Friday, August 05, 2005

NIF Threatened with Closure

After battling technical challenges and cost overruns, the $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is 80% complete. Three recent independent reviews of the US Department of Energy (DOE) facility say it is well managed and on schedule to meet a 2010 deadline to attempt fusion ignition. But political maneuverings in the Senate threaten to shut down the project.

On 30 June, in a late-night showdown, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), chair of the Water and Energy Appropriations Subcommittee, succeeded in cutting $224 million from the $337 million fiscal-year 2006 budget request for NIF. The proposed cut would cancel construction work on the project, on which $2.8 billion has already been spent. Moreover, $50 million is included in the proposed budget to close out NIF.

Matt Letourneau, Domenici's spokesperson, insists that "the senator wants to see what scientific experiments can be carried out at NIF. . . . The intention is not to kill it. And it is certainly not the case that the senator is being provincial." But in the budget Domenici added more than $33 million for fusion-related activities, the majority of which went to research for the New Mexico-based Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories.

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Comments:
Gee...I wonder what will happen to the Labs in NM after St. Pete leaves the Senate?
 
Well I do not think too many
people are happy with Pete. Look
out for some back pay, if you know what I am saying. Do we
really need two labs in NM?
 
CLOSE IT DOWN - a huge tax payer fiasco heded up by who - The next director of LANL if UC wins. Give me a break - Hook em Horn's
 
If we can suspend the jeering for a minute, can someone say something about the objective case for/against science at the NIF? Possibly invoking a comparison to the SSC?
 
Suppose NIF works perfectly. What would you use it for? It is a scientific dead-end that is sucking money from a multitude of much more useful, albeit small science, projects. It is high time ALL the National Laboratories got real missions instead of comparing phalus sizes. It is high time they were held to SOME degree of accountability for spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money. I welcome the closure, and the inevitable backlash from California legislators...and I work in the weapon's program.
 
Another letter to Mr. Bodman:

Dear Secretary of Energy,

I realize that Ed Moses and his crew put on a brilliant and spectacular show for you yesterday that would bamboozle the best of us, however please do all of us a favor. Please do not fall for the smoke and mirror show. The laser program has successfully survived for four decades on politics and salesmanship an attribute seldom prevalent in a brilliant scientist. Please examine their tract record over the last twenty five years or so and ask yourself a few questions. Have they every really produced anything that was of value or that has worked as promised? Has what they develops survives past its expected life time? And then finally ask yourself this question. Is there an apparatus out there that is a thousand time cheaper that can acquire the data necessary for stockpile stewardship, yet has survived for four decades and still to this day is the backbone of all the current nuclear shock physics data. The answer is, yes and it’s not a laser.

It is time to put the nail in NIF’s coffin and do as any great manager for corporate America would do if he or she was in a profit making organization. Cease all funding for the program and order the immediate closure of the entire facility and its employees. Please do not do as others have done before you and be persuaded into spending another 100 billion dollars to build something that in the end will be outdated and dysfunctional. Please look beyond the construction cost and look at the millions of dollars it will take for it upkeep this beast.

Afterwards please take a inquire into what a two stage gas gun is and where in fact all of the stock pile stewardship data has been derived from since its conception. You will find that it came from the shock physics at both labs, JASPER and HEAF. These are in fact the only remaining facilities that are producing data. If DOE intends to invest in shock physics then please consider the tools that can get the job done

America’s economy has no room for any further boondoggles.

In conclusion I have enclosed Ed Moses so called NIFGRAM. Apparently he was not watching the same video presentation on the date of your appearances at LLNL as I was. He is confident that his empire will be fully funded and that it will be business as normal. I sincerely hope this is not the case.
 
Hello LLNL and LANL people, I'm from the LLE http://www.lle.rochester.edu/ (specifically I am from the group that does the coatings for all the NIF optics). What exactly is going on at NIF these days? Can someone who works there clue us in a bit? The website hasn't been updated in YEARS. Is NIF early light still happening? How many beams are fully up? Last I heard it was 4 to target at ~30 Kj total UV but this was like ...2 years ago! Are you getting a sense that there is a real risk of project shutdown now or is this just the latest tempest in a teapot? Cheers.
 
OMEGA laser dude:

NIF is going down. It will never be a necessary requirement, or an excuse, for the success or failure of stockpile stewardship. It is irrelevant. It is only a matter of time.
 
St. Pete has been a big part of the LANL problems, like a big bully backing a spoiled child. At some point the child has to deal with reality. It has been far too easy for the LANL management to call Pete's office (perhaps the LANL staff member who is stationed in Pete's office) and have Pete's office ream out/bully the DOE (whose budget Pete controls). It has also been to easy to have Pete heap money on failed LANL programs, like ASCI where Pete wants $75 million for the next LANL supercomputer failure (following on the failed Q machine). This in spite of studies which do not support this expenditure.
Sandia does not have a staff member in Pete's office, which is one reason why their relations with the DOE work so much better. Imagine the plight of the DOE; you finally get up some energy and try to hold LANL accountable for something and "whap" right on the ear from Pete's office. After a while its "what's the use", you just give up, or do what is "possible". This the story of DOE at LANL and it is time for that story to change.
Pete is not the solution, he's the problem; he and the incompetent LANL management that keeps calling Pete's number. Lastly, remember who gave us the NNSA, Pete, over the pleas of then Secr Richardson. With friends like Pete ...
 
If NIF is killed, I'd sure love as a taxpayer to get all that money back, but of course it's gone.

For the cost of NIF, we could have done 50-100 nuclear tests and really developed some more understanding of how the heck these things work.

The whole cessation of testing is stunning political pandering possibly only rivaled by the 'Atoms for Peace' fiasco (India: 'Look! We built a bomb! Thanks!')

Imagine you have a 747. Someday, you may need it to fly a mission that will save your nation from extermination. Just having the 747, in flying condition, makes your adversaries take pause before contemplating threating your way of life.

But your politicians decide it looks bad to fly it. Then everyone will want one. (Igorning that 'everyone' is trying to build one not matter what anyone else is doing.)

So they tell those responsible for the 747 that they can run up the engines, work the controls, drive it up and down the runway, but you may never never lift off.

But you must certify every year that it can fly, and fly thousands of miles and work perfectly, and be completely safe in terrible weather and incredible circumstances, so our adversaries are still deterred.

Would you get on an airplane that hasn't flown in 14 years to take a trip?
 
If you recall I said in one of my post that we were going to be caught with our panys down and that as we are gearing down they were gearing up for that final strike. You can bank on it. I know if I was a leader of a foriegn country that hated America I would jump on that opportunity in a micro-second and dust your shorts. In the end I be laughing. This is what we are setting ourselves up for.

Enjoy life while you can.
 
09:49 seems to be either illiterate or a poor user of English as a second language. My guess is that he and several other posters are posting from a government office in China.

This blog is obviously attracting the interest of the enemies of the USA.

You all look like fools; the sophomoric discussions of LANL mission, the half baked understanding of world and national politics, the cry baby whining about just about everything, the discussions of specific people like they were garbage, the lack of understanding of how this blog is damaging LANL long term. Very professional. What do you care?, you have your time in.

If I was not part of LANL and aware that the vast majority of staff are hard working, decent, and technically excellent, I'm sure I would characterize the entire lab as a worthless bunch of losers based upon what I see here.

I know several people that we at this lab desperately need to lead us as key managers under the new contractor. When approached on this topic, more than one of them told me they would not subject themselves to the type of personal attacks they see here in this blog. We need accountability at LANL. That accountability will lead to unhappy people. Unhappy people lead to personal attacks on the manager’s credibility. So we have now poisoned our own well.
 
Nanos was the one that created the blog. People are just so bitter about what happened.
 
It is time to restructure all labs. If that means you have to make everyone reapply for their jobs then so be it. What happened across the street from us was exactly what is going to happen to you. They will not fire anyone. They will simply do away with your position and then offer you another one. The kicker is, that new position will pay a lot less and destroy your ego. This will lead to you quiting and therefore have no grounds to stand on for a law suite. It is the new way of the world. get use to it. You're see the new beginning.

Retirment: You are on your own. It will be what ever you can put away in your 401k. There will be no company retirement program as we have now. The party is over.

Medical Coverage: It's gone to, slowly but surely

The Results: You had better get you butt out of dodge while you can

Lab employee
 
Poster 8/07/2005 12:58:55 PM - what you describe is legally defined as "Constructive Discharge." Look it up on the web - it's illegal.
 
Sorry Charlie. It gets done every day of the week and there is nothing you can do about it. If the incoming compnay has no use for that job position and is not will to pay you the same wage you are getting now, they can in fact demote you and reduce your pay. relistically it is a practice that should have been done at both labs for decades. Many of so called first line supervisor take the job just so that they can get their pay jacked up to ~ $2000.00 a month more then their equals and then five years later say, "I tied of this job". They revert back to STA's and keep that $2000.00 a month and do far less then their equal who has been working their ass off for 2% pay raises. Now tell me that isn't cause to have your pay cut. If you are not doing the job, then you should not be paid for it. It's plain and simply. Get use to it, because private enterprise is not going to pay you people over $100K a years to be a forman. NOT !!! An a worthless one at that. It called screwing the pooch. Bodman was right in that manner.
 
Sandia did this and it works quite well:

Constructive Discharge
From J. Steven Niznik,
Your Guide to Job Searching: Technical.
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Constructive Discharge Defined
You've worked for your employer for years as a loyal, trustworthy employee. You think that you have a great working relationship and you like working there. But, suddenly, your employer changes an aspect of your working conditions that makes it virtually impossible for you to stay. You have no choice but to quit, because there is no other choice for a reasonable employee such as yourself. To add insult to injury, the state employment office refuses to grant you unemployment benefits, because you quit.

But did you really quit? Maybe not. Instead, you might have effectively suffered constructive discharge, a form of wrongful termination. It's also called constructive wrongful discharge.

Constructive discharge is a legal concept that is an exception to the Employment at Will Doctrine. According to Black's Law Dictionary, it means "A termination of employment brought about by making the employee's working conditions so intolerable that the employee feels compelled to leave."

In other words, even though you quit, your employer might have, in effect, wrongfully terminated you according to the legal concept of constructive discharge.
 
Everyone knows that we have a lot of so called "freeloaders" at the labs and now it is time to get rid of the waste. From now on it will be eight for eight or out the gate. The party is over for the no loads. Thank you Mr. Bodman
 
"A termination of employment brought about by making the employee's working conditions so intolerable that the employee feels compelled to leave."

The are not going to take you AC away or give you a wrench, they are just going to offer you a new position that doesn't pay as much. Don't worry white colar workers you'll be needed ay some other location at your lab. Like the Pu facility. Take the job along with it hazards or quite. ITS YOUR CHOICE.

The new company is not here to play games or kiss your feet. They have a job to in on time and within the budget. If you can't hold your own or you are an obstical in the way, you'll be history.
 
NIF should be shut down ASAP. One of its competitors, the Sandia Z accelerator, has achieved three of four milestones at less than half a billion dollars and has a realistic chance of achieving fusion. Compare this with NIF, which is not affordable, not timely, and has delivered zero:
http://www.sandia.gov/media/z290.htm
 
As an LLNL employee, I'm appalled at the lack of safety and basic common sense around this place. Case in point: last November, a researcher, helped by a tech, uses his hands, three different kinds of hammers, tape, and finally a heat source to remove a cobalt-57 source from a collimator. They manage to release radioactive powder, without radiological controls, in a shop not even authorized to work with radioactive materials, before the big OOPS. But we can handle NIF...
 
All funding for NIF or as we call it (IF) should come to an end at the close of business Friday. This would give them three days to displace all of the workers in preparation for the doors to be welded shut. Afterwards LLNL could in fact make money off of this structure if they were to turn it into an entertainment facility like Marine World. The beam ports would be a wonderful way to view the fish from all 192 angles.

LASERS should never see another large project because of their tract record. It speaks for itself. If they do I'd be real surprised. Can one say "consolidation of the two labs in New Mexico"

NIF is IF , if there ever was an IF
 
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