Thursday, May 26, 2005

University of California/Bechtel

I believe that University of California/Bechtel ought to [be] the next managers of Los Alamos National Laboratory. UC has a history of excellence in scientific endeavors, a proven track record with Nobel prize winners and accomplishments which have changed the world. These go back to before the Manhattan Project, which created LANL and other laboratories and facilities. Bechtel has experience operating various facilities including the Nevada Test Site, which has field- tested many of LANL's designs.  UC has improved their chances for success by joining with three New Mexico Universities in research alliances at LANL. Bechtel has teamed with several other independent companies which specialize in various aspects of nuclear work.Together they make a strong partnership which should alleviate the concerns about management of Los Alamos National Laboratory - if they organize effectively.

Lockheed-Martin/Univ of Texas are both outsiders to the Laboratory's manner of work. Sandia National Laboratory, under LM, doesn't have the same basic science foundation that LANL has nowadays. LM is the major defense contractor in the country; consequently SNL has a more commercial thrust, as evident from it's own promotion. For over sixty years the government has purposely kept this Laboratory from being privatized by the weapons industry or run by the DOD. UC has done the job with a scientific focus, somewhat independent of overlying political or financial pressure. To break from this long tradition is a step in the wrong direction, as it allows an excess of national weapons policy influence by the weapons makers, and in this case, for their stockholders. It is analogous to "letting wolves guard the sheep". I came to the lab from a major American coorporation, where I witnessed how business "refocusing" met financial goals, often disregarding how excellent the science was. The
DOE/NNSA should continue what their founders in the AEC started, and not make a drastic change to privatize nuclear weapons. Short term political pressure from Washington should not be allowed to sway and change a balance of power which has been checked for so many years.Compared to UC/Bechtel, the University of Texas seems to be positioned to have a secondary role, helping to manage the scientific endeavors while the prominent LM would be keeping the books.This could put the scientific integrity of the lab at risk.

The beating that UC has taken for various perceived failings of the Laboratory in safety, security and business regimen, has been largely trumped up by various persons and groups for their own personal and political gains. While LANLs mistakes have been headlines of national news, each time flourished with statements from opponents, the other major laboratories have made similar and even worse mistakes which have been either brushed off or largely ignored by media conglomerates. This has had a demoralizing effect on LANL employees, that they must somehow be 'buttheads' and 'cowboys' after all, to receive so much negative press. Many are retiring earlier to avoid an uncertain future. Having UC/Bechtel win over their adversaries would make a major statement for LANL to our detractors. One can imagine that they would continue to heckle the Lab, but that their interest might dwindle and focus on other agencies and institutions-if UC and partners were awarded the contract, fair and
square. I believe that UC has a strong winning case.

This information is solely my own opinion and does not represent Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California, nor the US Department of Energy and NNSA.

John T. M. Lyles

TSM, 13 years at LANL

Careful what you wish for. Ask
Fred Tarantino (AD for weapons,
former GM at Bechtel Nevada ) about
the parts for the LANL ATLAS facility
that were moved to NTS and then
left to rust outside. Fred fired
some folks over that. Not one of
Bechtel's prouder moments. Bechtel
will be running LANL; they have
more juice in high places than
anyone. Sadly, they are clueless
in science, incompetent in
engineering and abysmal managers.
So you like being managed by Admiral Foley? And you didn't feel betrayed by
UC's leaving Nanos in as our abusive and dysfunctional Director for way too
long? It sounds like you may have a case of the Stockholm Syndrome.
You really believe that Bechtel swayed the deal to get Atlas? Think again. Political and high level deals with NNSA between the labs and their politicos caused that to happen. Take a look at the fiasco of having a joint development of SNS at ORNL, with various labs.How much that that 'save'? Take a look at NIF now, and see who was sent to LANL because of his performance managing that project. Happens all the time in 'the complex'. I have heard that FT came to LANL as part of that (Atlas) handling.
To 08:32. I don't know about Bechtel
influence in getting ATLAS to NTS.
That was mostly Nev. senator Harry
Reid. But Bechtel sure screwed it up
after they got it. Then Tarantino
fired several folks at Bechtel, LANL
took back control of ATLAS and
Tarantino got "promoted" to LANL.
What a system!
Some things to consider.

How many LANL TSMs are considering applyng for a job at LLNL?

On one hand it is a way to stick with UCRP. On the other hand what happend to LANL will surely happen at LLNL - unless there is a disaster at LANL.

If UC loses the LANL bid, will they cherry pick top talent to LLNL? If they did, LLNL could florish with LANL dying.

If UC loses the LANL bid and a huge amount of top talent leaves and LANL crashes and burns, will NNSA keep UC intact at LLNL to keep at least one lab viable to support the stockpile?

Has LLNL been instructed to not hire LANL folks at this time? Sandia?

Is this some kind of experiment for NNSA?


Well see that is what they do, and in they I mean Bechtel Nevada. Bechtel Corporation sends its weakest and stupidest people down to NTS (For management), and then whoever does badly in these facilities they then promote to the labs. It is a real interesting playing ground, and Bechtel Nevada does not play fair at all. I do not know if they will get the NTS Contract, but I think they will because of their juice.
Well, UCLA Has certain staff and if they do not get their contract ( Which I think they will, because of recent BEhtel Corporate loses in contract re-bids) then they will not have the means to pay them and to maintain their incentive packages. It will be said because research pioneers will be lost.
Tarantino left because of the fact that Bechtel Nevada wanted to re-bid and coporate knew that if they kept Tarantino on NNSA would probably hold it against them, so they promoted him. Bechtel is very good at these things, I think their skills ( At deceiving ) are very good.
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