: January 2006.

Department of Energy, National Nuclear Safety Administration. Type B
Accident Investigation of the Acid Vapor Inhalation on June 7, 2005, in
Technical Area 48, Building RC-1, Room 402, Los Alamos National
Laboratory. Washington, D.C.: June 2005.

2005 contamination due to improper shipping and handling (spread across three states).

October 2006: Classified materials are found at the home of a contract employee during a drug raid. An employee takes home a computer containing hundreds of pages of classified documents; she is arrested.

Anonymous said...

How come you only mention things from 1994.

I would say from 2006 to present that you have many more incedents since.

Now suppose we buy your argument that nothing has changed, (which I do not), than you have to admit that nothing was
improved since than contract change yet we are way more expensive. At the very least if we go back to the UC only model we will be saving money.

A question that is often asked on this blog is to name one improvement at LLNL or LANL due to making it a for profit operation.
If no improvements can be provided than the rational thing should be go back to the previous model since it was at least cheaper.

It would also be good to get a similar list of incidents since the contract change, I think we will find that have actually increased which again points to getting rid of the current model and returning to the old one.

Anonymous said...

August 19, 2017 at 10:12 AM

August 19, 2017 at 7:35 AM here. This was just a sample. I agree it has gotten no better but the rhetoric is that it is the LLCs fault. I will give you two other variables to solution sets of why.

1) News cycles of today vs pre-2006 - It has always been like this but now the news is used to bolster one position or the other because now the lab is fractured (UC is great side vs UC is horrible side).

2) Underlying culture - It has always been like this and will always be like this because the underlying culture of the area (not scientists, I do not prescribe to the "cowboy scientist" BS) has become lazy, ignorant, and unwilling to change. This may also be indicative of where we are as a country.

What bothers me is how my colleagues, engineers and scientists, will boil down this issue to one variable and take a side. I would only put forward that this is not a one variable issue.

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