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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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Friday, August 31, 2018

NM senators speak out on nuclear safety board order

New Mexico senators speak out on nuclear safety board order

By Rebecca Moss |

New Mexico’s U.S. senators are asking Congress to block a Department of Energy order that would limit a federal board’s access to information about nuclear facilities and could hinder its ability to oversee worker health and safety.

In a letter sent Wednesday to the leaders of a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall also ask their colleagues to block impending staff cuts and a broad reorganization at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. New Mexico is home to three of the 14 nuclear facilities under the board’s jurisdiction: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

“We feel strongly that these two matters facing the [safety board] and its future must be suspended while Congress and the public have time to review and offer constructive feedback” on how to maintain and improve the board, the senators wrote to Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairman and ranking member of the energy and water development subcommittee.

Spokespeople for Alexander and Feinstein said their senators were still reviewing the proposal. Both senators have large nuclear facilities in their states.

The nuclear safety board, which falls under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction, was established in 1988 to provide additional oversight and transparency to the Department of Energy’s largely self-regulating nuclear complexes, which were plagued by contamination and negligent safety practices.

The board reviews incidents and near-misses, and it provides safety recommendations and advice to the energy secretary. But there have been efforts to hamper the board, and over the last year, it has faced a series of attacks on its independence and very existence, even from its own leadership.

Last summer the board’s then-chairman suggested his agency be dissolved, calling it a relic of the Cold War. And a few months later, the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Department of Energy that oversees nuclear facilities, proposed eliminating written weekly reports on safety issues at the labs to avoid public scrutiny. Neither of these proposals were adopted.

This month, the board approved a plan to slash staff at its Washington headquarters, which would be partially offset by increasing the number of inspectors working at national laboratories and nuclear plants. The measure was approved by three of the four board members. Board member Joyce Connery wrote in her dissenting vote that the public should have had an opportunity to weigh in on the plan, which it did not.

On Tuesday, the board convened a hearing with officials from the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration to discuss the new order limiting the board’s access to information. Board members criticized the order, saying it appears to contradict the U.S. Atomic Energy Act.

Board members said neither they nor workers nor members of the public were formally consulted on the order, and it has already prevented them from accessing safety information at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.

Energy officials said the order is intended to update a 17-year-old guideline for how the Department of Energy and the board should interact.

But Udall and Heinrich said Thursday that neither action should have moved forward without “real consultation with Congress.” They are asking that the board’s next public hearing on the order take place in New Mexico next month.

At a campaign event in Santa Fe this month, Heinrich said the order was among “a whole series of policy decisions by this administration that frankly weren’t even in their best long-term interest.”

DOE Awards Leidos/Battelle

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Weakened oversight

Acting DNFSB Chairman claims DOE order is at odds with Atomic Energy Act

The dispute between the political appointees of the DOE and those of the DNFSB resulted in all members of the DNFSB, both democrat and republican appointees, joining together to question if the DOE order is consistent with the existing law.

Nuclear Safety Board Slams Energy Department Plan to Weaken Oversight

"The Trump administration defended an order that could be used to withhold information about nuclear facilities from a federal board, but its leader says the action is not consistent with the U.S. Atomic Energy Act."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Nuclear Safety Board Slams DOE

Nuclear Safety Board Slams Energy Department Plan to Weaken Oversight

By Rebecca Moss | 

A new Department of Energy order that could be used to withhold information from a federal nuclear safety board and prevent the board from overseeing worker safety at nuclear facilities appears to violate longstanding provisions in the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, the board’s members said Tuesday.

Members of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, both Democrats and Republicans, were united in their criticism of the Energy Department’s order, published in mid-May. It prevents the board from accessing sensitive information, imposes additional legal hurdles on board staff and mandates that Energy Department officials speak “with one voice” when communicating with the board.

The New Mexican and ProPublica first reported on the order’s existence in July, but the board recently called for a special hearing, saying its members had no formal input before the document was finalized.

At that hearing in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning, the first of three on the topic, officials from the Energy Department and its National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the nation’s nuclear stockpile, said the changes were largely innocuous and were necessary to update a 17-year-old guidance manual.

“It certainly is not intended to harm” the relationship between the department and the board, said William “Ike” White, chief of staff and associate principal deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration. He said the changes are designed to ensure agency leaders “have ownership and accountability for the decisions they make.”

But board members said such statements were at odds with the language of the order, which outlines broad restrictions and could exclude thousands of Department of Energy workers from the board’s safety oversight.

“To me, the primary question is: Is [the order] consistent with the Atomic Energy Act?” said acting board Chairman Bruce Hamilton. “In my view, it is not.”

Board members also questioned whether the department was systematically changing its approach to nuclear safety, which agency officials denied.

Already, the order has been cited in denying the board access to information about safety studies related to explosives at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, and about a worker’s complaint and the reclassification of explosive reactions at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a technical expert for the board said.

The five-member board, which currently has one vacancy, was formed in 1988 near the close of the Cold War, as the public and Congress began to question the lack of accountability at the Department of Energy and its predecessor agencies. Since the end of the Manhattan Project, the agencies had made their own rules and been largely self-regulating. Negligent safety practices contributed to cancer and other illnesses in nuclear workers exposed to radiation and toxic chemicals without proper protections, studies have shown.

Under the law, the board was granted wide access to information in order to make nuclear safety recommendations and add a layer of accountability and transparency to the Energy Department.

The Department of Energy has attempted to limit the safety board’s oversight function for more than a decade, but pressure has increased within the past year, advocates of the board say. Last summer, for example, the board’s then-chairman, who had been elevated into that role by the Trump administration, proposed dissolving the board entirely.

A few months later, the National Nuclear Security Administration said the board should stop publishing weekly reports on issues at national laboratories because they were unflattering, citing media articles that referenced the reports. Neither of those steps was implemented.

So much for Mason's claim

So much for Mason's claim that all employees will work for Triad and not for one of the industrial partners.
Fluor Government Group (FGG) is seeking candidates to support the FGG scope of work at the Los Alamos national Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has a capital project portfolio in excess of $4 billion dollars covering multiple line item projects valued in excess of $50 million each. In addition to the line item projects, there is an annual budget covering small capital projects of approximately $200 million. The Triad National Security Capital Projects organization is responsible for delivery of the facilities in a safe, secure, reliable and cost effective manner. 

The Director for Capital Projects is seeking a Chief Operating Officer (COO-CP) in support of delivering the capital projects. Responsibilities of the Capital Projects team include: 

Reporting to the Associate Laboratory Director, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) provides operational and technical leadership for the integration, capability stewardship and mission execution functions within the Directorates supporting Capital Projects. This position is responsible for the operational success of the Directorates, including partnership with the Division Directors and integration of all resources needed to support Directorate operations. Incumbent provides operational leadership, vision, and advice in support of achieving operational excellence and achieving directorate mission strategy. Emphases include developing and implementing high-value approaches for laboratory operational efficiency and assured excellence, with a focus on safe, compliant, cost effective operations, and development and implementation of robust operational assurance methods. This position has a critical role in the Directorate’s success against a range of metrics including operating costs, strategic hiring, customer satisfaction, and performance metrics.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Rocky start

Where is the list of the Triad board members that was promised by a Triad spokesperson to a national news outlet? If they make such statements, they should follow through on them or understand that credibility is lost. Coupled with the botched GRT decision, things look to be off to a rocky start for the new contractor.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Now that NM GRT is going to be collected from Triad, the politicians can just keep going on trips with free booze and baseball tickets.

This is a terrible waste of money.

We’ve kept silent regarding the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities and its sorry story of misspending, deceit and exposure. However, with the recent release of an audit and no clear mission, it’s clear the group is nothing more than a slush fund for politicians. Taxpayers must push to stop this mindless spending.

Add to that the hiring of Eric Vasquez as former director Andrea Romero’s replacement and we taxpayers have a stewing recipe for more waste of taxpayer dollars.

Readers may remember Vasquez as the former salaried Española Chamber of Commerce executive director who simultaneously had another full-time job operating a failed newsletter, sometimes from the Chamber’s offices. He’s also married to Stephanie Garcia-Richard, who is on her way out as a state representative, as she runs for state land commissioner.

No conflicts of interest there.

The audit revealed $50,000 in illegal spending. The budget is $200,000. A little over $100,00 comes from the Department of Energy the rest is provided by City of Española ($5,000), Rio Arriba County ($10,000), Los Alamos County ($60,000), along with six other counties/cities/pueblos. We don’t know anything about Los Alamos politics, nor that county’s budget. We’ll wager the good folks up the hill would like their $60,000 back.

Lots of residual overhead

From the looks of the initial pass at the organization charts that Triad has put out, there will still be a lot of residual overhead from the LANS structure. With just over 8,000 employees there are more than 55 divisions and another 25 division level offices. These are placed under 11 directorates and 20 directorate level offices. Looks as if the typical division may wind up with just over 100 employees. If correct, that is still a large overhead burden.

NNSA staying under DOE

NNSA staying under DOE is a good idea, according to former DOE officials.

Changing nuclear oversight threatens security, tech edge

Now that the 2019 John McCain National Defense Authorization Act has become law, there is a lesson to be learned from a furtive effort to fundamentally change the way the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile is sustained to ensure a reliable deterrent. 

We learned at the eleventh hour that language had been inserted into the Senate-passed bill that would have weakened the management of vital Department of Energy (DOE) national security programs that assure the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent, reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation, and provide global nuclear propulsion for the U.S. Navy.

Although the language ultimately was removed, Congress should move beyond recurrent attempts to eliminate, or substantially limit, nuclear security leadership by the cabinet member responsible for America’s premier nuclear science and technology enterprise and for the broader national laboratory system that is critical to its success.

Triad will pay GRT

New Los Alamos lab manager Triad will pay GRT, official says

By Andy Stiny | Aug 22, 2018

A representative of Triad National Security LLC, which takes over management of Los Alamos National Laboratory in November, said Wednesday the consortium will pay gross receipts taxes, easing concerns of local officials about losing millions of dollars in revenue.

Scott Sudduth, assistant vice chancellor with the Office of Federal Relations for the Texas A&M University system, told an audience of about 50 community members during a meeting in Los Alamos that the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department responded to a recent inquiry from Triad by saying that “it is their view that the gross receipts tax does apply to Triad.”

Los Alamos County officials had said previously that if Triad were deemed to have nonprofit status, the county estimated it could lose $21 million annually and the state $23 million in gross receipts tax revenues, according to published reports.

Nonprofits generally are exempt from the tax on most business transactions, a major source of revenue that the state collects and shares with local governments where the transactions take place.

Triad is led by the Texas A&M system, the University of California and the Battelle Memorial Institute, all nonprofits.

“I know how important tax issues are to the community,” Sudduth told the audience.

Sudduth said Triad will begin paying the tax as of Nov. 1, and he said the letter from state revenue officials was shared with the National Nuclear Security Administration.

“We are encouraged by that,” said David Izraelevitz, who chairs the Los Alamos County Council. “The issue of gross receipts taxes has been one of intense attention by us.”

Gary Falle of the Office of the President of the University of California confirmed during a break in Wednesday’s session that Sudduth had informed him of the gross receipts tax decision, but he said he did not have a copy of the letter and was not authorized to speak with the news media.

Various Triad representatives said the Los Alamos meeting was called to hear community concerns and develop a community commitment plan.

“We want to hear what issues are important to the community,” Frances Chadwick, staff director for Triad, told the gathering at Fuller Lodge.

Triad late last year was awarded a multibillion-dollar contract by the National Nuclear Security Administration to run the nuclear weapons research facility for the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing contractor Los Alamos National Security LLC in overseeing a major economic engine for the region.

More on A&M

Did anyone else speak with Scott Sudduth from A&M when he was at LANL? Look him up and he is the Washington lobbyist for the university. He has been the person spending the most time talking about the A&M role in LANL. So, for all of you that were wondering what part of running LANL was going to be done by A&M, he has cleared that up. A&M is taking care of Washington lobbying for LANL, and from all indications not much else.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A&M on board

Looks like Texas A&M will take a post on Triad board, and no other role in LANL

The move reflects Banks’ ascent to Triad’s governing board, an A&M spokesperson wrote in an email Monday. Banks was formerly vice chancellor for engineering and remains dean of the system’s College of Engineering.

Texas A&M University is the only senior Triad partner without a representative among the senior laboratory staff the consortium has identified on its website.

Meanwhile, the number and identities of the remaining Triad board members have not be revealed publicly. Triad plans to disclose the members’ names and affiliations “after our initial Board meeting which is planned for the end of the month,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email Tuesday.

The Triad spokesperson did not immediately know the day for which this meeting is scheduled.

Triad’s senior partners are: Battelle Memorial Institute, longtime Los Alamos manager the University of California, and Texas A&M University. The company is set to take over management of the main U.S. nuclear-weapons laboratory on Nov. 1 under a National Nuclear Security Administration contract potentially worth more than $20 billion over a decade, with options. The contract’s base is worth about $10 billion over five years. The deal allows for up to $50 million in annual fees.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Major reform

DNFSB Major Reform: 80% More Resident Inspectors

Washington, DC

— Acting Chairman Bruce Hamilton announced today a major transformation of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s staff. The reform is in response to a number of studies and critiques on the Board’s effectiveness during the past several years. Among the changes: an 80% increase in the number of Resident Inspectors located at defense nuclear facilities operated by the Department of Energy; two new field offices in Albuquerque and Las Vegas which will provide full-time coverage of Sandia National Laboratories, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the Nevada National Security Site, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Idaho National Laboratory; a 46% reduction in headquarters personnel; a facilities-focused reorganization of the headquarters staff; and, the establishment of a new Executive Director of Operations,or EDO, who will lead the entire agency.

Battelle is in charge!

At the all hand's meeting, Mason was pretty clear that the new organization will be run in the Battelle way. He seemed to express disdain for the old structure in some of his comments.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

LLNL is at it again with hydrogen

LLNL is at it again with hydrogen:

They “re-analyze” Sandia data so it agrees with the NIF data, an interesting move that the Sandia people don’t agree with, according to the NYT article. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Regional Coalition of LANL: go away!

It’s time for the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities to go away. The organization – with an annual budget of $200,000 – was always something of an odd duck.

It is made up of cities, counties and pueblos located near Los Alamos National Laboratory, and says it has two goals: to push for promoting local economic development from the lab and advocate for federal money for cleanup of long-term radioactive and hazardous waste at LANL.

The big question about the coalition has always been: What does it do that New Mexico’s congressional delegation doesn’t when it comes to pushing for waste cleanup and local economic benefits from the lab? There’s no empirical evidence to show having local politicos lobby Washington for cleanup dollars has made a difference.

Romero, as director of the RCLC, is appropriately a target in this mess. But remember, she was being reimbursed for using her private credit card to pay for elected officials like Española and Santa Fe mayors and Los Alamos County councilors. They’re culpable, too.

The county-commissioned audit, done by a law firm, raised another issue. It says efforts were made by Los Alamos County personnel, after-the-fact, to “recharacterize” or “remedy” questionable spending and which “may constitute efforts to intentionally mislead others and/or conceal misconduct.” Romero says changes were being considered to get the coalition’s act together going forward. OK, but going back to change the rules instead of the bad behavior is not the way to move forward with accountability. And, yes, some of the audit findings may have a political tinge – State Auditor Wayne Johnson is a Republican and Democrat Romero is the target.

But there’s not much doubt the coalition’s financial controls were a mess, policy and law were ignored and people were spending money they shouldn’t have been.

The coalition is trying to regroup and hired another director on a six-figure contract. But somebody should pull the plug on the enterprise, which seems to exist as a redundant and small-time DOE effort to placate locals. Rather than delivering tangible, positive outcomes, it is eroding confidence in our government leaders.

Friday, August 17, 2018

UC's bigger role

Lots of talk that UC will be playing a much bigger role in the new contract this time around. In LANS they just seemed to step back and let the corporate partners control the culture, now that there are no corporate partners this will change and UC can once again participate in a more substantive way. Lets hope this is true.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Bookless headed to NNSA

The White House on Friday announced the anticipated nominee to fill the No. 2 slot at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which has been vacant throughout the Trump administration.

Longtime Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory senior physicist William Bookless would take over as NNSA principal deputy administrator upon Senate confirmation, according to the Aug. 10 announcement of intent to nominate. He would succeed Madelyn Creedon, who retired on Jan. 20, 2017, the day President Donald Trump was inaugurated, after about two-and-a-half years in the position.

Bookless had not been formally nominated as of deadline Monday for Weapons Complex Morning Briefing. His nomination would pass through the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The White House and NNSA at deadline had not answered queries regarding the extended delay in filling the principal deputy position.

After earning a doctorate in physics in 1980 from the University of Wyoming, Bookless spent 32 years as a senior physicist at Livermore, one of the Energy Department’s key nuclear weapons laboratories. While there, he served as deputy associate director for the facility’s nuclear weapons program and as associate director for safety and environmental protection, according to his White House biography. Toward the end of his career, Bookless was a senior adviser to then-NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino and an assistant laboratory director for policy and planning at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York state. Bookless retired in 2015.

Nonprofit asks for criminal probe into coalition reimbursements

Now that the NM attorney general is involved in the probe it will be hard to kill the story quickly. The defense makes no sense at all to claim that they did not know the law and it is not a crime because no one told them about it. The documents were altered after the fact by the LA county staff employees to cover up years of illegal payments when it came to light. At least that is what the audit reports as facts, and they have the altered documents with the specific LA county employees changes, so it just makes no sense to continue on the defense of ignorance equates to innocence. 

There is no real distinction between LANL and LA county in this story, since any responsible oversight would have required an audit that would have surfaced what has been claimed as widespread waste, fraud and abuse. It was LANL that provided the funds to LA county for the lobbying effort, and then never bothered to check into how the money was spent. Now that the county admits that alcohol and sports tickets were provided to DOE employees from the account, this could be a federal case and go beyond the NM attorney general.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

True story of Walp and Doran

True story of Walp and Doran uncovering theft at Los Alamos aired on CBS last Friday. The show disproved the insane Walp and Dorn (sic) defender troll.

Los Alamos County possibly tried to hide misspending

Time after time, it is the coverup that brings down organizations and not the original crime. The individuals throughout the LA county offices that went back and falsified and changed records after the fact should be held accountable. They acted in order to cover up the crime of waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money and if this is all correct, they should be prosecuted.

The case against Los Alamos

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Breaking Through the Normalcy of Los Alamos

Breaking Through the Normalcy of Los Alamos on Hiroshima Day
The normalcy of Los Alamos is so inhumanly, grotesquely, demonically abnormal as to seem perfectly reasonable

You can’t get any more white, well-educated, upper-class, sophisticated, over-privileged, supposedly-“Christian” and totally normal than Los Alamos. There’s the Starbucks, the Taco Bell, the pet store, the co-op, the hardware store, the fine wine store, the great high school, the beautiful churches, the day care center—and, in the center of town, like in any other town, the mammoth colonoscopy center. Life is good in Los Alamos. Everything is perfectly normal.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Declaration of Edna Rivera in support of DOE OHA case no. WBH -014-0006

Mr. Rivera may need to take DOE back to court

Update: Mr. Rivera may need to take DOE back to the United States District Court

558 Presidio Blvd., Ste. B
PO Box 29547
San Francisco, CA 94129-0547
(415) 370-9571 

August 2, 2018

The Honorable Rick Perry
United States Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

Re: Anthony T. Rivera v. LLNS
OHA Case No. WBB-17-0010

Dear Secretary Perry:

On January 4, 2018 Anthony Rivera timely filed his Petition to the Secretary seeking review of the case of termination of his employment in 2013, after he had made protected disclosures of safety violations and mismanagement with Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), the contractor that operates Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

It has been seven months since that Petition to the Secretary Perry was filed. I am obliged to advise that Mr. Rivera will feel compelled to bring the Department of Energy back into the United States District Court here unless he receives a favorable Final Agency Decision this month, or by September 4, 2018.

Further delay would appear unreasonable in the circumstances. See Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 555(b); Telecommunications Research & Action Center v. FCC, 750 F.2d 70, 77-78 (D.C. Cir. 1984); Forrest Guardians v. Babbitt, 174 F.3d 1178, 1193 (10th Cir. 1998); In re United Mine Workers of America International Union, 190 F.3d 545, 546 (D.C. Cir. 1999); Charles Evans, Case No. TBU-0026 (June 2, 2004). After all, Secretary Moniz unduly had delayed a decision in this case, which arose from events that occurred more years earlier. And I recall that, when the matter was pending in federal court in 2016, the then-counsel for DOE misrepresented to the court that the litigation was “premature” given a review by the then DOE Deputy Secretary was pending, when in actuality the matter was simply pushed back to the DOE OHA, creating additional unreasonable delays for my client. Mr. Rivera and his family needlessly suffer continued emotional and financial hardship as a result of the failure to remedy the unjustified NNSA/LLNS destruction of Mr. Rivera’s career that occurred more than five years ago. 

Your proclaimed commitment to health and safety in DOE facilities, and to zero tolerance for whistleblower retaliation – now tested in the case of Anthony T. Rivera – is much appreciated.

Sincerely yours,

Attorney for Anthony T. Rivera

cc. Dorothy S. Liu, Esq. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Obvious discrepancy

August is here and Triad still has not yet named a AD for Simulation & Computation. As pointed out by a poster in another thread, it is unusual how the award could be made consistent with the RFP and not specify each of the key personnel by name. The mystery lingers as to why NNSA would permit this obvious discrepancy.

Something doesn't add up

Something doesn't add up in this report of the LANL scandal. He must have had an inside accomplice in order to pull off something of this magnitude.

Leading force departing!

Leading force behind UT bid for LANL now departing

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