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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

LLNL receives highest marks ever from NNSA

LLNL receives highest marks ever from NNSA
1/19/18

The Laboratory's outstanding performance in FY17 has resulted in the highest earned fee to date in the annual Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (PEMP) issued Jan. 18 by NNSA's Livermore Field Office.

Once again, the Laboratory earned ratings of excellent in all four science and technology goals, with ratings of very good for operations and leadership. The result is an award of more than 94 percent of the total possible award fee.

In addition, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC received another one-year term to manage the Laboratory for the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration. This extends the contract to Sept. 30, 2022.

"This has been a very good year for our Laboratory and I'm pleased to see NNSA agrees," Director Bill Goldstein said. "Our ability to execute on our critical mission commitments is a result of the dedication each employee brings to their job every day. Congratulations to all on another successful year."

Among the accomplishments cited by NNSA:
*Exceeding the requirements on the four LLNL weapons systems (W80, B83, W84 and W87) as well as Los Alamos' W78 flight testing system, and reviewing and providing recommendations to improve Weapon Quality Policy.
*Successfully completing the Cycle 22 Annual Assessment Review.
*Demonstrating multiple lower-energy shots on the National Ignition Facility and generating the highest fusion yield to date.
*Successfully demonstrating the feasibility of incorporating new additively manufactured compounds in future Life Extension Programs.
*Making significant progress in Advanced Simulation and Computing capabilities, as well as the installation of the Sierra supercomputer.
*Leading the development of programmatic guidelines for International Nuclear Security and serving as the lead for international nuclear forensics work.
*Providing exemplary leadership in Standoff Disablement efforts.
*Achieving significant advancement in grid modernization through successful simulation of cyberattacks and prediction of impacts as part of the California Energy Systems for the 21st century project.
*Formed the Accelerating Therapies for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) partnership with GlaxoSmithKline and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute to apply LLNL high performance computing capabilities to advance drug research and discovery.
*Built and delivered the world's highest average power petawatt laser system, HAPLS, to the Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines Project in the Czech Republic.
*Developed bioengineering technology to replicate human heart tissue on a chip.
*Maintained highly effective environment, safety and health programs and achieved an excellent safety record.
*Demonstrated improved security performance. And established a Security Culture Campaign to educate and engage employees

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

So LLNL is doing great and LANL is failing. Same corporate partners for the most part. New Mexico culture problem??? Btw I don't prescribe to the cowboy scientist theory so don't peddle or rebut it..

Anonymous said...

"So LLNL is doing great"

Is this really true? Sure they are meeting all the contract conditions are going well and they are getting the great fee but to be honest LLNL seems like a shadow of its former self from 2000 or 2005. Someone pointed out that the publications rates at LANL have plummeted as compared to most other labs and universities but there is only one other place that is the exception to that which is LLNL, which is now fallen from something like being ranked the 40th most published lab/uni in the year 2000 to being ranked to something like 350th in 2017. If anything the fall of LLNL has been far more spectacular than LANL.
LLNL now seems to literally be a non-existentnce as US scientific lab. You can get a sense of what the blog moderator thinks of what the contract change did to LLNL by the tombstone on the top.

I remember just a a few years ago that LLNL people posted all the time on this blog. I suspect that reason that you do not seem much anymore is that people at LLNL have just completely given up on the place. I have been to LLNL over the years and the vibrancy is completely lost and no one seems to care at all so saying LLNL is doing great seems to ring pretty hollow to me.

Since this is a LLNL blog could someone anyone from LLNL come make some comments about their perceptions of the state of LLNL? I would love to be proven wrong in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

"Same corporate partners for the most part. "

I am no defender of the corporate partners and think they are doing a very poor job at both labs. With that said I think some very simple reasons exist for why LLNL will always get higher scores that LANL. (1) LLNL has 6300 people while LANL has something like 12000 people so you automatically increase the chance of something going wrong by 2X. (2) LANL has more high risk facilities that LLNL which again will increase the risk by a factor of 4X at least. (3) The science part of the labs are never considered in the scores, if they where figured in LANL would always do better than LLNL but again this is never taken into account, both labs get close to 100% in this category despite the decline in science at both labs. (4) This is related to point 3 but LANL does more experimental science than LLNL due to the space and size and this again will allow for more risk.
I think with these considerations alone LANL is 5-10 times more likely than LLNL to have issues due to just size and scope so comparing LLNL and LANL is simply not that meaningful.

As for New Mexico culture, this is rather hard to measure and such a political hot potato that little could be done. I think the argument goes something like this at LLNL 40% of the workforce has Phds while at LANL it is 20%. and Phds are not generally tied to geography so both in LLNL and LANL the Phds come from all over. In contrast the rest of workforce will more likely come from the local area. The average eduction standard of locals in the bay area is much higher than New Mexico so that the non high tech workforce will on average be lower quality at LANL than in LLNL and since LANL has a much large number 4X the number of non high tech workforce than you will increase the risk at LANL as well. To be honest I am not sure this argument works but it could be point.

As for LANL cowboy scientists I have been to LLNL and dozens and dozens of other labs and universities and I find the safety standards and respect for rules at LANL and LLNL to be at the same high level and both LLNL and LANL standards are way better than anything you would see at a University, which can be almost be reckless by some the stuff that occurs in University labs, which either lack the controls or the people just completely going around controls. Most faculty are not cowboys but some are downright scary. The point is that LANL never had cowboy science culture and neither does LLNL.

Anonymous said...

All hat, no cows. At east that’s how a cowboy would describe Livermore’s “success”.

Anonymous said...

You must mean you don't SUBSCRIBE to the .... Or maybe not. Maybe you're inventing a whole new English terminology.

Perhaps the problem is LANL's reputation is now so bad it can't hire people who are able to read and write?

Anonymous said...

is llnl doing great? based upon this one report? same type dribble report came out just before their last flush down the toilet. btw i dont prescribe to the please explain further diatribe. retire already!!

Anonymous said...

"LLNL now seems to literally be a non-existence as US scientific lab. You can get a sense of what the blog moderator thinks of what the contract change did to LLNL by the tombstone on the top."

Jealousy ?

As an LLNL retiree with some detailed knowledge on two of the big achievements, I say Bravo to my colleagues, job well done ! Very well done !!

Anonymous said...

Dribble report? You must mean DRIVEL.

I think we all have a sense of what happened at LANL based on the 3rd grade writing level we read here on a daily basis. Maybe calling it 3rd grade is being charitable.

Anonymous said...

I remember just a a few years ago that LLNL people posted all the time on this blog. I suspect that reason that you do not seem much anymore is that people at LLNL have just completely given up on the place.

Perhaps we LLNL people have largely stopped posting because this blog has been taken over by LANL affiliates grinding through the same topics over and over and over and over and ...

Anonymous said...

As an LLNL retiree with some detailed knowledge on two of the big achievements, I say Bravo to my colleagues, job well done ! Very well done !!

January 24, 2018 at 3:21 PM

Indeed LLNL was one of the top places in the nation in 1950s as seen by the jobs very well done, however the question is what is the level of LLNL in 2018 as compared to 1950s. Maybe I am wrong but I think the quality of the staff back than may been a tad different that what it is now but does anyone care?

Anonymous said...

"think we all have a sense of what happened at LANL based on the 3rd grade writing level we read here on a daily basis. Maybe calling it 3rd grade is being charitable.

January 24, 2018 at 5:49 PM"

I think the "dribble" poster is actually a LLNL person who seems to remembers how much the scores can show varied from year to year in the past so one good year may not mean anything.

Anonymous said...

LLNL seems like a shadow of its former self from 2000 or 2005. Someone pointed out that the publications rates at LANL have plummeted as compared to most other labs and universities but there is only one other place that is the exception to that which is LLNL, which is now fallen from something like being ranked the 40th most published lab/uni in the year 2000 to being ranked to something like 350th in 2017. If anything the fall of LLNL has been far more spectacular than LANL...
January 23, 2018 at 10:13 PM


LLNL has become more focused on "mission", internal focused work and milestones and achievements that do not necessarily result in publications. Management pays attention to those achievements, and rewards those achievers with raises and promotions, and pretty soon no one at a manager level pays attention to scientific publications. You might get a sentence in your appraisal, "Bob published 3 papers and gave 2 talks", that's it. When there are no rewards for publishing, and even subtle pressure not to spend time on "science" that isn't directly tied to mission scope, eventually you find that the publication rate drops.

Anonymous said...


"LLNL has become more focused on "mission", internal focused work and milestones and achievements that do not necessarily result in publications. "

That is a good observation, my question is now has becoming more focused on mission, milestones and achievements actually resulted in better mission work, actual achievements, and meaningful milestones? If it has than maybe the decrease in publications is not a serious issue. The problem is that if you ask people they seem to indicate that this has not happened and in fact the quality of programmatic work has also greatly declined, achievements have become sort of meaningless and milestones can always be said to be done. You have to look far and wide to find a non-manager that thinks you are more effective at doing our mission than say 10-20 years ago.
Almost everyone who has been at the labs for some times agrees that they have been in overall decline on every level. The only people that will not say this are managers, but even than whebe they are off the record they will also agree that it is declining but just say that is the way of the world now, we are for profit, it is the fault of somebody else...ect, so just try and make good money put in the minimal hours and effort enjoy it for what it has become. If you
this is not for you go elsewhere.

This could all just be perception but one has to ask how do we judge the health of the NNSA labs and does anyone care?

Anonymous said...

"That is a good observation, my question is now has becoming more focused on mission, milestones and achievements actually resulted in better mission work, actual achievements, and meaningful milestones?"

Queried January 26, 2018 at 10:36 AM

Answer: Read the headline again, please.

Anonymous said...

You rank it by the accomplishments cited by the NNSA (the customer, get it !)

*Exceeding the requirements on the four LLNL weapons systems (W80, B83, W84 and W87) as well as Los Alamos' W78 flight testing system, and reviewing and providing recommendations to improve Weapon Quality Policy.
*Successfully completing the Cycle 22 Annual Assessment Review.
*Demonstrating multiple lower-energy shots on the National Ignition Facility and generating the highest fusion yield to date.
*Successfully demonstrating the feasibility of incorporating new additively manufactured compounds in future Life Extension Programs.
*Making significant progress in Advanced Simulation and Computing capabilities, as well as the installation of the Sierra supercomputer.
*Leading the development of programmatic guidelines for International Nuclear Security and serving as the lead for international nuclear forensics work.
*Providing exemplary leadership in Standoff Disablement efforts.
*Achieving significant advancement in grid modernization through successful simulation of cyberattacks and prediction of impacts as part of the California Energy Systems for the 21st century project.
*Formed the Accelerating Therapies for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) partnership with GlaxoSmithKline and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute to apply LLNL high performance computing capabilities to advance drug research and discovery.
*Built and delivered the world's highest average power petawatt laser system, HAPLS, to the Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines Project in the Czech Republic.
*Developed bioengineering technology to replicate human heart tissue on a chip.
*Maintained highly effective environment, safety and health programs and achieved an excellent safety record.
*Demonstrated improved security performance. And established a Security Culture Campaign to educate and engage employees

Anonymous said...


4:15 PM

Your list if fine however: 1 Where these same same things being successfully conducted before the for profit model so in fact that the for profit model has added nothing to an already functioning lab. In other words these things got done before LLNS ever showed up RIFFed people and take a 30 million dollar cut.

2 What about things that have not been accomplished, you have list with N things but you do not point out the M other things that have not been meet.

3 How many of these "accomplishments" are actually real or stated as they are said. For example "making significant progress on advanced computing....", if you know anything about this you will understand that LLNL and LANL are falling way behind in the high computing area and we have lost huge amounts of expertise. Another is "successfully demonstrating the feasibility of incorporating additive manufacturing...has a odd version of success and demonstration is in the eye of the beholder if you know what I mean. In fact most of these "accomplishments" may not be what they seem and with the declining quality of the LLNL I have real doubts about what we and the nation are actually getting. We will not mention that the for profit model has a motive not to exactly be honest about what is actually going on. One thing I have noticed since he contract change is that LLNLS/LANS have no problem spinning, cherry picking, loading external committees and so on to make things seem great, yet when it comes to actual experts in the fields they will tell you things are opposite of great.

This is is fine but can you find some people that feel LLNL is of the same quality and delivering to the level of excellence it did
10-15 years ago. I would argue that you will not find many people who will make this claim but hey if you think LLNL is better than than it was 15 years ago than please come out and post on the lab to say why.

Anonymous said...

"an excellent safety record"

It is easy for Bechtel and URS to claim "an excellent safety record" when they have been given the liberty to fire anyone saying otherwise. Fired employees "tell no tales...", or so they thought at the Hanford nuclear weapons site.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-hanford-whistleblower-settlement-20150813-story.html

Anonymous said...

The recent tall tails about Livermore’s supposed success are just the latest LANS-NNSA mutual admiration society footnotes. Both have been a complete disaster. The emperor has no clothes - indeed he is the Ron Jeremy of Government bureaucracy - legendary in only the most naive and tawdry of circles.

Anonymous said...

Let's keep Ron out of this. He did nothing wrong.

Anonymous said...

LANL folks on this supposed Livermore blog sound like the Dimocrats. Go ahead and bite your cheek really hard, ala Rep Pelosi at the SOTU. All complaints, no accomplishments, sad !

Anonymous said...

Anyone who actually knows who Ron Jeremy is will be censored on this blog if he explains it.

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