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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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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Whistleblower retaliation

"Bill would make Hanford contractors regret whistleblower retaliation"

"RICHLAND, WA - The U.S. House approved an annual defense bill on Thursday that could make contractors at Hanford and other Department of Energy sites pay fines for nuclear safety violations.

The National Defense Authorization Act states that the energy secretary should impose civil penalties on contractors who retaliate against whistleblowers who raise nuclear safety issues.

The provision, inserted into the bill by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., was in response to a 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office that found that DOE seldom holds its nuclear program contractors accountable for unlawful retaliation against whistleblowers..."

What's the story with life sciences and Triad?

So what's the story with life sciences and Triad? Under LANS it was CLES with life sciences being more important than earth sciences. Triad has flipped it to CELS by demoting life sciences underneath earth sciences. Is this a sign that Triad plans to phase out life sciences at LANL and move the work to other Battelle run Labs?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Rate increase

And so it begins... this was in my email today, and speaks to the county of Los Alamos looking to recoup the loss of GRT in the event TRIAD goes non-profit:

Proposed Sewage Rate Increase going to the Board of Public Utilities
Jul 26, 2018 02:38 pm | Los Alamos County

The Department of Public Utilities is proposing an increase to sewage rate services. Read the discussion and provide your feedback to the Board of Public Utilities. The public hearing for the proposed sewage rate increase is scheduled for: 
Wednesday, August 15th @ 5:30 PM Council Chambers, Municipal Building, 1000 Central Avenue, Los Alamos, NM

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Highlights from the week

Highlights from the week include Mason unveiling his new lab leadership and lots of random guesses on most everything else. A&M does not play much role, if any, in the new structure and Battelle is, from all appearances, fully in charge of the operation. They do not look to be leaning to pay GRT, but are reluctant to underestimate the resolve of the local politicians to find a path to collect it anyway.

Other events also happened in the world this past week, but you would not know that from overhearing casual cafe conversations in town.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Wake up call from UCOP

UCOP "looks forward" to the quarterly BOG meetings, as well as "all the subcommittees" in Triad

Anyone that was under the delusion that removal of LANS would be a reduction in parent organization oversight and thus an improvement in lab governance just got a wake up call from UCOP.

Non-profit mindset is good

Returning Los Alamos to Non-Profit Mindset Key to Big Triad Win, UC Exec Says

Excising the profit-seeking mindset from the Los Alamos National Laboratory was key to keeping the University of California on the storied nuclear-weapons lab’s management team, an executive with the massive public university system said Wednesday.

After about a dozen years under the for-profit Los Alamos National Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in June awarded a possibly decade-long Los Alamos management and operations contract to Triad National Security: a non-profit team including senior partners Battelle Memorial Institute, the University of California (UC), and Texas A&M University.

Los Alamos National Security includes senior partners UC and Bechtel, with BWX Technologies and AECOM. All but UC are for-profit companies. NNSA decided to pull the incumbent’s contract more than a decade after its final option period would have expired after a series of management and safety lapses at the lab.

The last straw for NNSA came in 2014, after a shoddily packaged barrel of nuclear waste from Los Alamos caused a small underground explosion and radiation leak that at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant — the Department of Energy’s only deep-underground repository for plutonium-contaminated material and equipment.

The disposal site shut down for almost three years after that, and by 2015, NNSA had decided to put the Los Alamos management and operations contract back on the street.

When that happened, UC immediately became convinced that “returning to a partnership amongst nonprofit organizations” was key to keeping some degree of control over the laboratory it helped build in 1943, and which it managed solo for most of the decades since, said Kim Budil, vice president for national laboratories at UC’s office of the president.

A nonprofit partnership “would commit to a shared fate, a shared sense of urgency about supporting the laboratory and ensuring its success, and a common set of values in how we pursue that,” Budil said Wednesday in a regents meeting webcast from San Francisco.

Budil framed Triad’s nonprofit core as “an equal partnership,” though the company’s president and chief executive officer, Thomas Mason, has a strong Battelle pedigree. Mason, who will be director at Los Alamos, comes to New Mexico after a decade as president and chief executive officer of Oak Ridge National Lab prime contractor UT-Battelle.

Outside Triad's main triumvirate are some for-profit entities, headlined by the nuclear-savvy Huntington Ingalls Industries/Stoller Newport News, and Fluor Federal Services.

“[W]e do understand the role that industrial practice plays in improving the operations at the laboratory, so we structured our LLC such that the private sector partners we brought in would be integrated subcontractors,” Budil said. "That does two things: it gives them the ability to see the success of the laboratory through our lens. They can’t locally optimize to their own parts of the laboratory because the ultimate decision goes through the LLC. So they’re full partners in the total success of the laboratory.”

Triad is set to take over Los Alamos Nov. 1. The company’s contract is worth around $20 billion over 10 years, with options. Total Triad fees could be as high as $50 million a year. Budil said UC would know exactly what its share of those fees will be by July 2019.

Who is leading TRIAD show?

Couple of real wild quotes in here

"The UC will take a leading role in the management partnership among the three institutions, which will operate as Triad National Security, LLC, or Triad, according to UC President Janet Napolitano."

REALLY need to get this news to Battelle, who is pretty clear on who is leading the Triad show. 

"The UC is estimated to earn a net fee of $24.6 million for the calendar year 2018 under its existing contracts for management of both the Los Alamos lab and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. According to Kimberly S. Budil, UC vice president for national laboratories, the fee that the UC will earn from the new Triad contract is slightly smaller than that earned from the previous contract and will impact the 2019-20 budget."

SO the fee that UC takes from LANL will only be slightly smaller under Triad than under LANS. That will sure come as shocking news to NNSA.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dead blog?

Is the blog dead? Too bad it was fun and informative.

COLA 2018

Anybody figured out the 2018 LLNS TCP-1 COLA? Has it been announced?

No Texas A&M involvement

Notable that there is zero Texas A&M involvement in the new organization leadership

How screwed up is your job?

How screwed up is your job?

This article had some good points about toxic job environments. How many of his points apply to your position?

Evil Echo 

Plutonium stolen from INL

Plutonium stolen from INL nuclear security experts. It was a tiny amount, for sure, but imagine the embarrassment to Battelle, the new LANL leader. Battelle runs INL.

Is Triad good for LLNL?

Given the multiple "pay more get less" leadership failures with LANS which is composed very similarly to LLNS, shouldn't the NNSA proactively bid out the contract to manage LLNL in favor of the non-profit Triad model ASAP?

Friday, July 13, 2018

ABQ Journal editorial on Triad taking over LANL

ABQ Journal editorial on Triad taking over LANL

The big news is that inadequate federal performance reviews and bad press over safety lapses at LANL didn’t cost the University of California a piece of the contract. UC has been part of the lab’s management since the Manhattan Project, first alone at the top and then as part of a private consortium with Bechtel and two other companies since 2006.

In any case, UC went with new partners and won again. Now it’s time to see if LANL can stop generating bad news

It’s always seemed odd to those of us with only an outside view of the lab – where so many brilliant scientists and engineers come to work – that many of its public failures come from not following simple, factory-like instructions.

The WIPP accident famously resulted from using a wheat-based kitty litter to absorb liquid in a waste drum with nitrates – a mix that anyone with a basic knowledge of should have known would lead to a reaction. Indeed, “People with deep expertise of the chemistry of nuclear waste weren’t necessarily deeply embedded.”

Someone at the lab sent plutonium across the country using a commercial air cargo service, a mistake that cost the contractors another $3.1 million in government fees.

If computer makers can make tiny chips by creating dust-free environments, LANL managers should be able to impose similar rigor when handling dangerous radioactive materials.

The lab has a lot of important things to do, but paying attention to blue-collar details should be job number one when Triad takes over in November.

What does Triad mean to LLNL?

So, OK, the discussion and drivel about Triad since early June has been fun, if not as unenlightening as ever for this blog.

But since this is the “LLNL - The True Story” blog ... what does it all mean to LLNL?

Clearly at this point the best that can be offered is informed speculation. My speculation is that DOE/NNSA knows...has known for years...that the for-profit LLC M&O approach was an utter failure, and intends that Triad be successful enough in running LANL (the bar is low) to repeat the same transition for LLNL in the next few years. Battelle, UC and some third party...possibly TAMU but probably not...will end up with the LLNL M&O contract by 2021 if not sooner. As a non-profit, with Bechtel finally excised from the whole situation.

By 2030, people will say “remember that thing where LANS/LLNS ran the weapons labs from about 2007 to about 2019 or so, and sucked untold $Ms from the federal government while adding significant negative value to the whole thing? Crazy, huh? Let’s not do that again.”

Just my speculation. I know, I know, UC sucks, NIF sucks, Charlie sucked, Cowboys suck, and so on.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

UC Régents plan for management fees

In advance of the July 18 UC Regents meeting a UCOP recommend budget for spending LANS/LLNS award fee has been proposed at

 The net fee income earned by UC under the LLNL and LANL contracts in calendar year 2018 is currently projected to be $24.6 million (LLNS – $12.6 million; LANS – $12 million). Fee from Triad is not yet included. Summary of UCOP Recommended Allocation: A. Compensation for LLC Employees in UC-Designated Key Personnel Positions = $2.2 M B. UCOP Oversight = $5.2 M C. Post-Contract Contingency Fund = $3.5 M D. LLC Fee Contingency Fund = $0 E. UC Directed National Laboratory Research = $12.4 M F. Livermore Lab Foundation = $0.3 M G. UCSF-LLNL Therapeutic Medicine Collaboration Center = $1 M 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bye, Bye NM GRT!

Triad is a nonprofit, public service-focused organization

Former Oak Ridger Named New Los Alamos Lab Director

Mason will replace Terry Wallace of incumbent lab-manager Los Alamos National Security, which will turn over the keys to Triad after 12 years on the job. Wallace himself has been lab director for less than a year; in January, he replaced Charles McMillan, who retired after six tumultuous years that were marred by safety and management lapses that ultimately led the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to put the lab management contract back on the street nearly a decade earlier than planned.

Battelle press release based story from Business Wire

Battelle and Triad Team Partners Awarded New Contract to Manage and Operate Los Alamos National Laboratory

Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration selects Triad National Security for $25 billion contract

July 09, 2018 03:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time

COLUMBUS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Battelle and its partners on the Triad team can officially begin the transition to operating Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the nation’s premier scientific and nuclear research facilities.

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) announced June 8 that it awarded the contract to Triad National Security, LLC.

Battelle press release based story from Business Wire does mention Texas A&M and UC later on in the article.

Battelle gets the keys to LANL

Battelle is taking over Battelle is taking over management of its seventh and largest national laboratory for the federal government, as well as nuclear energy and security research at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. 

This should settle any debate about who is in charge of LANL

Monday, July 9, 2018

LANL ORG. chart

LANL new org chart July 9 2018

Plutonium aging

Interesting article about how LANL was able to contradict the JASONs and science itself on plutonium aging:

Battelle calls the shots

Triad names leadership team and no one from A&M is on the list Looks as if Battelle will be calling most of the shots with the top two positions and UC has the next three lower level people. In all of this, the biggest question is why was A&M even asked to be on the team if they can not provide any added value?

Transition info in the news

Transition info.

To: LANL-ALL From: Terry C. Wallace, Jr. July 9, 2018 Subject: Update on LANL Management & Operating (M&O) Contract Transition The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) issued a “notice to proceed” for Triad National Security LLC, the new M&O contractor for the Laboratory. This notice marks the formal beginning of the contract transition period, which will take no less than 120 days to complete. I am committed to working with the new team and NNSA to ensure a successful transition. The LANS transition team—led by Rick Kacich, Tori George, and David Pesiri—is in place and diligently working to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible. LANS LLC, Triad National Security LLC, and NNSA have a shared commitment to keep the Laboratory workforce up-to-date through regular all-employee communications and website updates. Information regarding the Los Alamos transition will be updated on a regular basis and can be found at

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