Saturday, November 05, 2005

Latest rumor

Submitted by Anonymous:
__________________________

The latest rumor is that DOE plans to announce the new contractor early, on November 18th. This one has spread rapidly, might even be true.

Comments:
If so, it will the FIRST TIME DOE has ever done anything ahead of schedule. Are they sure they want to wreck their perfect record?
 
Lets hope the rumor is true and that DOE finally does something on schedule. Now for the next rumor that I need verified by any means you can.

The word I received Friday was that LLNL was told to down-size and tighten the belt. The word is that 1500 people will be laid off by Feb of 2006 at which time they will make a determination if more folks will hit the road. The kicker was that FTE's were not excluded and that there will be the shut down of some facilities. We can only hope that NIF is one of them.

Anyone who actually has facts, please post them accordingly. This will be a strong indicator as to what is next.
 
I can only imagine how ready DOE is to be rid of UC.
 
The best thing for LLNL would be for congress to transfer it from NNSA and put it under the auspices of the DOE Office of Science, like its sister lab Lawrence Berkeley. NNSA is strangling non nuclear weapons work at LLNL with its bureaucratic approach to oversight and regulations. NIF should become an user facility and get back to its original design intent as the successor to Nova and a laser fusion energy research machine.

Everyone at LLNL knows the SNM is leaving and the Pu research work moving to NTS. LLNL is becoming the premier supercomputer lab in the world (look at the Top 500 list and count the number of LLNL systems) as well as a leader in bioscience/defense research - which makes sense given it proximity to biotechnology centers/companies in the SF bay area and UC campuses - not to mention the huge growth in Homeland Security research/response programs at LLNL like NARAC, Biowatch, etc... real high hazard work will soon be a thing of the past at LLNL - which only makes since given the large residential populations within spitting distance of the lab's gates... unlike Los Alamos which was handed to UC in a backroom deal in the 1940s, LLNL was born in 1952 as UC lab - the UC Radiation Laboratory at Livermore was its original name and it was a division of the Berkeley Lab.

With the end of the cold war there's really no need for two full time nuclear weapons lab - given its history, LANL is the obvious choice for being the sole weapons lab, and LM/UT is probably the best choice to run the single mission lab. LLNL would be freed up to focuses on an expanded national science mission portfolio, while still available to do peer reviews of LANL work as a side job... UC should push hard to have congress make LLNL a real national and homeland security lab, and congress needs to recognize how much damage NNSA's inept micromanagement has done to real science and innovation at the nation's science labs...
 
A bit more on the LLNL rumor....

LLNL Director Mike Anastasio sent out an internal memo to LLNL staff this week - praising the year that LLNL has had in FY05, but noted that belt tightening was needed to deal with uncertainties with the dollars the lab gets from its federal sponsors (ie., NNSA and DOD) as well as needing funding for the Lab's Aurora project.

Aurora is the Lab's strategic planning project for the vision of LLNL in the year 2025. Over the summer, 113 middle manager types at LLNL were grouped into five teams which then developed 17 proposed initiatives for guiding the lab to the year 2025. All LLNL employees were also allowed to provide input directly to the teams. In August the proposals were submitted to Director Anastasio. He was going to select which initiatives to fund and is excepted to announce his decisions this week during a lab wide address to LLNL staff... proposals included;

- Develop a predictive knowledge program that would use and integrate simulation, data assimilation and pattern recognition and apply them to national security and scientific applications.

-Energy security, in which Lab researchers would expand analysis, technology and collaborations to address energy resources, climate and water. This also would include development of transformational energy technologies to meet the future demand for energy.

- Positioning LLNL as the premier national "Fusion Laboratory."

- Establishing the Lab as the premier national resource in biodefense.

- Development of centralized operations.
 
"LLNL is becoming the premier supercomputer lab in the world (look at the Top 500 list and count the number of LLNL systems) as well as a leader in bioscience/defense research - which makes sense given it proximity to biotechnology centers/companies in the SF bay area and UC campuses - not to mention the huge growth in Homeland Security research/response programs at LLNL like NARAC, Biowatch, etc... real high hazard work will soon be a thing of the past at LLNL - which only makes since given the large residential populations within spitting distance of the lab's gates... unlike Los Alamos which was handed to UC in a backroom deal in the 1940s, LLNL was born in 1952 as UC lab - the UC Radiation Laboratory at Livermore was its original name and it was a division of the Berkeley Lab."

Now wait just a minute. What about LANL's "World's Greatest Science Serving..." er, whatever.

LANL must be the world's best supercomputing National Laboratory. It couldn't possibly be Livermore. At least that's what George told us.

Oh, wait! George doesn't work here any more. Could that possibly mean we aren't the world's greatest, you know, whatever, and that LLNL is?

In any event, LLNL, I'd be careful if I were you. Look what all the chest-thumping did for LANL.

Oh, and lest you forget, LLNL is next on the chopping block.
 
The only problem I have with this rumor is that the contract states that the change-over date will be 6 months after the announcement. Why would NNSA want the change-over date to be May 18th when a start of the month date makes more sense? This is why I think, even if they already have picked the winner, that they will wait until Dec. 1st.
 
Extracted out of a little blurb from Associated Press this morning 11/8/05
----------------
Washington —

House and Senate negotiators finished work on a $30.5 billion bill to fund energy and water projects.

The bill, expected to be approved later this week by the full House and Senate, also:

- Meets Bush's $337 million budget request for the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab in California. Domenici had sought to slash construction funding for the project, a giant laser being built to simulate the explosion of a hydrogen bomb. Already $2.8 billion has been spent on it.
 
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