Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Beddin' the bombers


Beddin' the bombers

On Nov. 30, students and community groups from the University of Colorado, UC Berkley, Purdue University, as well as Tri-Valley CAREs and the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Coalition, along with many others, will protest the universities' involvement in the Department of Energy bid to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one of the primary labs responsible for designing those hated nuclear weapons. The day of action has been organized by the Coalition to Demilitarize Education and is scheduled about one week before LANL will announce the winner of the bid. If effective, Eye guess the fallout won't come as soon as the doomsdaysayers claim. Too bad, Eye was really looking forward to a nice, cozy nuclear winter.


Full Story

N.M. scientist touts heat-inflicting weapon

By James W. Brosnan
Scripps Howard News Service

November 30, 2005

WASHINGTON - Many American soldiers and Iraqis could have been spared death or injury if the Defense Department had moved faster to develop an energy weapon that gives an enemy the full-body version of a hotfoot, a former Kirtland Air Force Base researcher contends.

"Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives could have been saved if science and technology had been properly applied and used," Doug Beason, an Albuquerque resident and currently director of threat reduction at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said Tuesday at a Heritage Foundation lecture.


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Report claims UC had feds pay for charity donations

By Andy Lenderman The New Mexican |
November 30, 2005

A draft report questions whether the University of California should have charged the federal government $6 million that the school gave to a nonprofit charity.

A UC spokesman maintains the university has done nothing wrong.

A copy of the incomplete report first appeared Monday on an independent Web site where Los Alamos National Laboratory employees air concerns about the lab and the pending management change.

The report concerns the university’s management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, a separate nonprofit group that gave about $3.47 million to schools, social programs and college scholarships last year in Northern New Mexico.

The draft apparently found its way to the Web site “LANL — The Real Story” on the same day it was issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Inspector General Office.


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Plutonium missing from Los Alamos

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Some 661 pounds of plutonium is unaccounted for and may be missing from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, an activist group says.

There is no evidence the plutonium -- enough to make dozens of nuclear bombs -- was stolen or diverted, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research said.

The Takoma Park, Md., institute said its report used documents from 1996 to 2004 to reach its conclusions, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"The University (of California) obviously has a responsibility in this," said report co-author Arjun Makhijani. "It should be a grave embarrassment for the university to be sitting on numbers like this and discrepancies like this, and not have resolved them."


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Announcement date

Current intel has it that Senator Dominici will be on travel Dec 6 - 13, for whatever impact this will have on the announcement date.


LOS ALAMOS Plutonium could be missing from lab

600-plus pounds unaccounted for, activist group says

Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Enough plutonium to make dozens of nuclear bombs hasn't been accounted for at the UC-run Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and may be missing, an activist group says in a new report.

There is no evidence that the weapons-grade plutonium has been stolen or diverted for illegal purposes, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research said. However, the amount of unaccounted-for plutonium -- more than 600 pounds, and possibly several times that -- is so great that it raises "a vast security issue," the group said in a report to be made public today.

The institute, which is based in Takoma Park, Md., says it compared data from five publicly available reports and documents issued by the U.S. Energy Department and Los Alamos from 1996 to 2004 and found inconsistencies in them. It says the records aren't clear on what the lab did with the plutonium, a byproduct of nuclear bomb research at Los Alamos.

A spokesman for UC, which manages the national laboratories at Los Alamos and Livermore for the Energy Department, did not address the report's specifics but said the New Mexico lab tracks nuclear material "to a minute quantity."


Full Story

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fed Audit Faults LANL Manager

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Report

A federal audit shows that Los Alamos National Laboratory's manager, the University of California, made contributions to the lab's nonprofit foundation and then "inappropriately" charged the federal government for $6 million in reimbursements.

A draft of the audit findings, issued by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General, was posted this week on a popular Web log that deals with lab issues.

A final report hasn't been released, but UC spokesman Chris Harrington confirmed Tuesday that the university was in the process of addressing the report's findings. He said the draft was "out for comment" and that "we're going to provide our information to the department and go through the proper channels in terms of responding to the report."

Harrington added that UC's response to the report will show that reimbursements it received for contributions to the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation were allowed under UC's management contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.


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Is another delay ahead for announcing the Los Alamos lab contract-winner?

SANTA FE (2005-11-29) -- At the Los Alamos national lab, they're wondering whether there could be yet another delay in the announcement of the winning contract to run the lab.

The energy department had promised to name the contract-winner by December 1st, but then slipped that date to the 9th, saying the team reviewing the bids hadn't completed its work.

Now comes word that the local federal office in charge of overseeing the Los Alamos lab is not prepared to do its job in overseeing a new contract. The federal agency making that conclusion says the Los Alamos federal office lacks staff and hasn't got policies together for how to manage the transition to a new contract.


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Lockheed Martin Selects Linux for Missile Defense

Something for a change of pace on the blog.


Highest Wages in East, Lowest in South

WASHINGTON— Americans have been migrating south and west for decades, but it appears they've been leaving some high-paying jobs behind. While there are many pockets of wealth in the South and West, the states with the highest wage earners line the East Coast, according to Census data released Tuesday.

Connecticut, with a median household income of $56,409, supplanted New Jersey as the country's highest wage state in 2003, the most recent year available. New Jersey slid to second, at $56,356, followed by Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Mississippi had the lowest median income, at $32,397. West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Montana rounded out the bottom five.

The median household income for the nation was $43,318.

Census figures show that Southern and Western states have been growing in population much faster than those in the Northeast and Midwest.

But despite those population shifts, the list of wealthiest - and poorest - states in 2003 looks a lot like the list from a decade before.

"You're going to see those areas - Mississippi, Appalachia - those are just characteristically, throughout history, poorer areas," said David Waddington, chief of the Census Bureau's small area estimates branch.

The wage gap among counties was even more pronounced than the one for states.

Los Alamos County in New Mexico, home of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, had the nation's highest median income, at $93,089. It was followed by Douglas County in Colorado and Loudoun County in northern Virginia.


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Does this remind you of the incompetence of FEMA?

Publication: Santa Fe New Mexican; Date: Nov 29, 2005; Section: Local News; Page: 15

Report: Nuclear agency not ready for new contract
By Andy Lenderman The New Mexican

A federal safety inspector says the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos office is not ready to manage a new operating contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

A shortage of qualified employees, lack of focus and staff turnover were among concerns mentioned by the federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board in a series of recent weekly reports.

The NNSA’s Los Alamos office “has issues that hamper effective oversight and is not ready to manage contract transition or the new contract,” an Oct. 28 report reads.

A spokesman for the NNSA’s Los Alamos office said his group is working to address the concerns raised by the board, which is an independent agency that aims to hold the country’s nuclear facilities accountable for safety issues.

The NNSA and a new contractor, which will be announced in December, will oversee the lab for the federal government. The contractor will manage the lab, and the NNSA’s local office will provide oversight on issues like security management, environmental stewardship and safety and health issues.

“We’ll continue to work very, very diligently and ensure that were going to have everything in place to have this contract ready,” said Bernie Pleau, a spokesman for the NNSA’s Los Alamos Site Office.

The Oct. 28 report also said the NNSA office will enter a three-month “strategic pause” in December for “an organizational reboot.”

Staffing needs, formalizing policies, training and qualifications would be covered during that time, the report said.

Pleau said his office is in the process of hiring 10 to 15 new people. There are about 131 NNSA employees working in the Los Alamos Site Office now, according to the office’s Web site. “We do think there is a staffing shortage right now,” Pleau said. NNSA is also analyzing how to do its job. “Everything is on the table,” Pleau said, “from public affairs clear on down to security management. And we’re trying to determine and focus on those areas where we think the work is most needed.”

Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, a nucleardisarmament watchdog group, said there’s no excuse for the government not to be ready for the contract transition.

After December’s contract announcement, the lab will enter a six-month transition period. The new contractor is scheduled to take over management of the lab on June 1, 2006.

Two coalitions are competing to manage the lab, which has a $2.2 billion budget and more than 15,000 employees and contractors. The University of California has teamed with Bechtel National, and the University of Texas has joined Lockheed Martin Corp. in the competition. The winner could earn up to $79 million a year to run the lab, which has been managed by the University of California alone since 1943.

UC probed over Los Alamos reimbursements Contributions to lab's foundation come under fire

Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General is investigating whether the University of California improperly charged the federal government $6 million to support a New Mexico foundation that provides scholarships and other aid to teachers and students.

UC spokesman Chris Harrington said Monday that the university was guilty of no wrongdoing -- "none whatsoever, absolutely not."

The accusations are contained in a draft audit by George Collard, an assistant inspector general. The report says the Energy Department approved UC's proposal in 1997 to establish the nonprofit Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, which works with schools and community groups in northern New Mexico.


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Monday, November 28, 2005

Calif. Congressman Admits Taking Bribes

Rep. Cunningham is one member of the California delegation that threw its weight behind the UC consortium. See



Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges and tearfully resigned from office, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to conspirators.

Cunningham, 63, entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004.

Cunningham answered "yes, Your Honor" when asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he had accepted bribes from someone in exchange for his performance of official duties.


Full Story

Revised Version

Someone sent in a revised version of the LANS advert.


Draft IG Audit Report on UC Contributions to the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation

"The University did not make its annual contributions for educational outreach and
community investment to the Foundation in accordance with the funding sources
specified in contract requirements. Except for FYs 1998 and 1999, the University
inappropriately charged its annual contributions as an allowable General and
Administration expense to the Department instead of incurring the costs as a University
expense as required by the contract modification.


As a result, since FY 1998, the Department reimbursed the University $6 million for
unallowable contributions. Such funds could have been used for other Los Alamos
mission priorities."

Link to draft audit report

U.S. alters nuclear weapons policy Congress rejects 'bunker busters' for more reliable arms

James Sterngold, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, November 28, 2005

After struggling in recent years to redefine U.S. nuclear policy, Congress turned the country in a new direction this month by giving millions of dollars for a program aimed at producing a smaller arsenal of more reliable warheads.

Lawmakers killed the widely criticized nuclear "bunker buster" concept, which critics regarded as too aggressive, and instead appropriated $25 million for research on what is called the reliable replacement warhead, or RRW. Though that initial sum is relatively modest, it signifies an important policy shift that could end up costing many billions of dollars.

Even some arms control advocates have applauded the decision, because many see the new program as a sharp scaling back of the Bush administration's once soaring nuclear ambitions.


Full Story

This one speaks for itself

Displayed at the B3 gate at the Albuquerque Sunport.

LA House Market Hits Slowdown

By Emily Crawford
Journal Staff Writer

The Los Alamos real estate market has slowed this year, affecting home prices and leaving properties to sit empty longer as buyers and sellers anticipate a decision in the competition to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory, local real estate agents say.

With the winner of the bid originally scheduled to be announced on or around Dec. 1, some agents predicted that the market would pick up. But the U.S. Department of Energy announced last week that the announcement would be delayed, and although that delay was not expected to be significant, no deadline was announced.

"I think people will finally know what direction the lab is going in and what they want to do, whether to stay or to go," said Colleen Van Tiem, a qualifying broker with Los Alamos Properties, a new company in the city. "They will be more willing to make a permanent decision."


Full Story

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Note to New Mexico: these are not people you want to chase out of state!

Comment from the


I'm well aware that google is hiring -- I am doing a fair amount of work with those guys.

Don't think you can get hired at google just because you are good at CS. I know very smart people who have not made it through the interview process. Yeah, they're hiring like crazy, I see the 'new employee signup' lines are quite long. They still don't just take anyone, however. Their hiring pool is the world. So you have a pool that is somewhat larger than LANL is willing to look at. Google is not (yet) at the point of compromising quality for quantity.

And yes, like most of you, I've had offers, just not offers that have made me interested in leaving -- yet. Lotsa jobs out there, but not lotsa jobs that let me do the work I'm doing now. I've been able to do things here at LANL that I could have done few other places.

What I'm more interested in is this: we hear people are leaving. Where are they going? I think they're going to some pretty neat places. It would be interesting to have a headline on the web page, with a "where are they now" section. My list was a start.

Since the salary report just came out in the papers, I also expect to see people complaining about how much more LANL employees earn than NM average. Guess what, folks -- in most cases, when they leave, it's for a bigger paycheck! Good people can leave LANL any time they want, and earn more to boot. In fact, good people can make a phone call and have a new job in 15 minutes, in many cases. Note to New Mexico: these are not people you want to chase out of state!


"Assorted Scandals"

Albuquerque Journal
Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lab Debate Rooted In Assorted Scandals

By John Arnold
Journal Northern Bureau
SANTA FE— The historic competition for the contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory has been a long time in the making.
While security and management lapses in recent years were cited in a 2003 DOE report recommending that the lab contract be put up for bid this year, those who study the lab's history say it's important to put the pending change in historical context. It has roots in assorted scandals dating back more than two decades. Bit cultural changes and the end of the Cold War have significantly affected the lab's mission, opening it to scrutiny and criticism, according to lab watchdogs, scholars and government investigators.
The University of California has been LANL manager since 1943, when the lab was organized to build the world's first atomic bomb.
Now, two teams of academic and industrial partners are competing for the contract and a management fee of up to a $79 million. The winner of the bid was expected to be announced this week, but the National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced that the decision would be delayed. No new decision date for the contract has been set.
The University of Texas, which has expressed interest in running the lab for years, has teamed up with Lockheed-Martin. And the University of California has chosen to partner with Bechtel Corporation in an effort to keep its long-standing affiliation with the lab.
That baffles Hugh Gusterson, an MIT anthropology professor who is working on a new book about the nation's nuclear weapons laboratories in the post-Cold War era.
"I have to say, the greatest mystery to me with the whole thing is why the University of California is so committed to hanging on to the contract," he said. "Increasingly, it's become a millstone around their neck."

Probing security
That burdensome aspect of the contract dates back to the early 1980s, when members of Congress began to more carefully scrutinize lab management and security, said Pete Stockton, a former congressional staffer who in the 1980s and 1990s worked on a House subcommittee that investigated lab problems.
Beginning in 1982 and continuing into the 1990s, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, led by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., conducted investigation after investigation into security and management of facilities across the weapons complex.
LANL and sister lab Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, figured prominently in the subcommittee's work, which included inquiries into illegal drug use at the two facilities in 1988; a 10-week security force strike at LANL in 1989; and allegations of environmental, health and safety problems at LANL in 1991.
But while some congressional leaders like Dingell publicly questioned lab management, "the gloves never came off," said Gusterson. "And then in the late '90s, the gloves came off, particularly in the Wen Ho Lee case and around the series of missing (computer) disks."
Lee, a Taiwan-born U.S. citizen, was indicted on 59 counts of mishandling nuclear secrets. After spending nine months in solitary confinement, Lee pleaded guilty to a single count and was released. The story drew huge media attention, especially when U.S. District Judge James Parker, who presided over the case, apologized to Lee, saying the government's handling of the case was an embarrassment.
"Months and months and months of that kind of intense media coverage of an institution really takes its toll," Gusterson said, adding that the temporary disappearance in May 2000 of two computer hard-drives containing nuclear weapons designs "just re-enforced this idea that Los Alamos had a broken security culture."

The final straw
The last straw came in 2002, when LANL mangers fired two lab whistle-blowers who revealed weak purchasing and property control systems at the lab.
The following year, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced the lab's contract would be put up for bid. The DOE review recommending the competition called the 2002 fiascoes "the precipitating incidents."
But Gusterson says bigger cultural shifts outside the lab were also factors in the decision. For example, globalization and modern business practices make UC's 63-year-old contract seem outdated and the idea of competition more acceptable, he said.
"There's a way in which Los Alamos and Livermore are sort of a holdover, not just from the Cold War, but from an era where people felt that you got a job in your 20s and you stayed in it until you retired. Now everything is being competed."
The end of the Cold War and nuclear testing has played a role in changing lab culture as well, calling into question LANL's mission, lab watchdogs say.
"Right after the Cold War, there was a period of time where the (weapons) labs lost their way. They lost their identity," said Greg Mello, director of the Albuquerque-based Los Alamos Study Group. "Then they came up with the so-called stockpile stewardship program."
Stockpile stewardship is the DOE effort to keep the nation's nuclear stockpile reliable in the absence of underground tests.

Calls for competition
Despite the security lapses, plus employee discrimination complaints and several worker accidents in the mid- and late 1990s, former energy secretaries Hazel O'Leary and Bill Richardson extended the University of California's contract, citing the need for continuity and stability. University of California supporters have argued that the school's long-time hold on the contract has been an important tool in recruiting and retaining top scientists, who are attracted by the institution's academic prestige and generous benefits package.
"The truth of the matter is the University of California, if everything is going well, it is a really terrific institution from the scientific end to be affiliated with," said U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who supported UC's past contract extensions but has also been supportive of the 2003 decision to put the contract up for bid.
O'Leary's and Richardson's decisions to extend UC's contract came after repeated calls to put the contract up for bid. The University of Texas had expressed interest in running the lab as far back as 1996. A congressman at that time, Richardson himself urged O'Leary to approve a contract competition. U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., also supported a competition in 1996.
"So it's not a new idea, and it's something that should have been done," said Stockton, now a senior investigator with the Project on Government Oversight.

[This is the entire article, the genuine article. UC is "hanging on," as are most LANL staff members, against all reasonable odds. I include myself, because the real reason we are under attack is the Neo-conservative agenda, which cares nothing about science, but only about projected power. The inevitableness of all this incredible nonsense is exemplified by the last sentence above. And this from "The Enemy."]

LANL: UT bid to include tuition discount

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
November 27, 2005

Los Alamos National Laboratory employees could send their children to University of Texas schools at a discounted tuition rate if that school is successful in its effort to take over management of the lab.

A similar program is already in place for employees at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, which has an agreement with the University of Texas system.

Sandia employees pay in-state tuition rates for their children attending UT schools. For example, a full-time, undergraduate business student at the University of Texas at Austin would pay $3,856 for the spring 2006 semester. Normally, an out-of-state resident would pay $8,680.


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Saturday, November 26, 2005

LANL Lab pays double state's average wage

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
November 26, 2005

Average yearly salaries at Los Alamos National Laboratory are more than twice what the average job in New Mexico pays, lab and state figures show.

Lab technicians make an average salary of $63,377, support staffers are paid $73,228, and technical staff members, a group that includes scientists, earn $119,777, a lab spokesman said.

Twenty-eight people make between $200,000 and $290,000, the top salary at the lab, according to a November salary list posted on the employee-association Web site.


Full Story

Friday, November 25, 2005

I wanted to take this opportunity

Submitted by "Bob Dynes":

[Note: I suspect that this was not written by the real Bob Dynes. --Doug]

Dear LANL Staff,

Some of you have questioned the wisdom of my having approved the expenditure of $871 million this past year on unreported "bonuses" and other monetary perks to my favored upper managers within our little UC family. To help forestall any further criticism of my management skills, I wanted to take this opportunity to let all of you at LANL know a few things.

First, I would like you to know that that we have been keeping a list back here in in comfortable El Sobrante, CA, and we have checked it twice.

Secondly, let me just say, it's my $871 million, and I can slide it under the table to my friends if I want to.

Thirdly, as to the UC brotherhood continuing to pay your previous director that nice, fat sum of $235,000 per year to stay hidden somewhere in DTRA: what's the problem with that? He only has a little more than a year to go before he will have his five years in the UC system, and then we will vest him, as a continued reward for his services.

Finally, back to that list I mentioned. Through careful examination of its contents, we know who's been naughty and who's been nice, and I'm here to tell you that if WE win the contract, the naughty ones can just take a hike. Especially that blog guy. We've had our eye on him for a while now. We managed to "lose" his laboratory associate paperwork for just long enough to cause his clearance to expire. But now that the paperwork got "found" again, I think we can drag out the approval process long enough that he'll never be back again, if WE win.

So, in closing please let me assure you that I've got mine; I gave some of it to my friends, and the rest of you can go pound sand.


"Bob" Dynes

CU, Mines await word on contract

In first-of-kind pact, schools could join weapons research at Los Alamos

The clock is ticking.

Sometime in the next few weeks, the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to announce whether the University of Colorado and Colorado School of Mines will take a more active role in research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the once-secret birthplace of the atomic bomb.

The schools are part of a controversial, first-of-its-kind academic alliance that will intertwine with Los Alamos if the University of Texas and its bid partner, Lockheed Martin, wrest control away from the University of California, which has run the lab for more than six decades.


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A whole town built by the bomb

For Los Alamos' anxious residents, the lab is a way of life

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - There is no separating Los Alamos National Laboratory from this town it calls home.

Most everyone here either works at the lab or is related to someone who does.

Everywhere you look, there are nods to scientific history, from Oppenheimer Drive - named after the physicist who built the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos - to the Trinity Beverage Company, the bar that shares its moniker with the Trinity Test, the world's first nuclear explosion.

So when it comes to the impending decision of who will next manage the lab, the speculation and fear are not limited to inside its walls.


Full Story

Thursday, November 24, 2005

This has been a difficult year

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the people who have supported me and Todd and, after his passing, Todd's family. This has been a difficult year and the encouragement that we received from so many of you was invaluable.

As we give thanks to God today I ask you to please keep Sara, John, and Tia, Todd's parents John and Marie, brother Dave, and sister Diana, in your prayers. This is the time of year when such a profound loss becomes even more palpable. As we continue to search for justice in this situation knowing that so many of you support us in this effort is inspiring.

I pray for God's blessings for all of you in the community and for the nation.

Thank you again,

John N. Horne

Agency delays decision on lab pact

By Sue Vorenberg
Tribune Reporter

November 24, 2005

Two words: government paperwork.

That's why the National Nuclear Security Agency expects a short delay before it's ready to announce who will operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, agency spokesman Al Stotts said.

The decision was originally scheduled for Dec. 1, but on Wednesday Stotts said the agency pushed it back to better prepare its report analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the two bidders: Lockheed Martin and the University of Texas team or the University of California and Bechtel.


Full Story

DOE can't announce yet because they haven't been told the answer

A comment by "lucky" from the


DOE can't announce yet because they haven't been told the answer. Senator Domenici, who supports UC, and Representative Hobson, who despises UC haven't resolved it yet. Same players with the RFP. Pete insisted that the bid "must not discriminate" against the current contractor, UC. This meant the UC must agree that the RFP was something they would bid on; which allowed them to dictate a lot of the RFP's key features. The RFP was then such a slanted POS that no one but UC would bid it. Hobson intervened, and insisted that there couldn't be a "competition" with only one bidder. This led to the major revisions of the RFP, though it was still so slanted that only LM/Sandia (an insider) bid.

This "non political" competition is nothing but politics. Left to their own resources DOE would go with LM/Sandia, but they won't get to make the decision. No surprise there.

I hope Hobson wins this one, but its a tough call. Hobson has a plan for the future of the weapons complex, Domenici simply wants pork. Domenici loaded up the DOE piece of the Energy Appropriations bill, just passed, with $450 million in pure pork, splattered around with a shot gun, so he has lot of favors due him. He's good at this game. Too bad he doesn't care about bringing the best management possible to LANL, and serving the interests of the nation. Sometimes our "democracy" makes me shake my head.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

C U And Boulder

By MATT WILLIAMS Colorado Daily Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:49 PM MST

CU-Boulder engineering student John Shelton doesn't work with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, but he said he and other engineering students favor a proposed CU-Los Alamos partnership.

“Most of us consider this a boon, something that will help us when we graduate,” Shelton said about projected internships, jobs and relationships that likely would be generated at “LANL.”

Shelton, a junior, is among what one student leader called a “vast majority” of students in physics and engineering who support CU's joining an academic network of 19 prominent universities to conduct research at LANL. It's a supporting project in a bid led by the University of Texas and defense contractor Lockheed Martin to operate the New Mexico-based lab.


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Survey: Lab workers feel vulnerable

ROGER SNODGRASS,, Monitor Assistant Editor

Employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory are pessimistic about future job-related issues, according to a recent survey by the Coalition for LANL Excellence, an ad hoc community organization.

A week before the anticipated announcement about the fate of the contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory, CLE members said their survey reflected a skeptical view by workers at all levels of the laboratory.

"There is a critical time from now to one year from now to influence how many people go out the door," said Joe Ladish of the coalition.

The study, developed by coalition members with professional consultation, was conducted between June and September. It maps a sample of employees' perceptions about the coming changes.


Full Story

DOE won't meet deadline to announce Los Alamos contract winner

Associated Press

The Energy Department said Wednesday that it won't meet the Dec. 1 deadline to announce a winner of the contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory.

According to a posting on the National Nuclear Safety Administration's Web site, the leader of the contract selection board asked for more time to complete its report.

The official "does not anticipate a significant delay in the selection decision," according to the NNSA, a semi-autonomous agency that's part of the DOE. No new deadline was announced.


Full Story

BREAKING NEWS 10:19 am: Los Alamos contractor decision postponed

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
November 23, 2005

The National Nuclear Security Administration has delayed an announcement of who will take over management of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Tyler Przybylek, who chairs a group of NNSA employees studying the matter, has requested more time to analyze proposals from two groups competing to take over the labs management.

A decision on the selection of a contractor to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory will not be announced on Dec. 1 as previously projected, a Wednesday morning news release from NNSA said.


Full Story



NOVEMBER 23, 2005
(202) 224-7098


WASHINGTON – In response to news that the Department of
Energy will not announce the winning bid to operate Los Alamos
National Laboratory on Dec. 1, as previously expected, U.S. Senator
Pete Domenici issued the following statement:

"I have been notified that there will be a brief delay in announcing
the winning bid to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

"I continue to have faith that DOE is conducting a fair, thorough and
exhaustive evaluation of the two bids, and I'm confident that no
matter what the outcome, the lab will have an excellent management
team and the employees will be well treated. I do not expect this
delay to inhibit lab operations."

Domenici serves as chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development
Appropriations Committee which funds the DOE national laboratories.


New date for contract winner announcement

Several people have alerted me to the following. New estimate of the announcement date is December 9.



November 23, 2005:
A decision on the selection of a contractor to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory will not be announced on December 1 as previously projected. The Chairman of the Source Evaluation Board has requested more time for the board to complete its report to the Source Selection Official.
The Source Evaluation Board Chairman said that he does not anticipate a significant delay in the selection decision.

[A Closer Look]: UC president criticized after salary revelation

By Shaun Bishop

University of California President Robert Dynes – who insists people call him "Bob" – has long sought to cultivate an image of accessibility.

During his 15 years as chancellor of UC San Diego, he headlined a "Chancellor's Challenge" in which he ran with students to raise money for scholarships. When he visited UCLA two years ago, he did an informal run around the campus perimeter with students, faculty and staff. He met with UCLA student-leaders over breakfast in May 2004.

Ben Margot/The Associated Aress
UC President Robert Dynes reacts during the Board of Regents’ meeting last week in Berkeley, during which he pledged to improve UC policies on public notification about employee salaries.

But last week the reputation for openness in the university he leads took a hit when the San Francisco Chronicle revealed previously unreported compensation bonuses for UC employees totalling $871 million last year. The figures were not included in a consultant's report in September, which said UC salaries lagged behind market rates.


Full Story

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Why isn't NNSA jumpng all over this story?

Why isn't NNSA jumpng all over this story? Is it because it was perpetrated by a Federal Employee instead of an incompetent M&O contractor?

If you wish to post please post anonomously.

New "Man on the Moon" (Manhattan) Project"?

Shouldn't LANL (or DOE) have a stake in this?

Monday, November 21, 2005
Peak Oil resolution in U.S. House of Representaives

Global Public Media

In Brief: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency that was incorporated in the `Man on the Moon' project to address the inevitable challenges of `Peak Oil'.

A peak oil bill has been filed in the House of Representatives with the support of the newly formed Peak Oil Caucus, founded by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (Rep, MD) and a number of co-sponsors. The members of the caucus are James McGovern, Vern Ehlers, TOM UDALL, Mark Udall, Raul Grijalva, Wayne Gilchrest, Jim Moran, Dennis Moore.

Co-sponsors are TOM UDALL, Virgil Goode, Raul Grijalva, Walter Jones, Tom Tancredo, Phil Gingrey, Randy Kuhl, Steve Israel, G.K. Butterfield, Mark Udall, Chris Van Hollen, Wayne Gilchrest, Al Wynn, John McHugh, Jim Moran, and Dennis Moore.

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency that was incorporated in the `Man on the Moon' project to address the inevitable challenges of `Peak Oil'.

[See first Comment for text of Resolution]

Comment of the week, sort of

Doug, I was browsing through October's posts, and came across this gem of a comment from Finknottle on the


I wonder if you could consider it for "comment of the week", albeit a bit late. Congratulations on the exclusive deal, by the way!


In a stunning deal which shook the media industry, "Baghdad Bob" Jim Fallin and Doug Roberts of "LANL, The Real Story" fame put their former acrimony behind them as they inked a deal wherein the popular Real Story web log, or blog, will be given exclusive rights for daily communications on the transition.

More details on this surprise merger to follow.

Event To Protest UC-Lab Alliance

While the fate of the University of California’s contract with the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) remains undecided, students opposing the UC’s role in the lab will host “The University’s Role In War and Peace” presentation tonight in the MultiCultural Center Theater at 7.

The free event includes a four-scene original play titled, “I Went to the University of California and All I Got Was This Stupid Thermo-Nuclear Weapon,” and features interpretive dances, as well as a dramatization of a UC Regents meeting.

Will Parish, one of the event’s organizers and a coordinator for the UC Nuclear Free campaign at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, said fellow activists will wear nuclear warhead costumes today in the Arbor as advertisement for tonight’s event. He said the group is also hosting a rally against UC lab management tomorrow in Storke Plaza at noon.


Full Story

Who Will Win the Los Alamos Contract

From John Fleck's Albuquerque Journal Science blog:

02:44pm MST, 21 Nov 2005 A common question I hear these days: "Who do you think will get the Los Alamos contract?" The question is based on a false premise: that because I've been covering the nuclear weapons complex for a while, I might have some knowledge with regard to this question. That misunderstands a journalist's expertise. We don't really know much ourselves, so much as know who to ask. But I do ask, and almost all the smart people I know think the Lockheed Martin/University of Texas team is a sure bet. That doesn't mean LM/UT is a sure bet. That's just the overwhelming conventional wisdom. Ralph Haurwitz did a good job in a Cox News Service story this morning of

getting the conventional wisdom down on paper:

"People at the lab are more comfortable with UC because they know it," but conventional wisdom holds that the incumbent is at a disadvantage, said Tom Bowles, the lab's chief science officer and a member of its executive board.

After all, Bowles and other University of California employees acknowledge, if the government was satisfied with current management, why would it have opened the contract to competition?


Full Story

UC continues to behave in a way that suggests little regard for our community

Could you please post anonymously from TryingToUnderstand.

From the Albuquerque Journal's Article, "LANL Deal May Mean Windfall," when asked about paying GRT, "The gross receipts tax will be paid. That's understood," said UT/Lockheed spokesman Rod Geer."
"A UC/Bechtel spokesman said he didn't have enough information to comment." In my opinion, incompetence is not the driver for this response as suggested by an earlier post by Snake Lips. Rather it is an attempt to not disclose the truth.

For the past six months, UC officials have been actively lobbying the state for the UC portion (approximately 2/3) of the bid to be tax-exempt. This can be confirmed by contacting the New Mexico State Tax and Revenue Department. UC continues to behave in a way that suggests little regard for our community.

Perhaps to not think about what has been going on at the Lab for the last year, I've taken an interest in local government and will try to relay information as accurately as possible:

(1) The County obviously does not receive GRT from the current Lab contract nor does it receive property taxes from most of the land in the County since it is owned by DOE. Therefore its tax base is GRT from Lab subcontractors, GRT from construction, GRT from limited retail and property taxes from individual and commercial property owners. When the Admiral instituted changes in the contingent work force program, he did so with total disregard to the impact of the local economy. Therefore, if you use the Library or Aquatic Center, you will have noticed reduced operating hours.
(2) The County used to get DOE support payments like the schools do now. Sometime in the last 10 years, the County received a one-time payment and the promise that DOE would transfer thousands and thousands of acres to the County for housing and development. The DOE has only transferred a few hundred acres to date.
(3) The infrastructure in this town is OLD as are the buildings. If UC is successful at its lobbying efforts as well as the rebid, the only way to pay for replacement will be through substantial property tax increases to those of us who own homes here.
(4) I contacted a County Council person regarding the rumor about Lockheed buying property from the County. This appears to be untrue but what he did tell me is that the County and schools are attempting to move its facilities (old Quonset huts) from the area across from Smith's so that a retailer like Target can be brought to town. The problem may be that there is not enough money to move and build new facilities unless the GRT base is increased.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Los Alamos — get behind the home team

IN SPITE of rumors flying around town last week, the decision regarding who will run the Los Alamos National Laboratory probably will not be made before the Dec. 1 deadline. We join almost the entire California congressional delegation in backing the bid of the partnership of the University of California and Bechtel Corp.

The University of California has run the laboratory since 1943. Previously the contract was not open to bids. After a string of management and security problems, the Department of Energy decided to open the contract to bid, raising the possibility UC could lose the lucrative contract.


Full Story

Pursuing prestige: UT may have edge in bid to run Los Alamos

After 62 years, contract to run famed weapons lab is up for grabs; UT-Lockheed Martin team finds out winner soon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — It's written on concrete at the entrance to Los Alamos National Laboratory in the mountains of northern New Mexico: "Operated by University of California for the Department of Energy."

Those words could soon be out of date.


Full Story

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another good comment

Another good comment, by "dhartman" from the


[I'm giving this one "equal time" at the top. --Doug]

"lucky is misguided with respect to spending money on schools. There is little correlation with spending money and pupil achievement. That is the big lie of the NEA. The primary correlation for student achievement is parental interest and participation. As long as education is denigrated and kids drop out (44% drop out rate in the Santa Fe Public High Schools) in Northern New Mexico, there will be no improvement. If the parents don't care, then neither will the students. Paying higher salaries to the same teachers will have no effect on student performance."

[Especially within the confines of the infamous "No Student Left Behind", or, as they are referred to by teachers, the "No Teacher Left Standing" policies of the current administration. Throwing money at the educational system won't help much until a lot of what is dysfunctional there is repaired. Listening to reports of the paperwork morass the teachers in the Los Alamos school system find themselves buried under is more than just a little bit mindful of the present LANL work environment. However, for those bitching about LANL pay raises in recent time, stop for a moment and look at what the teachers have been getting. --Doug]

Experts disagree on lab's impact

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
November 20, 2005

The U.S. Department of Energy will spend more than $4.4 billion in New Mexico this year.

As the sun sets on the old way of managing Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of New Mexico's senior economists and two nuclear-disarmament groups argue about whether that's a good thing for the state.


Full Story

LANL: Lab retirees tout perks of UC contract

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
November 20, 2005

Tom and Ruth Buhl's three children left Santa Fe and earned college degrees in California. Some scientists quit their jobs and started their own companies. And every day at quitting time, thousands of expensive cars and trucks zip downhill from Los Alamos National Laboratory and spread more than $1 billion into the local economy.

The University of California, which now manages the lab, has made a historic impact on Northern New Mexico over the past 60 years, providing a lifeline between a thriving coastal economy and an isolated mountain state.


Full Story

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Comment of the Week

Comment from the


[Well said, Lucky. --Doug]

So, why is paying the GRT a bad thing? Failure to pay it seems to be subsidy to the Federal Government by one of the poorest states. If not for heavy LANL lobbying (illegal by the way) of the state legislature, the GRT would have been collected a long time ago. Sandia pays the GRT and they get along just fine.

The issue should be; how to allocate the money. It would be wonderful if we could use most of it to improve the schools in Northern New Mexico. If this isn't addressed the GRT may just disappear into the general corruption at the Legislature.

LANL Deal May Mean Windfall

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

The pending change in management of Los Alamos National Laboratory will mean money in the bank for the state of New Mexico— as much as $65 million more.

Unlike the lab's current nonprofit manager, the University of California, the new contractor will likely be subject to the state's gross receipts tax, according to Kelly O'Donnell, state Taxation and Revenue Department tax policy director.

The department estimates the new lab manager— to be announced on or around Dec. 1— would generate an additional $65 million in gross receipts taxes for the state's general fund.

Under the state's tax laws, nonprofit organizations are exempt from paying taxes on gross revenues— in the lab's case, federal money to run LANL. The two teams competing for the $2.2 billion contract include both for-profit and nonprofit entities. The University of California is partnering with Bechtel Corp., while the University of Texas is teaming up with Lockheed-Martin.


Full Story

LANL Decision Won't Come Early

By Michelle Locke
The Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif.— A decision on who will run the Los Alamos National Laboratory probably won't be announced before Dec. 1, University of California Vice President Robert Foley said Thursday.

Rumors have been swirling that an announcement is imminent, but Foley told UC's governing Board of Regents he's not expecting that to happen soon.

In Albuquerque, National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Al Stotts agreed there would be no announcement before Dec. 1.

He said the Source Evaluation Board was still preparing a report analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each team bidding on the contract.

The report will then be sent to the acting deputy administrator for defense programs at the NNSA, Thomas D'Agostino, who will pick the winner, Stotts said.


Full Story

Associated Press Writer Heather Clark in Albuquerque contributed to this story.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Decision approaching on Los Alamos

By Michelle Locke
Associated Press

November 18, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. - A decision on who will run the Los Alamos National Laboratory probably won't be announced before Dec. 1, University of California Vice President Robert Foley said Thursday.

Rumors have been swirling that an announcement is imminent, but Foley told UC's governing Board of Regents he's not expecting that to happen soon.

In Albuquerque, National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Al Stotts agreed there would be no announcement before Dec. 1.

He said the Source Evaluation Board was still preparing a report analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each team bidding on the contract.

The report will then be sent to the acting deputy administrator for defense programs at the NNSA, Thomas D'Agostino, who will pick the winner, Stotts said.


Full Story

Info request

Submitted by Anonymous:

Hey Doug,

Anything about the rumor that Lockheed is working with
the county to buy up property along Trinity from the
school buildings to the "ChileWorks" to create a "mall"
called Canyon Lock?

The rumor also purports that Lockheed does not like
the fact that there is nothing to attract business to
Los Alamos.

A resounding silence

Submitted by "Roderick Spode":

There is a resounding silence as members of the two competing bid teams, LANL management and a few staff members collectively hold their breath, waiting to see if there will be an early announcement today. Our old buddy, Bob Foley has confidently stated that there will not be an early announcement, so maybe there will be. His batting record is down around 50, as far as LANL goes. NNSA's Stotts carefully indicated that the announcement date would be "around" December 1, which left him a bit of wiggle room, should they decide to announce early. I took a quick glance at the blog this morning and noticed that the hit rate is way up: apparently lots of people are checking in for news of an announcement. Chill, folks. The announcement is coming, today or 12 days from now. What difference could that 12 days possibly make?

Roderick Spode.

Group protests deletions from lab reports

November 18, 2005

LOS ALAMOS -- A nuclear-watchdog group that filed a Freedom of Information request for Los Alamos National Laboratory's report on its future plans estimates 40 percent of the report it received was blacked out.

Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico said current information on the lab was intact in the copy of the lab's 2004 Ten-Year Comprehensive Site Plan, but details about future planning was blacked out.

The National Nuclear Security Administration did not explain why some material was blacked out. Certain things, including national-defense and national-security matters, are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.


Full Story

Subcontractors wait in limbo for LANL decision

By Wendy Brown | The New Mexican
November 18, 2005

A lot of people confide in Rio Arriba County Commissioner Elias Coriz about the upcoming announcement of the Los Alamos National Laboratory management and operations contract. They talk to him about their hopes, fears and expectations.

And since Coriz has worked for 20 years as a security guard for laboratory subcontractor Protection Technology Los Alamos, he hears from a lot people who also work for subcontractors -- a large group of employees at the laboratory who hold their positions a bit more tenuously than their University of California counterparts.


Full Story

LANL subcontractors

November 18, 2005

As of January 2004, there were 8,047 University of California employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory and 3,424 contract employees, according to an overview published by LANL. There were a total of 13,593 employees, and that number includes students, post doctorates and "other" employees not counted above. Here's an incomplete list of LANL subcontractors:


Full Story

Early lab bid decision unlikely

Despite problems at Los Alamos, UC confident it will retain management

By Jennifer Mishory

The long process to determine who will manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory will conclude in the coming weeks.

The University of California has bid for continued management of the New Mexico lab in consortium with Bechtel National, BWXT and Washington Group International.

Their chief rival for the contract is a group led by Lockheed-Martin and the University of Texas.

Though there have been rumors that a decision would be announced today or in the coming days, UC Vice President Robert Foley said Thursday an imminent decision is unlikely.


Full Story

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The budget is in at LLNL and so far we have:

Submitted by "Anonymous":

Well, the budget is in at LLNL and so far we have:

A dirty job? - 10 worst careers in science

By Sue Vorenberg
Tribune Reporter

November 17, 2005

Which would you rather be - an orangutan-urine collector, semen washer or Los Alamos nuclear weapons scientist?

Popular Science's November issue says those first two are better than being a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Weapons scientist ranked fifth on the magazine's annual list of the 10 worst jobs in science.

It cited as proof a series of FBI investigations at the lab, classified materials accounting problems, and former Director Pete Nanos calling scientists "buttheads" and "cowboys" before shutting the lab down for months starting in December 2004.

The lab's operating contract - held by the University of California - has gone up for bid this year for the first time since Los Alamos was founded in the 1940s.

On the plus side, the job of lab scientist did rank better than the magazine's top pick - human lab rat in medical studies - and second place - manure inspector.

But of all the jobs at the lab, the worst is quite possibly held by the spokespeople stuck answering all the media's questions about scandals and problems, said Penny Boston, a scientist at New Mexico Tech who spends her time slogging through bat poop to look at strange creatures in extreme environments.


Full Story

Los Alamos contract to be decided soon

LOS ALAMOS, NM, United States (UPI) -- The fate of U.S. nuclear exploration is waiting on the Department of Energy to decide who will get a contract to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Los Alamos has been run by the University of California since the lab`s inception in 1943, but a series of embarrassing missteps have forced the contract with UC to be opened up for a bid, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.


Full Story

Panel fears Los Alamos Lab pits’ radioactive waste could seep into water

By Andy Lenderman The New Mexican |
November 17, 2005

A citizen advisory board is demanding more information about unlined radioactive-waste pits at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where officials have agreed to further study the matter.

At issue is whether a low-level waste dump, known as Area G, could potentially contaminate groundwater.

The Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board — a 21-member body sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy — has recommended the lab not expand Area G, stop burying radioactive waste underground and find ways to not produce it in the first place.


Full Story

Los Alamos to expand nuclear waste dump


Los Alamos to expand nuclear waste dump

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The Los Alamos National Laboratory plans to go against an advisory group recommendation as it expands its nuclear waste dump.


Full Story

Deletions in LANL Report Protested

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

A Santa Fe-based nuclear watchdog group says the U.S. Department of Energy violated the Freedom of Information Act by blacking out large portions of a document outlining Los Alamos National Laboratory's vision for the future.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico's Jay Coghlan says he filed a request for LANL's annual "Ten-Year Comprehensive Site Plan" 10 months ago. But when the group received the unclassified document last month, an estimated 40 percent of its contents had been redacted, Coghlan said.

LANL and other National Nuclear Administration sites compile comprehensive site plans annually. They include information on existing lab programs and missions, as well as plans and goals for future facilities, weapons work, land-use and operations. Nuclear Watch received the fiscal year 2004 document last month, and it has requests pending for 2003, 2005 and 2006.


Full Story

LANL Wants Nuke Dump Ready by Next Fall

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

Los Alamos National Laboratory is moving forward with plans to expand its nuclear waste dump, a LANL representative told members of a citizens advisory group that recently recommended against the project.

"Designs are done" for a medium-to-large-size pit that would accept low-level radioactive waste, Sean French said Wednesday during a Northern New Mexico Citizens' Advisory Board committee meeting.

The lab plans to begin construction in LANL's Technical Area-54 in mid-2006 and hopes to have the pit operational sometime next fall, according to French, a group leader for operations support at TA-54.


Full Story

DOE funding bill reflects emergency water priorities

ROGER SNODGRASS,, Monitor Assistant Editor

The Senate approved the Energy and Water conference report on Tuesday, authorizing funds for the Department of Energy and national laboratories, on an 84-4 vote.

There were no changes from the report issued by the conference committee where the House and Senate versions were resolved on Nov. 7.

Sen Pete Domenici, R-NM, said in a statement that DOE expenditures in New Mexico could grow to $4.4 billion in fiscal 2006, for Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project. DOE State Tables indicate that $4.1 billion was expended last fiscal year in New Mexico, most in the nation, compared to $3.8 billion in Washington State, the second-highest recipient of DOE funds

"The Energy Department's significant presence in New Mexico makes this bill important. First and foremost, we are giving the president a bill that will allow our labs to carry on without personnel disruptions. At the same time, we have implemented changes that will affect both labs, including moving forward with the pit manufacturing program at Los Alamos," Domenici said.

Of special significance for Los Alamos, the measure contains $142 million, a significant increase for environmental cleanup and eliminates funding for a Modern Pit Facility, while calling for improvement of existing capability at Los Alamos for making the pits, the plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons.

Domenici, chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriation Subcommittee negotiated the bill's final wording with House conferees. He summarized key features in his remarks on the Senate floor preceding the vote, calling special attention to the plight of the nation's water infrastructure.


Full Story

Delegation supports UC-Bechtel lab bid

Los Alamos officials concede to management lapses in the past at facility
By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER

Almost all of Californias congressional delegation has thrown its support behind a University of California-Bechtel team to run Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as 51 of Californias 53 representatives in the House, conceded in a letter Wednesday to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman that there have been some management lapses at LANL in the past.

But they say the new UC-Bechtel team, known as Los Alamos National Security LLC, now has things well in hand.


Full Story


UC has run the nation's top weapons lab for six decades. Will it all end this week?

Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Los Alamos National Lab employees are anxiously awaiting the climax of a four-year saga: a decision that will determine who runs the world's most glamorous and controversial nuclear weapons lab and that also could end the University of California's unchallenged six-decade domination of the U.S. weapons program.

An announcement could come soon, perhaps even Friday.

The decision will wrap up a six-month competition to run scandal-shaken Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was tested in 1945. UC and its industrial partners, including San Francisco-based Bechtel National Inc., are competing for the contract against aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. and its allies -- the huge University of Texas system, several New Mexico universities and various industrial partners.


Full Story

Potential LANL chief wants to nurture new scientists

By Andy Lenderman The New Mexican |
November 17, 2005

Science and research will be the core mission at Los Alamos National Laboratory if the University of California and Bechtel National team wins the competition for a management contract, a team leader said in a recent interview.

Officials at the university, which has been sole manager of the federal weapons laboratory since its inception in 1943, recognized they needed help from private companies when preparing to bid for the contract, a university regent said.

“We think this is the right approach,” said Michael Anastasio , the proposed new director of Los Alamos if the UC-Bechtel team wins. “We think it’s an approach that is compatible with great science, enables great science.”


Full Story

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All About the Pits

All About the Pits

Groups say the real story about PU-238 is just coming out

In a pair of landslide votes, both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives--including all four of Idaho's delegates--recently approved the 2006 Water and Energy Development Appropriations Bill. The $30.5 billion package provides funds for projects nationwide, including $40 million for an experimental nuclear reactor to produce electricity and hydrogen at the Idaho National Laboratory. But watchdog groups in Idaho and New Mexico say the bill--which received broad support from Republicans and Democrats alike--quietly betrays a different priority: supporting nuclear weapons production.


Full Story

A poll of former and current Los Alamos employees

To the users of this blog:

I'm a science reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. For the second time, I'm conducting a poll of former and current Los Alamos employees regarding NNSA's pending choice of the winner of the next LANL contract .

I seek replies to 3 questions:

1. Come Dec. 1, which of the 2 competitors for the LANL contract do you expect to win?
2. Which competitor would you personally LIKE to win? Please explain.
3. As Dec. 1 nears, what's the mood like inside LANL?

This time, regrettably, I can only quote respondents who are willing to fully identify themselves. (Recent court rulings have seriously undercut reporters' ability to quote anonymous sources.)
Hence, if you are willing to be identified, please provide the following information:

1. Your full name.
2. Your present or past position at the lab.
3. The year you came to work at LANL (and the year you left, if you have already left).
4. A current telephone number AND street address, just in case an editor asks me to verify your identity.

I sincerely apologize for the "ID" hassle -- but thanks to the courts, it's unavoidable this time!
Please do reply by 1 pm Los Alamos time WEDNESDAY (today).

(Mr.) Keay Davidson
Science Writer
San Francisco Chronicle

Blogged Down

Submitted by Anonymous:

Blogged Down
By Elisabeth Eaves

When French political activist Christophe Grébert started a blog about his local government’s waste and mismanagement, he knew it would attract attention. The city had been run by the same mayor, Charles Ceccaldi-Raynaud, for more than 30 years—and he was actively grooming Joëlle, his daughter and deputy, to fill his shoes. What Grébert didn’t know was that blogging about an entrenched political family would land him in court. But next February, Grébert will defend himself in a trial brought by the city of Puteaux, a prosperous Paris suburb.


Full Story

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Heard in the hallways at LANL

Submitted by Anonymous:

Heard in the hallways at LANL:

The decision on the contract is "being vetted" in the halls of
Congress, as we speak. The only reason for "vetting" the decision is
to prepare Congressman Hobson from Ohio that, after all of this, the
winner is Bechtel/UC. Why else?

-Anonymous Fly-on-the-Wall

ADSR Emailgram

ADSR Emailgram
November 15, 2005

The "hot rumor" is that the NNSA will announce the new O&M contractor
on Friday, November 18. As with most things concerning the
competition, the rumor is exactly that - an interpretation of actions
or schedules at headquarters, and not something that has actually been
announced or stated by the source selection official. However, it is a
possibility, and it is worth reviewing what the announcement would
likely entail:

(1) It is very unlikely that there will be much notice on the

(2) The announcement could be a press release from HQ or a formal
presentation here at Los Alamos.

(3) Once the announcement is made, there is a period of 10 days when
appeals can be filed. This period of appeal means that despite a
contractor being announced, there is likely to be silence from the
winner. This will be frustrating because everyone will want to know
the details of what the contractor has proposed, but do not expect the
contractor to make any major announcements. Once the appeal period has
expired, there will be more news about the plans of the contractor, but
the new contractor will be an intense epoch of information gathering
about Los Alamos, and therefore there will be limited announcements
about specific plans of the contractor.

In aggregate, there could be a 6 week period between announcement of
the new contractor and that contractor announcing detailed plans. At
the bottom of this email is another edition of Q&As - these are ADSR
answers based on our own research, and are not in any way official lab
or UC positions. Further, the answers could be incomplete as more
information emerges.

Also, as reported last week, the House and Senate agreed on the FY 06
Energy and Water Act. The House passed the bill by a vote of 399-17,
and on Monday evening (Nov 14), the Senate passed the bill 84-4. The
President has indicated that he will sign the bill into law and not
require a further continuing resolution.

Last week the Laboratory announced a web page dedicated to transition
( The lab site is the only official
source of information for the transition and should be considered
authoritative. However, in the past couple of weeks, I have been
meeting with focus groups throughout ADSR to talk about transition and
explore issues that are particular to the directorate. Judith Kaye has
researched many of these issues and we have found that many of the
questions are similar across the directorate, and further, many of
these questions have answers based on previous transitions. The Q&A
provided here is a best-faith effort, but should not be considered
official UC or LANL statements.

What will happen to Interagency Personnel Agreements (IPAs)?
The agreements currently in place between the University of California
and other agencies will be transferred to the new contractor.

What will happen to university contracts?
They will also be transferred to the new contractor.

What will happen to fundamental science?
Although we don't know what the contractors actually proposed, the
Request for Proposals (RFP) spelled out the expectation that LANL must
maintain an exceptional Science and Technology program. For a proposal
to be successful in the competition, it must demonstrate that it will
maintain and foster a world-class scientific research capability to
solve complex problems of national security. It is clear that the
solution of problems in stockpile stewardship, non-proliferation, and
emerging threats (including energy security), all require the
capabilities that are in evidence at LANL today.

I've heard that the contract will be extended through October 1, 2006
so that the financial books don't have to be closed twice - once with
the contract change and once at the end of the fiscal year. Is this
We have no reason to believe that there will be any delay in the
effective date of the new contract. In fact, we understand that when
contracts change, DOE likes to close the books prior to the end of the
fiscal year so that they start a new fiscal year with a clean slate.

What will happen to our large student and post-doc programs?
Pertinent to this question, the RFP had the following language in their
statement of work:

"The Contractor shall conduct a science and mathematics education
program at the K-12 (precollege) and university levels to increase the
nation's competitiveness in the global market, to contribute to
developing a diverse, well-educated, and scientifically literate
workforce, and to help maintain the nation's world technical
leadership. This support may include, with the Contracting Officer's
approval, technical assistance; loans of scientific equipment; programs
of "hands on" research experience for students, teachers and faculty
members; a program of encouraging volunteerism and community service;
and cooperative programs."

Contact Me: I encourage you to email me with your questions, comments,
or concerns. My email address is or you can send
email to my home address with confidence of confidentiality: If you would prefer to communicate anonymously, you
may use the concerns web page at:

Terry C. Wallace, Jr
Associate Director for Strategic Research
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Fix-It team notes progress, successes

From the 11/15/2005 LANL NewsBulliten

Editor’s Note: For more information on the Fix-It team, see the July 21 Daily NewsBulletin.

Since Laboratory Director Bob Kuckuck’s Fix-it team was created last summer, it has successfully resolved several “bite-sized” issues raised by employees as presenting obstacles to doing work more efficiently.

The Fix-It team investigates and brainstorms solutions to issues raised by staff and various Laboratory organizations, such as the Group Leader Action Council, the Division Leaders Council, Dot Com and others. The director asked the team to concentrate its efforts on smaller, more immediate issues that, if solved, would remove obstacles to doing science. The group now meets regularly to identify potential problems for solution and to appoint champions to ensure resolution of these problems.

The following is a brief summary of some issues that have been resolved and closed. Many others are currently being addressed.

• Returning retirees. A policy that delegates authority from the Director’s Office and eases the ability to bring back retirees was issued with Director’s Instruction Number 04-006.2 on Aug. 23.
• Publicizing purchase card improvements. See the Aug. 17 Daily NewsBulletin story on enhancements to the purchase card program designed to reduce the small-purchase workload on procurement personnel so they could focus on institutional, strategic purchases through the end of the fiscal year.
• Undergraduate student classification and salary determination. Two Physics (P) Division cases of misclassification were recently resolved, and the Science and Technology Base (STB) Program Office is currently developing a proposal to remove job classifications from the process.
• Sub-accountable hazardous chemical transportation. A disagreement regarding interpretation of training requirements for transportation of small quantities of certain hazardous materials has been resolved. All parties agree that such quantities can be properly transported with limited training. See the July 21 Daily NewsBulletin article for more information.
• Duplicate paperwork for foreign national visits. A concern that a new 982 must be completed for each visit that a foreign national makes within one year was clarified. These 982 forms can be approved for time spans that accommodate repeat visits by a foreign national within one year.
• Security and Safeguards (S) Division approvals of cell phones. Information Security (S-11) agreed that the requirement for their signature on Computing, Communications and Networking (CCN) Division’s cell phone request form did not add value. The form was revised and the S-11 signature block was removed.
• Vetting policies. An issue arose regarding the Lab’s failure to vet policies for their impact and practicality for implementation. There is a process in place that provides for the vetting of policies by the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Science Officer and Laboratory Counsel (LC) for this purpose. Notices have the same requirement, however they can be issued at a lower level and although the same provision is in place, it is not always followed.
• Healthy snack items in vending machines. [The Laboratory] has obtained permission from the NNSA Los Alamos Site Office, which holds the vending machine contract for the Lab, to work directly with the vendor to make changes on items offered in the machines. A notice will be sent to the groups asking for suggestions as to locations that can be piloted for customer use.

The latest list of the fastest 500 supercomputers

The latest list of the fastest 500 supercomputers has just been
( It does not seem to bode
well for the state of supercomputing at LANL. Is there some "new iron"
in the pipeline for LANL or is ASCI Q it?

_________________________ LLNL___SNL___ORNL___LANL
Top System Rank____________1_____5_____10______18
Systems in top 20___________4_____2______2_______1
Systems in top 100__________9_____2______2_______2

Jim Amann - LANL Retired

Monday, November 14, 2005

Los Alamos decision forthcoming

UT-Lockheed alliance would manage labs, expand research fields

By Yashoda Sampath

An email that President Dynes sent to all UC employees today

Doug, I'm sure others will send you this, but here's an email that President
Dynes sent to all UC employees today.


Dear Colleague:
In the coming days, the University of California is likely to see renewed
focus on its compensation policies. The attention is being driven on two

As I noted in my message to you last week, the Board of Regents will meet
this week to consider RE-61, which proposes that UC achieve
market-competitive salaries for all University employees in the coming
years. It also seeks to enhance the Regents' oversight of compensation
issues in some important ways.

The San Francisco Chronicle over the last two days has published stories
about how employees, especially more highly paid employees, are compensated
at UC. While the Chronicle omitted or mis-characterized some important
facts, the stories also point out the need for us to consider whether we
need to improve some of our public disclosure policies and internal

As employees read about and discuss the issues raised by these two events,
it is important that everyone understand the broader context of the higher
education market within which we operate. To this end, we have constructed a
Website that provides a more complete explanation of these issues, as well
as our responses to the Chronicle stories.

The address for the Website is

I hope our information on the Website is useful and, as always, thank you
for your ongoing dedication to the University.


Robert C. Dynes

Watchdogs: Labs 'Rewarded' For Errors, Delays

By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer

Members of Congress last week called for an independent investigation into a Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear weapons project that is 18 years behind schedule and more than $250 million over budget.

But funding for the project and others with similar troubles will continue, drawing criticism from watchdogs who say there has been no accountability for the nuclear weapons program's problems.

"They're rewarded for their failures," said Greg Mello of the Albuquerque-based Los Alamos Study Group.

In its final version of the fiscal 2006 budget, members of Congress approved $27 million for continued work on the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility. But they asked a panel of independent experts to investigate whether the long-delayed nuclear weapons X-ray machine will ever work.

Plagued in the past by cost overruns and schedule delays on a number of nuclear weapons projects, federal managers at the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration have said they believe they now have DARHT and other similar problem projects under control.

Members of Congress apparently took them at their word, providing continued funding for the projects in fiscal 2006. But they also called for a number of studies aimed at keeping a close leash on the work.


Full Story

Sunday, November 13, 2005

LANL Community Braces for Change

By John Arnold
Journal Northern Bureau

SANTA FE— The dawn of a new era is near for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

And those vying to manage it are trying to win more than an opportunity to run the beleaguered lab.

The two teams competing for the $2.2 billion-a-year management contract are in a battle to win the confidence of LANL employees and a skeptical public frustrated over years of security and safety lapses.

With the lab contract up for bid for the first time in LANL's 60-year-plus history, change is inevitable, said Paul Robinson, a former Sandia National Laboratory director and the man who would become LANL director should the team headed by defense contractor Lockheed Martin and the University of Texas win the contract. The team is known as Los Alamos Alliance.

"I hope," he said during a recent interview, "to show people that the changes are for the better."

So does Los Alamos National Security LLC, the team headed by Bechtel Corp. and the University of California. UC is the current manager and the only one the lab has ever known.


Full Story

Saturday, November 12, 2005

UC piling extra cash on top of pay

8,500 top staffers pulling down at least $20,000 each in bonuses, compensation

Tanya Schevitz and Todd Wallack, Chronicle Staff Writers
Sunday, November 13, 2005


"-- Housing/car allowances -- When Lynn Boland became acting human resources director at Los Alamos National Laboratory last year, UC gave her $83,383 to cover her rent, car lease and other living expenses. That was on top of her $161,000 in salary and other cash compensation. A UC spokesman said Boland was reimbursed for "taxable out-of-pocket expenses." Like other major university systems, UC generally gives senior employees auto allowances, currently totaling $8,916 per year."


Full Story

LANL: Unease marks lab ahead of contract announcement

By Heather Clark | The Associated Press
November 12, 2005

LOS ALAMOS -- Many people in this isolated mesa-top community are anxious or fearful about who will win a contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Others have had enough of the speculation.

"It's at the top of every grocery-line conversation, every coffee-shop conversation right now," said Los Alamos County spokeswoman Julie Habiger, whose husband works at the nuclear-weapons lab.


Full Story

Friday, November 11, 2005

LANL weapons program draws split positions

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
November 11, 2005

Congressional committees have more than doubled funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, money that will go to Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories.

But proponents and a nuclear-watchdog group are already arguing about what the program means.

Supporters say the program is just a concept for now, but one that could create more reliable parts for an aging nuclear-weapons stockpile. Critics say it's the backdoor to a totally new weapons program.

U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., a leading supporter, said in a written statement Thursday that the "program is designed to build on the successes that we've had using a science-based approach to improving the design of existing weapons. This is not intended to be a new weapons program, but rather a method to improve the way that we manufacture existing weapons."


Full Story

Whistle-Blower Retires From Lab

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

A Los Alamos National Laboratory whistle-blower who was severely beaten outside a Santa Fe strip club in June says injuries he suffered during the attack have forced him to retire from his job.

According to documents filed in federal court, Tommy Hook, who suffered a herniated disk, concussion, broken jaw and other injuries after the June 5 beating, learned in July that he would use all of his sick and annual leave by Aug. 10.

"Because it was clear that I would not be able to return to work by that date, I sought and was eventually granted disability retirement status to become effective on August 12, 2005," Hook states in an affidavit.

Hook, an auditor who joined the LANL staff in 1989, filed a whistle-blower complaint with lab manager University of California in 2004 after he reported financial irregularities at the lab. He also sued LANL this year, accusing officials there of retaliating against him.


Full Story

LANL contender courts Española

By Heather Clark | The Associated Press
November 11, 2005

ESPAÑOLA -- A team vying to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory has opened an office here, just three weeks before the expected announcement of the contract winner.

Los Alamos Alliance, led by Lockheed Martin and the University of Texas, greeted Española residents Thursday at the recently remodeled, 3,000-square-foot office.

The team is competing with another group, Los Alamos National Security LLC, headed by Bechtel Corp. and the University of California, which has managed the nuclear-weapons lab since it became the birthplace of the atomic bomb during World War II. The winner is expected to be announced by Dec. 1.


Full Story

Thursday, November 10, 2005

We are close enough to the deadline

I was invited to show up at the Los Alamos Alliance's opening of the Espanola storefront today. While there, it struck me again how the LAA approach to the LANL bid process differs radically from the LANS LLC's participation in the bidding process. The LAA wants to engage the local communities. They are actively soliciting input from representatives of those communities from which LANL draws its employees.

The LANS LLC representative sits behind a locked door in an office that is hidden from the public.

I guess we are close enough to the deadline for the announcement of the the bid winner that I can now come out and openly declare which LLC I favor to win the contract: the Los Alamos Aliance. I think they will do a better job of running LANL than the LANS LLC would.

This opinion was reinforced today after I had a chat with Paul Robinson at the Espanola office. He strikes me as honest, open, and well intentioned. After what LANL has endured this past year, I would have been happy to settle for just two of those traits, but Paul stikes me as someone whom LANL staff could learn to trust.

Did I mention honest? I told him that I had been impressed a few months ago when he told Roger Snodgrass of the Los Alamos Monitor that, had he been director, he would not have shut LANL down last year as our predecessor chose to do. Recall, a few months ago all of UC, NNSA, DOE were still refusing to admit that the shutdown had been a huge mistake, but Robinson said what he really believed. I respect that.



To/MS: All Employees
From/MS: Robert W. Kuckuck, A100
Phone/Fax: 7-5101/7-2997
Symbol: DIR-05-395
Date: November 10, 2005


During my all-hands talk in October, I mentioned the importance of
providing Laboratory employees with timely, accurate information
and continuous communication during the upcoming contract
transition process. Updating employees and their families
regarding the elements of the transition on a regular basis and
offering a reliable official resource for such information will
alleviate much of the uncertainly many of you may be experiencing
in this time of change. With these objectives in mind, I am
excited to let you know about today’s launch of the Lab’s new
transition web site — a communications portal designed to act as a
fluid conduit for up-to-date information on the new contract

Accessible via the Laboratory’s internal home page, external web
site and the Daily NewsBulletin, the site was designed to be
employees’ primary tool to obtain information on the transition
process. It is both convenient and easily reached, offering a
forum for the dissemination of continuous information and the
opportunity for employees to maintain dialogue with contract
management by submitting questions online. Some of the sections
offered on the transition site include:

* Transition resources – project team and implementation
schedule information
* Links to news articles pertaining to the contract
* Lab announcements regarding new contract information
* UC and LANL employee resources
* A question and answer feature

All the above tools will serve to enhance individuals’ knowledge
of the transition process and general state of the Laboratory.
And, I know you will find the question and answer section
especially useful as it allows employees to submit a question to
the transition team through the site as well as view responses to
similar questions submitted by their colleagues.

As we go through this process, keep in mind the statement made by
President Dynes in his September 26. 2005, letter to Lab Employees
— “Whether the Department of Energy chooses the LANS, LLC team, or
another competitor, the University [of California] will work with
you, the future contractor, and the Department of Energy to ensure
as seamless a transition as possible with minimal impact to you,
your families, and the work at the Laboratory.”

I sincerely encourage employees to visit the transition site at to become familiar with its
features. I also encourage you to utilize the public site at In my opinion, open communication
and information sharing, facilitated in part by the regular use of
this site as a resource, will contribute to the foundation of the
transition’s success.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

We have had a number of job seekers come to to register for a free account, and start searching for new careers that will utilize their security clearances. We do have a large amount of employers looking for a wide range of cleared talent in NM and beyond for those interested in relocating.

We are having a security-clearance job fair TODAY from 11:00am until 4:00pm at the following location:

Albuquerque Marriott
2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110

More information:

Please let me know if we can assist any LANL workers in their job hunts. We are always willing to help where we can.

Best regards,

Evan Lesser


a Dice Company


678.356.5045 o
678.455.9013 o
678.296.9360 c

Lab Expected to Get New Plutonium Unit

By John Arnold and John Fleck
Journal Staff Writers

A project to replace one of Los Alamos National Laboratory's largest and oldest buildings— an aging nuclear research facility with a history of safety problems— would receive its largest chunk of funding to date under a new Department of Energy spending plan.

A $30.5 billion Energy and Water Appropriations bill hammered out by House and Senate negotiators Monday includes $55 million for construction of a new Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility.

The existing 550,000-square-foot building, located in the lab's Technical Area-3, dates back to the early 1950s and is used to test and analyze plutonium and other nuclear materials. But safety problems, including a 1996 explosion, have plagued the facility over the last decade, and lab officials say it's been expensive to upgrade and maintain.

Lab spokesman Kevin Roark said the new building will be more efficient, more secure and much smaller— about half the size of the current building.

"Really, the driver (for the new facility) was we don't need as much space. We need a facility that's cheaper to maintain, and we need a facility that's located inside an existing security perimeter," Roark said.

The new facility, to be located with other plutonium facilities in Technical Area-55, will cost an estimated $838 million, according to Sen. Pete Domenici's office. In addition to this year's pending appropriation, Domenici, R-N.M., helped secure $40 million for the project last year and $10 million the previous year.


Full Story

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


November 7th, 2005 - -
The Conference Report provides a total of $30.5 billion in budget authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Civil, the Department of Interior including the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy, and several Independent Agencies. This bill is $1 billion below the Senate passed level and 2% or $749 million above last year’s level.
The conference report supports a vigorous Civil Works program while focusing limited resources on completing high priority projects. The recommendation of $5.4 billion, roughly equal to last year’s level when adjusted for emergency supplementals. The bill includes a number of significant changes to improve project execution and financial management, including more responsible use of reprogrammings, continuing contracts, and implementation of long-term financial planning.
The conference report provides funding necessary to maintain, operate, and rehabilitate Bureau projects throughout the western United States and protect the considerable Federal investment in western water infrastructure. Funding for the Bureau of Reclamation is $1.1 billion, $40 million above last year’s level and $24 million below the Senate passed level.
The recommendation of $24.3 billion for the Department of Energy is $129 million below FY05 and $787 million below the Senate passed level.

A note from John Fleck's Alubquerque Journal Blog

A story I wrote last month caused a bit of a flurry in Los Alamos, suggesting the lab could end up as the nation's plutonium pit manufacturing center, the new Rocky Flats. The final Fiscal Year 2006 appropriations bill funding the Department of Energy adds fuel to this fire, cutting all money for the "Modern Pit Facility," which would have been a new Rocky Flats-like factory, to be built at a site yet to be determined.

Link To Article

DOE funding hammered out

ROGER SNODGRASS,, Monitor Assistant Editor

House and Senate conferees split the $1.5 billion difference between their respective energy and water appropriations bills, they reported Monday. The House went up $748 million to reach agreement on the $30.5 billion measure; the Senate came down $750 million.

"There were significant differences between the House and Senate on this bill, but I believe we have come up with a package that will maintain key lab missions without personnel or facility disruptions," said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-NM, chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee.

"I want to be clear that our increased investments in science, nonproliferation, nuclear energy and the like will keep our labs strong. And when you consider the Homeland Security funding going to our labs, we are in good shape," he said.

The House-passed cuts and Senate-approved increases revealed fundamental differences in the two bodies' approaches to funding the Department of Energy, which was cut by $179 million overall to reach the $24.3 billion recommended.


Full Story

Los Alamos Alliance to open Española Office

Contact: Don Carson
Los Alamos Alliance Communications

(561) 748-6270
Cell (561) 707-3670
(505) 843-4114

Media Advisory
November 8, 2005

Los Alamos Alliance to open Española Office

Española, NM - The Los Alamos Alliance, the Lockheed Martin/University of Texas System partnership seeking to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the US Department of Energy, will officially open an office in Española at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 10, 2005.

The office is located at 810 North Riverside Drive, Suite E. Initially its hours of operation will be Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays. It is designed as a location where individuals can learn more about the Los Alamos Alliance and as a location where representatives of the Alliance can listen to and learn from area residents. Many work for or with LANL.

A similar Alliance office is located at 1789 Central Ave, Suite 3, in Los Alamos. This office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.

Dr. C. Paul Robinson will become LANL’s director if the DOE names the Los Alamos Alliance team to manage the Laboratory. He explained, “There are several reasons we have opened these community offices in Española and Los Alamos. We plan to be a fixture in northern New Mexico for a very long time.

“Therefore, we have opened these offices to communicate, listen and learn. They are providing an opportunity for members of the Alliance to better know the employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory and members of the communities of Northern New Mexico. They also are places for LANL employees, their families and local residents to get to know us and to share their ideas, suggestions and issues with members of the Alliance,” Robinson said.

Dr. Robinson will be at the 810 North Riverside Drive site in Española for a short time starting about 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10 and will be happy to meet with you. Also present will be with some individuals who will be staffing the new Los Alamos Alliance offices in Los Alamos and Española. If you have questions, please contact Don Carson at (561) 748-6270 or (561) 707-3670.

Key members of the Los Alamos Alliance are Lockheed Martin Corporation ( ), the University of Texas System ( ), CH2M HILL ( ), and Fluor ( ).

Decision looms on lab contract

[Yet another version of the story. This one has a couple of comments at the end. --Doug]

Full Story

Decision looms on LANL contract

[Free version of the AP story. --Doug]

Source: AP

WASHINGTON -- The government office overseeing the nation's nuclear weapons complex is nearing its December First deadline to decide which of two teams will get the contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Full Story

Monday, November 07, 2005

Decision Looms on Los Alamos Nuclear Lab Contract

By Jennifer Talhelm/
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The government office overseeing the nation's nuclear weapons complex is nearing its Dec. 1 deadline to decide which of two teams will get the $79 million-a-year contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The contenders include a group headed by the University of California — which has managed the lab since it was created during World War II — and Bechtel Corp., and another team comprised of Lockheed Martin and the University of Texas.

As they await the decision, both teams are rushing to make sure everything's ready in case they win.

"Things are very hectic here,'' said Don Carson, a spokesman for the UT/Lockheed group. "Everybody's trying to make sure we've dotted all the 'I's' and crossed all the 'T's' to make sure we've done all the things we need to do.''

Both teams submitted their bids in July, then gave oral presentations in August. So far, neither has been called back to answer more questions.


Full Story

Thought someone might benefit from this website as well

Submitted by Anonymous:

I saw the post for and thought someone might benefit from this website as well.

NNSA Project Focus of Meeting

NNSA Project Focus of Meeting

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

LOS ALAMOS— Three Los Alamos County councilors will meet with National Nuclear Security Administration head Linton Brooks to discuss a controversial federal security project that business leaders here fear will hurt the town's economy.

Councilors Frances Berting, Nona Bowman and Jim West will travel to Washington, D.C. for the meeting , said County Administrator Max Baker. He mentioned the trip Thursday during a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored panel discussion on the NNSA project.

Members of the business community worry that businesses will suffer and could fail if two traffic checkpoints— meant to boost security at Los Alamos National Laboratory— are constructed as planned. The checkpoints would intimidate and discourage tourists and out-of-town patrons from visiting their businesses, they say.


Full Story

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Workers with a high-level security clearance are in extreme demand these days

Comment of the week, submitted by "good2go"

Never Forget:

Workers with a high-level security clearance are in extreme
demand these days, esp. if they have a background in science
and computers. If you are un-happy with LANL, remember that
there are plenty of employers who would dearly love to hire
a smart scientist with a clearance background. Los Alamos
is not the center of the Universe, and if you don't feel
this environment is healthy or fun any longer, you have the
freedom to move to a better environment. Just be sure to
keep your clearance while you are making the job transition,
as it will greatly expedite the process.

For starters, try going over to "" and type in
the words "security clearance". Note how many special
job fairs are being held exclusively for security cleared
individuals. In fact, one was just held in ABQ on Nov 4th.

Around DC, these special job fairs are being held all over
the place, and workers with a TS/SSBI can generally expect
to grap a job that pays around a 30% to 40% premimum for
having that clearance. It's too bad that LANL is now
yanking Q clearances immediately upon leaving the lab.

Q & A on UT's proposal to jointly run Los Alamos lab

UT-Lockheed Martin would share up to $79 million a year for seven years

By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Mark Yudof and C. Paul Robinson are of one mind when it comes to the future of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

They believe the nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico should be operated by an academic-industrial partnership, and their joint proposal to the federal government calls for just that.


Full Story

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Postmortem request

Submitted by Roderick Spode:

After the new contractor is announced, and, as expected, if it was not the LANS LLC that was selected, I would like to see the following question addressed: "Were the top managers of the University of California, LANL, and NNSA as obdurately arrogant and stupid as one would have concluded by reading about the events of this past year as presented on this blog?"

The particular players of interest that I would like to see analyzed are Robert Dynes, Bob Foley, George P. Nanos, and Linton Brooks. On this blog, Dynes has been characterized as weak, disconnected, and unable to make important decisions when it was necessary to do so. Foley: the image painted of him in this forum is that of an egotistical, arrogant, and completely unpleasant asshole. Nanos: words that describe him in the negative don't seem to be able to do justice to the task. Brooks: dupe? Good ol' boy? Fool for believing Nanos? Player in a Machiavellian scheme to unseat the University of California? What's the real story on Brooks?

In the aggregate, is this really the quality of the leadership that UC and NNSA have been providing for LANL?

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.

Friday, November 04, 2005

UT placing advertisements for LANL job positions

A week or so ago someone brought up the issue of UT placing advertisements for LANL job positions. The LAA alliance has a new FAQ sheet that addresses this issue.


Court denies reporters' appeal in Wen Ho Lee case


NM - A divided federal appeals court has rejected four journalists' appeal of a judge's order that they testify about confidential sources for nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee's lawsuit against the government.I t's the second time the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused the appeal.

The reporters have been held in contempt of court for refusing to identify their sources for stories about Lee, a former scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Full Story

Materials for nukes moved from Los Alamos Lab

By James W. Brosnan
Scripps Howard News Service

November 3, 2005

3:45 pm WASHINGTON - The government said today that all weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium are now out of an area of Los Alamos National Laboratory that was vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

The National Nuclear Security Administration announced that the last of the special nuclear material that could be used for nuclear bombs has been removed from the lab's Technical Area 18, five years after the move was ordered by former energy secretary and now New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson,

"I'm glad it finally happened, as I directed," Richardson said when told of the announcement.


Full Story

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Foreign Interest in this blog

Lots of people outside of New Mexico read this blog, but this is the first time I've seen these particular visitors:

Referring Link project bush&lr=
Host Name
IP Address
Country Russian Federation
Region Moskva
City Moscow
ISP Zao Mtu-intel
Returning Visits 0
Visit Length 0 seconds
Browser MSIE 6.0
Operating System Windows XP
Resolution 1280x1024
Javascript Enabled

Navigation Path

Date Time WebPage
3rd November project bush&lr=

Going back through the logs, however, I see that they and one or two of their friends have been here before: - - [02/Jun/2005:12:12:17 -0600] - - [02/Jun/2005:12:12:17 -0600] - - [28/Jul/2005:11:26:23 -0600]


Has anyone checked the powder keg lately?

Submitted by: "AnonAnon, for now ".

Let's see if I get this straight:

"The overall Los Alamos National Laboratory budget is going up." -- St. Pete

"Domenici has said there won't be layoffs at Los Alamos or Sandia as a result of a temporary funding measure, called a continuing resolution."

"I do not see hard times for Los Alamos and Sandia in the near future," said Rep. Tom Udall.

Has anyone checked the powder keg lately?

By repeated request

Resubmitted by popular demand: The Worst Jobs in Science

(Hint: #5)


We placed ahead of semen washers and Orangutan pee collectors, but behind manure inspectors and human lab rat.
Have a happy day!

Scott Valentine
Nuclear Materials Technology


My friend says, "I can hear the chant around the Lab even now: "We're Number Five! We're Number Five!"

(If Bechtel/UC wins, can we also chant: "Seven more years! Seven more years!"?)

LANL weapons-grade nuclear material moved out of state

LANL weapons-grade nuclear material moved out of state

Last Update: 11/03/2005 10:13:23 AM
By: Associated Press

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - The most sensitive weapons-grade nuclear material has been moved out of a Los Alamos National Laboratory technical area to more secure sites.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said Thursday the removal of the material from Technical Area 18 completes a process that began last year.

The material includes weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium.

NNSA administrator Linton Brooks says the material has been sent to the Nevada Test Site, the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the lab’s Technical Area 55.


Full Story

Occurrence Report for the DX-1 incident

Submitted by Anonymous:

I am attaching a copy of the Occurrence Report for the DX-1 incident.
It might be of some use as it shows up many of the LANL problems in a
very clear light.

Glad to see the blog going on. It is a bit cleaner without all the
anonymous postings.

Please post this anonymously. That avoids all the personal sniping.


Domenici: N.M. lab budgets going up

By Andy Lenderman The New Mexican |
November 3, 2005

Enormous pressure on the federal budget and a leading critic of how the national labs are managed have collided in Washington with U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N .M.

Domenici has been long regarded as the unbeatable protector of lab funding — and jobs — in New Mexico.

He faces an Ohio congressman who argues that the glory days of nuclear-weapons spending are over.

U.S. Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio , has questioned how much to spend on the country’s nuclear-weapons complex. Now, urgent needs like the war in Iraq and hurricane devastation are competing with money for the labs.


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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Things I don't do since leaving LANL

Submitted by Anonymous:

Things I don't do since leaving LANL

As a former Technical Staff member with a Ph. D and Q clearance here is some stuff I don't do since leaving LANL:
** No invasive, demeaning 5-year updates for a security clearance.
** No car searches or showing badges at gates.
** No listening to fascist security folks talk about reporting a fellow worker if he drives a car I think he can't afford.
** No more realizing I just drove into a cleared area with my cell phone in the car.
** No more lectures from abusive, dysfunctional managers.
** No SOPs, OOPs, IMPs, LIMPS, work packages, LIGs, LIRs, IWDs whose main purpose seems to be covering somebody else's behind.
** No listening to petty-fogging, incompetent managers tell me that red tape and bureaucratic BS is the World's Greatest Science.
** No swearing to my martinet group leader that I really am with the program.
** No waiting for daily, written permission to use my workstation.
** No attending 60-year old facilities with that bombed-out look like maybe the Taliban just left.
** No more days of training, reading, forms and signatures for a routine 30 minute job.
** No more watching the Rat Patrol retrieve dead mice from my dilapidated office.
** No more sweating at my desk in the winter or summer.
** No more walking thru the Admin. Bldg and seeing titles like "Chief Assistant Associate Principal Vice-Deputy Director" and then waiting two years to get my name on my office door.
** No more listening to my deputy group leader expound for 30 minutes on changes to the latest form.
** No trying to get to a meeting in a building where the badge reader suddenly stops working.
** No scrounging at LANL Salvage for furniture after waiting six months on a signed purchase order.
** No more trying to get the online status of my purchase order and getting a message to download the Turkish character set.
** No more waiting a year to buy something that costs $200 and then finding out in Sept. I can spend $200K if the stuff is delivered in two weeks.
** No working at the whim of DOE bureaucrats who regard me and my fellows as incompetent, irresponsible teenagers.
** No more being told I'm unqualified to do a routine task but no one knows how to qualify.
** No more pretending that it is possible to build and test explosive weapons under a policy of zero tolerance for accident or injury.
** No more dealing with arrogant, mediocre LANL staff.
** No more big, bureaucratic science.

Partisan Anger in DC May Hobble LANL

The Never-ending Saga Of The Continuing Resolution: "How will all of this affect LANL?" you might ask.
The "troubles" pile up: Hurricane Katrina, avian flu, the war in Iraq (see related word "QuAgmIRe"; -Ed.), ...


Partisan Anger Could Hobble Senate
Bickering Over Democratic Move Could Affect Budget, Bird Flu, Supreme Court Debate

Nov. 2, 2005 — - If bad blood between Senate Republicans and Democrats continues beyond Tuesday's angry blowup over Democrats' demand for a closed session on pre-war Iraq intelligence, it could make it difficult to get much done in what looks to be a busy legislative session.

"It could go through the end of the year," said George Stephanopoulos, ABC News' chief political correspondent and host of "This Week." "We could be here [hobbled by partisan anger] until Christmas."

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures


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A month from yesterday

Submitted by Roderick Spode:

We now have 29 days before the new contractor is announced. If one had to pick a single word to describe the general mood at LANL, that word might be "resigned". An era has nearly come to an end. A very unpleasant, unnecessarily contentious end. UC really dropped the ball this past year, or, according to many who have voiced their opinions on this blog, for the last 20 years. Some say that it is a shame, others say "throw the bums out", but regardless, the University of California will no longer be running LANL as of July, 2006. And, no matter which of the two competing LLCs is selected as the next contractor, it will never be the same up here on the Hill.

The general opinion seems to be that UC President Dynes and his LANL operations manager Bob Foley allowed so much collateral damage to be done by their chosen LANL director, Nanos, that the LANS LLC has very little chance of being selected. Dynes and Foley waited a full 10 months before interceding in any noticeable way after Nanos shut down the entire laboratory. LANS, as a result, appears to be hopelessly poisoned by its UC association.

Me, I'm one of the ones who will be saying "Good riddance!" to UC, Dynes, and Foley on that happy day next month, if the LAA LLC is awarded the contract.

Roderick Spode

UC's Foley tours Emergency Operations Center

From the LANL NewsBulletin.

November 2, 2005

University of California Vice President for Laboratory Management Bob Foley, right, asks a question during a briefing at the Laboratory's Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday. Foley was briefed on the new EOC at Technical Area 69 by Beverly Ramsey, acting director of the Emergency Operations Office (ADSFO-EOO). Foley also heard reports about Laboratory hazardous materials operations and toured Los Alamos' hazmat training facility at TA-49. Foley is scheduled to observe an EOC drill this morning. At left is Denny Erickson of the associate director for weapons physics (ADWP) program.

(Photo Credit: LeRoy N. Sanchez, Public Affairs)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Monitor reporters garner state writing awards

Congratulations, Roger (and to the other award winners at the Monitor, as well).


Monitor reporters garnered seven E.H. Shaffer state writing awards from the New Mexico Press Association during a banquet at the Tamaya Hyatt Resort in Bernalillo Saturday evening.

The reporters competed in a variety of categories against colleagues from newspapers throughout New Mexico.

Monitor Assistant Editor Roger Snodgrass received a first-place award in the breaking news category for his article about the beating of Los Alamos National Laboratory worker Tommy Hook outside a Santa Fe nightspot.


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UCSC and Los Alamos National Laboratory to form partnership for scientific data management

My google LANL news alert sometimes brings up press releases like this one. I wonder what the future of collaborations like this one are after December 1? I can see the value of collaborative efforts such as this, but I also wonder what cost code will pay for the LANL portion of work done on it.


The University of California, Santa Cruz, and Los Alamos National Laboratory have agreed to establish a new collaborative institute for research and education in the area of scientific data management. The Institute for Scalable Scientific Data Management (ISSDM) will address looming issues of data storage and management for projects that involve large-scale simulation and computing.

"This new partnership builds on a history of fruitful scientific collaboration between UCSC faculty and students and Los Alamos scientists. The educational and research programs supported by the institute will benefit both partners while addressing major challenges in scientific computing," said UCSC Chancellor Denice D. Denton.


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