Saturday, April 30, 2005

Rocky II?

Rocky II? Naw, not us!
An additional insight should have been included in the previous comparison of the LANL suspension of work to the Rocky Flats shutdown. In December 1989, the FBI suspended Rocky Flats nuclear pit production work for conducting operations contrary to EPA regulations. This followed a number of serious and highly visible safety problems at Rocky Flats. The suspension was an attitude adjustment to a previously view of the nuclear weapons community that the nuclear weapons activities were too important to be constrained by environmental laws. Energy Secretary James Watkins had been in office since the spring of that year. He was a former naval nuclear submariner, former Chief of Naval Operations. The fact that Rocky Flats plant was midway through production of the primer Navy SLBM nuclear weapon, the W88, did not result in the resumption of operations. Rocky Flats never came back up. The cost is inestimable, but exceeds $ billions.
The multiple parallels between Rocky Flats experience and LANL\u2019s recent history surely did not escape Director Pete Nanos in the summer of 2004. A retired admiral, former director of Navy's Strategic Systems Programs (SSP), was at SSP during the Rocky Flats debacle and much of his effort there was to compensate for the failure of DOE to deliver the complete W88 build. Think again what was on the battle screen of this leader, in the middle an aggressive maneuver to turn LANL around, when he made the decision to suspend operations. (You can imagine the pressure that resulted in his frustrated characterization of those few who jeopardized LANL thru their irresponsible actions.) We are operating again. And yes, I think he deserves a lot more credit than some here give him.
Gary (yet again, sigh)


Please keep the comments coming. The voice of reason among the chatter is appreciated.
I thought Gary was signing off, so was extremely disappointed to log into his BS again this morning. Folks, I was working indirectly for Watkins when the FBI stormed into Rocky. It was NOT his decision. There is only ONE parallel to be made between Watkins & Nanos -- they both served in the Navy, period. Admiral Butthead has got to GO, the sooner the better, and that goes for you also, Gary. Please spare us your suck-up mentality -- we need to get on with welcoming new leadership, whoever that might be.
Gary- your comments are as foolish as they are stomach turning. Your continued Nanos support is reminiscent of the battered woman syndrome where a woman will defend and idolize a man that abuses her.
It's a sickness Gary, seek help.
On May 13th the abuse ends, I am looking forward to that day.
Suppose you had a portion of the Military which was not holding allegiance to the Military and its Objective and the People in charge held allegiance to the north East which has with Power of the Media has controlled the Power of the Taxpayer Dollar in order to pay Corporations who Own the Media Networks and also shift Most Tax Dollars to their Portions of the U.S. where they wish to prosper above the Other portions of the U.S.

If this existed, and someone with authority informed the FBI what was going on, and in order to prevent this from continuing, messing up Budgetary restraints, Funding of Important products and real control of Real Pork instituted for Decades over the Objection of Reasonable men, would the Economic Warfare finally settle down on The Ones who wanted Cold War in Truth to Shift Billions of Dollars into their Coffers, you know who manufactures most Nuclear Products, look at the Corporate Holders of Network Media, One is General Electric and another is Westinghouse, and any others you may know about that I don't.
Too bad TRES CEE isn't sharing the drugs he's on with the rest of us. Then, perhaps, we could follow his dazzling train of thought and Random Capitalizations....
Again you show your inconsistencies. You promised not to post another comment and you did. Listen my fiend! Dein Fuehrer ist kaput. He is leaving. You do not have to defend the Reich Chancellery Bunker anymore. Pour ice water over your head, have Mrs. Stradling slap you with one of her pecan buns, and wake up. Your train is pulling out of the station.
The only similarities between Los Alamos and Rocky Flats is the bullsh!t and bureaucracy. Talk to any of the former Rocky Flatters who now work at LANL.
Perhaps Nanos was backed into a corner. Perhaps a dramatic action was politically required. (Although I don't really buy into the "lets commit suicide before DOE kills us" theory of Lab management.)

In any case, the real objection to the shutdown was the vindictive manner in which it was carried out. Not just the public name calling, but the abusive way folks were treated in the trenches and behind closed doors---all driven down from the top. Within the first weeks the atmosphere was completely poisoned and the troops alienated. This has made coming back a Herculean task.
Even if you think the shutdown was necessary, there is no way to defend the way the restart was done.
I think its more like the Augean task, the sixth and last of the Herculean tasks.

I am not a LANL employee but am familiar with the litigation resulting from around Rocky Flats.

Some highlights from Rocky Flats:

a) Rumoured to be missing roughly 50kg of plutonium.

b) Several fires took place that contaminated the surrounding area with highly toxic substances including plutonium in one case.

c) Earthworm spreads radioactivite waste all over the place underneath a supposedly protective concrete pad.

d) Numerous spills, fires, losses of chemicals that are non-radioactive but actually more lethal.

I used to have upon my office door a memo about how some Rocky Flats official told the community that albino deer are actually present in the woods naturally and there is nothing to worry about. There are memos detailing spills, fires, accidents. Rocky Flats was not a research facility, it was a manufacturing one, and a fairly sloppy one at that.

I work for a power company now and if we operated one of our nuclear facilities the way Rocky Flats was operated, our CEO would be on death row and there would be no nuclear power in the United States.

Either you are misrepresenting the level of the catastrophe of Rocky Flats to scare LANL employees, or you are not. With all due respect, losing a floppy disk due to a bookkeeping error is not the same as a track record of multiple discharges of plutonium into the surround environment. Losing a floppy disk about how to build an atomic bomb is not nearly as unable to account for enough to plutonium to build several of them.
Gary, you've been caught with your pants down so many times that I'm
suprised you haven't been arrested for indecent exposure. The parallels
between what was happening out at Rocky Flats compared to LANL are very
weak. Stop trying to trash this place in an effort to protect your
beloved leader, Pete Nanos. You exhibit very poor judgment.

If LANL is as bad as Rocky Flats, and you have evidence to support that, then, your job is not to support your boss, your job is to come out publicly with that evidence and see to it that LANL is shut down immediately.

Rocky Flats was an environment that killed the people that worked there and around it, and it is only because cancers from radioactive substances are not tracable back to those substances that there is no "proof" that the people around Rocky Flats have not been made ill from it.

I worked on a database that was a partial list of those who were at Rocky Flats that had cancer of one form or another and my job was to sort it by the "worst" (in conjunction with an expert in the field), to "best", in order of which man in that database was most likely to die first. The only thing I can say with certainty is that every man and woman in that database is dead now.

Shooting off a laser in a lab without proper eye protection for someone not in the same general area is one thing. It is the kind of stupid thing that could take place at any decent university. Is it stupid, yes, it is. But, operating a facility that flagrantly covers up or whitewashes exposures to hazmats with the lame excuse of national security is another.

If LANL is so screwed up that you could not produce records because they are too radioactive to be examined, then yes, you might have a Rocky Flats on your hands.
Please understand, the LANL Rocky Flats comparison is that the perceptions - NOT THE REALITIES - and level of high-level government intolerance to those perceptions were similar. Rocky Flats had some truly dangerous problems of broad scope. The comparison with ADM Watkins was that, although many felt the W88 was very important, that was not enough to bring Rocky Flats back up. LANL is safe, but ANY issue, no matter how small, or even if it is eventually found to not have any basis in fact, has the potential for overstated negative press, with the attendant pressure on decision makers. Would that there were journalists who were intent on finding and publicizing balanced truth, but sadly, they do not sell newspapers.
Gary Stradling

I look forward to your next insightful post. It provides balance to offset some of the rants.
Gary, it seems to me you are one of the people now helping to feed this
faulty perception you are so concerned about. You are a source of the
problem, and not a solution. The same could be said of Pete Nanos. You
two have become like brothers. Pete will be leaving soon. Why don't you
consider joining him over at his next job?
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