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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 jlscoob5@gmail.com

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Friday, March 30, 2018

LANS to be fined

More environmental violations for LANL http://www.lamonitor.com/content/nmed-fine-los-alamos-national-laboratory-violations

LANL bidders

The University of California and the University of Texas have effectively confirmed publicly they are leading separate bids. Multiple sources have said Bechtel National is also pursuing the contract with partner Purdue University.

Incumbent Los Alamos National Security is losing its management contract following a series of nuclear safety lapses dating to 2014 at the storied New Mexico weapons lab. The University of California, which for decades was the sole lab manager, leads the consortium along with senior industry partner Bechtel National and industry teammates BWX Technologies and AECOM.

BWX Technologies has said it wants to stay at Los Alamos, but has not identified which bid it joined. A source has said AECOM did not bid on the deal. Texas A&M University has also said it wants a role at Los Alamos, but has not said which team it joined.



https://www.exchangemonitor.com/nnsa-talked-lanl-bidders-last-week/

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Navy nuclear capabilities

Various news outlets are reporting that the Navy is looking to reestablish Tomahawk cruise missile nuclear capability for its attack submarines "to increase the capabilities of war planners for crisis containment," i.e. (to me) allow limited, nonstrategic nuclear strikes where deemed necessary. I thought the W-80's had been retired in 2010 or so. Is there a plan to bring them back? Are they still "inactive stockpile" or has dismantlement started? Anyone know how realistic and immediately likely this is?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

US falling badly behind in Quantum Computing

US falling badly behind in Quantum Computing while the Chinese spend big and pull ahead. Even the EU is spending much more in this area than the US. The NNSA labs should be doing far more work in this area. Where is the badly needed DOE/NNSA funding to secure our nation's advantage in this highly strategic science?

Hutch Report Excerpt - March 19th, 2018 : 

..... Although the U.S. currently remains at the forefront of quantum information science, their lead is slipping quickly as other nations step up efforts to get there first. China holds the top two positions in the Top 500 list of the world’s fastest computers and the Chinese understand very well the potential power that quantum computing promises. For this reason they have allocated extensive funding towards the goal of producing a functional quantum computer before anyone else. On 37 hectares (nearly 4 million square feet) in Hefei, Anhui Province, China is building a $10 billion research center for quantum applications. This news comes on the heels of the world’s first video call made via quantum-encrypted communications and the completion of a quantum encrypted fiber optic trunk cable.

In comparison, the European Union is committed to invest $1 Billion over the next 10 years into their quantum computing projects while the U.S. government currently allocates about $200 million per year to quantum research (a recent congressional report noted that inconsistent funding has slowed progress). And many of the projects vying for grant money appear to be thinly veiled shams set-up as resellers or consulting firms with not much behind them.

thehutchreport.com/everybody-was-quantum-fighting-those-computers-were-fast-as-lightning/

Retirement Planning Advice or Tips?

Retirement Planning Advice or Tips?

I’ve been at LLNL for about 30 years, enrolled in TCP1, approaching 60, and am looking to make an exit within a year or so. Any retirement planning tips or advice in the vein of “Things that I know now that I wished I knew then”? One specific question I have is in regards to the TCP1 cost-of-living adjustment. I think that I once heard that this inflation adjustment is made once each year on a specific date so that if one is planning on retiring anytime around that date then it’s better to retire immediately before it than immediately after it? Anyone know when this date is? Also, any other tips or advice would be appreciated. 

-Doug

Omega’s funding restored

Omega’s funding was restored and increased:

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2018/03/22/omnibus-bill-restores-funding-ur-laser-lab/446329002/

Does anyone know what happened to NIF’s funding in the omnibus bill?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Status of my DOE 708 Whistleblower Complaint filed in January of 2014

By Anthony Rivera 

In July 2015, I filed a "Petition the Secretary/Statement of Issues" with Secretary Moniz to address my whistleblower case against LLNS. With supporting facts, I explained to Secretary Moniz the DOE OHA was unable to effectively address my complaint, and that the NNSA Livermore Field Office did not demonstrate objective oversight of LLNS relating to my complaint before or after I was dismissed. 

Secretary Moniz, then forwarded my Petition to Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall. By August of 2016, neither the Secretary or Deputy Secretary had reviewed my Petition, and instead my Petition was pushed back to the DOE OHA (?). 

On 9-27-17, the DOE OHA Judge ruled that I indeed raised DOE defined "protected disclosures" regarding a LLNL DTED High Explosives Application Facility (HEAF) liquid mercury spill human hazard, and human hazard safety procedure deficiencies within the LLNL MED Non-Destructive X-Ray Facility. I submitted other 2012/2013 "protected disclosures", but the OHA Judge ruled these disclosures were time-barred and outside of a 90 day time frame, while allowing LLNS to raise time-independent allegations. LLNS convinced the OHA Judge that they would have fired me anyway, so he ruled in the contractors favor, meaning no relief to the employee. The consequences for LLNS regarding the two "protected disclosures" the OHA Judge did identify, have not been communicated. The DOE OHA Judge stated:

"... Mr. Rivera's October 16, 2013, termination was sufficiently close in time to this disclosure to establish a nexus between the protected activity and the allegedly retaliatory action." 

Through acquired statements, telephonic investigations, depositions, and Hearing testimony, it became clear to me the entire 2016/2017 DOE OHA review was a "go through the motions" process that would not hold anyone accountable for alleged misrepresentations. Some of the same observed DOE OHA deficiencies prompted my "Petition the Secretary/Statement of Issues" to Secretary Moniz in July of 2015. As stated, that 2015 Petition was pushed back to the DOE OHA.

On January 4, 2018, I submitted by email my "Petition the Secretary/Statement of Issues"/ case no. WBB-17-0010 to DOE Secretary Perry through the OHA Director. The OHA Director was to provide that document set to Secretary Perry. Secretary Perry will make the "final agency decision" on this matter. 

From September 2012 through June 2017, I've proposed make-whole reinstatement informal agreements with LLNS, and thus far all have been declined. In my Petition to Secretary Perry, I offered reasons why DOE contractors are rarely compelled to consider informal make-whole reinstatement agreements with dismissed employees. 

From 2007, the NNSA has reimbursed LLNS ~$24 million for legal fees to defend themselves in Court against employees. LLNS hired a San Francisco legal firm to represent them in my OHA proceedings too. The NNSA reimbursements to LLNS for legal fees charged by this San Francisco legal firm have not been disclosed through my NNSA FOIA requests and is one of four NNSA FOIA requests now in California Northern District Court case 3:18-cv-01016. 

I have offered to meet with Secretary Perry to explain my whistleblower case in detail, and to offer solutions to address chronic whistleblower retaliation within the DOE Complex unaddressed by the previous Administration. President Trump has concerns of bias within our Federal agencies. I can certainly relate. 

Latest talk at LANL.



Three bidders gave their presentations to NNSA/DOW this week. Lots of missing managers at LANL this week. The UC team was one of the presenting teams so yes it did make it to the finals. The announcement of the bid will be on time be the start of the contract will be delayed a few months. Lots of managers are saying this this change will only effect managers and not the work force, nothing will change and so on. Other rumors is that Wallace is not part of a team. I am a bit surprised that it is coming down to three teams which means that they must have down selected or next will have more presentations. 

Another rumor is that the labs could be getting more money with the latest stuff going on in Russia, but who knows when a budget will be passed. 

The change over in environmental cleanup from LANL to the new contractor has been a total disaster. The change at Sandia has also had some issues and everyone seems to agree that things have not improved but gotten somewhat worse/more expensive. But hey don't worry the change in the contract at LANL will totally smooth. Maybe it is like an old photo-copier, every time you copy it gets worse. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Secretary visit cost

In these days of $31k tables, how much is being spent on extra landscaping, painting, and cleaning in preparation for the visit by Secretary "oops"? 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe fired with significant pension and family medical benefits lost for allegedly misleading investigators "Under the rules of FERS, that means he could be left with the standard multiplier of 1% on top of his years of service, down from the 1.7% enhanced rate for law enforcement. Former FBI officials tell CNN that McCabe could also lose out on future health care coverage in his retirement if he were to be fired before he turned 50, and the firing could be subject to litigation. The "most significant 'damage' to a separated FBI employee is: loss of lifetime medical benefits for self and family," https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/16/politics/andrew-mccabe-pension-if-fired/index.html

Thursday, March 15, 2018

LLNL's New Operations & Business Leader




Reva Nickelson to lead Operations and Business Directorate
03/15/2018

Reva Nickelson has been named the principal associate director for Operations and Business at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Director Bill Goldstein announced. Nickelson will assume her new role on April 16.

Nickelson, who serves as Facilities Division director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was chosen for this key senior leadership position at Livermore, following a broad national search. As the principal associate director for Operations & Business, Nickelson will lead the multidisciplinary 1,200-person organization that includes property management, procurement, technical information, human resources, project management and construction, project controls, design engineering, infrastructure and facility management, business management, maintenance management, emergency preparedness, environmental restoration, sustainable energy management and nuclear operations.

She will serve as a key contact for the Laboratory on operational matters and will represent the Laboratory externally to the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and peer organizations and laboratories in the DOE complex in infrastructure, procurement and operations-related issues, as well as private industry and the local community.

“Reva has successful, proven broad experience in leading organizations in support of programmatic mission enablement, while balancing operational requirements with scientific and research needs,” Goldstein said.

Nickelson joins the Laboratory following senior leadership tenure at both Idaho National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. At Idaho (1990-2014), she rose to the position of deputy director for Facilities and Site Services. She has held the position of Facilities Division director at Lawrence Berkeley since 2014, leading the operational support organizations and developing a 10-year strategic infrastructure vision. She has earned numerous national honors and awards, is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and holds multiple U.S. patents. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho.

“I look forward to working with Reva as a member of the Laboratory’s Senior Management Team,” Goldstein said. “Her knowledge and national laboratory operational experiences are well aligned with the Laboratory’s strategic vision. Her leadership strengths and personal insights will help to ensure that the Laboratory continues to achieve operational excellence and enable the delivery of innovative science and technology to meet emergent national security challenges.”

In making his announcement, Goldstein thanked Anita Gursahani for serving as the acting principal associate director following Principal Associate Director Mark Martinez’s retirement from the Laboratory in July 2017. “Since that time, Anita has continued to move the O&B organization forward by improving processes to support our infrastructure construction portfolio growth, working to modernize our maintenance management system, and enhancing our hiring and onboarding processes, amongst other things. I appreciate her efforts and the Laboratory community’s support in the transition in leadership over the next several months.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

UC bid

UC has not yet been informed that UC has submitted a competitive bid for the LANL contract. 

Transition to new contractor is on schedule.

http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/mar18/n1.pdf

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Latest rumour

New rumors

The contract change will be delayed by 6 months or more with the winning team not announced until Oct. This is due to "tax reasons". 

Wallace is part of a bid team, and it may be the Bechtel led team. But there are rumors of a 4th hidden team, like Boeing with Honeywell, a pure industry team with some very surprising partners. Nothing about Lockheed. 

UC team is the usual group, Sarao , Lesure, Zerkle, the "clever bid". Also someone named Perry?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

NIF Reductions?

 Cuts to Weapons Physics Research Both Puzzle and Worry Scientists 
Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2018 12:00 am 
By Jeff Garberson 
A proposal to slash the budget for a branch of physics research that is vital to understanding nuclear weapons performance is alarming weapons scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)and elsewhere.
The cuts, proposed by the Trump Administration, have the potential for dramatically shrinking operations at the nation’s key facilities for carrying out the research, the most important of which is arguably LLNL’s giant laser, the National Ignition Facility, or NIF.
As the Independent was going to press, NIF leadership was making precautionary plans to operate with resources reduced by some 30 percent, including suspending target experiments for at least six months.
Thousands of miles away, at the University of Rochester in New York, executives were dealing with an even more severe threat, the Trump Administration’s plan to close down their Omega laser over the next three years.
Omega is a national facility whose research complements and in many cases supports the science done at NIF.
In Southern California, the proposed budget reductions would close a long-standing program at General Atomic Corp. for fabricating targets used by both LLNL and Rochester laser programs.
If carried out, the closure would put further pressure on the budgets of the two big laser laboratories as they are forced to divert resources to develop their own target fabrication programs internally.
The cuts grow out of the President’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts October 1. They were communicated in documents from the National Nuclear Security Administration, the branch of the U.S. Department of Energy that oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.
To local scientists whose work would be slashed, the budget reductions are puzzling as well as dismaying because the Administration has also signaled its intention of strengthening the U.S. nuclear weapons program.
Although the proposal is subject to amendment, its negative message can have immediate consequences, such as lowering morale, forcing staff to look for new jobs, causing NIF to scale back operations and halting outreach efforts, like recruiting campaigns...

http://www.independentnews.com/news/nif-reductions-cuts-to-weapons-physics-research-both-puzzle-and/article_bee96fae-1cfb-11e8-aca4-639852a0ea67.html

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