Apr 8, 2007

Where is the additional money going to come from?

Santa Fe New Mexican 04/08/2007, Page F02

OUR VIEW: Bingaman’s LANL talk high on promise.

National defense, no doubt, is an important role filled by America’s scientific laboratories. When you’ve got as many enemies as Uncle Sam has, you need state-of-the-art weaponry and tools to detect and deflect whatever those enemies throw at us.

On the destructive-capability count, Los Alamos National laboratory does an adequate job, as far as anyone knows — and hardly anyone does; defense secrecy, and all that. What is known is that there’s an impressive aggregation of scientific and engineering talent on “the Hill” — talent contracted by the Department of Energy. And we know that our nation and the rest of the world are running low on conventional energy sources.

New Mexico’s senators are their parties’ pre-eminent members of the committee in charge of energy — at a time when even our oil-man president says it’s time to get serious about alternatives to fossil fuel. Their state might be a petro-power, with all that means to the economy, but both chairman Jeff Bingaman and ranking Republican Pete Domenici are long overdue for a look at LANL as the energy resource it should be.

And that’s what was so encouraging about Bingaman’s recent visit to Los Alamos, where he noted that the lab can help meet many more challenges than it does today. America and its allies need ways of tracking the traffic in nuclear material, he told scientists and businessmen at the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce. And we’ve got to come up with better sources of energy.

The lab has dabbled in energy development, but more often as public-relations work than dedicated research into clean and efficient supplies. With the predictable nod to weapons-stockpile work, Bingaman went on to the challenges of producing, transmitting and using energy for the sake of economic security, as well as to rescue our choking atmosphere and to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

His Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the senator, is giving serious looks at renewable energy as well as biofuels, along with ventures into capturing and storing carbon. Tax incentives, he said, will be one route into an enlightened energy policy — but lab leaders shouldn’t have been able to avoid seeing what their people could contribute to such things as a “ hydrogen economy” or other ways out of our addiction to gas, oil and coal. Many approaches to that problem have been studied to death; it’s time for Bingaman, with Domenici’s help, to choose a route and move.

Throughout el norte are workers laid off their jobs with various contracting outfits whose executives are reduced to penny-wise behavior in the face of LANL insecurity. It’s time to put those people to work on pioneering projects to convert our country and others from the wasteful and harmful combustion of finite resources to reasonable and environmentally responsible energy sources.

Were the lab to set such a course, it would attract more of our nation’s finest minds and perhaps retain many of the scientists who today are dying to get out of there. Bingaman and Domenici are in perfect position to restore the luster of a marvelously equipped institution in need of a new mission. We wish them well in turning recognition of LANL’s challenges into action overcoming them.

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Copyright ╴ 2007 Santa Fe New Mexican 04/08/2007

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's not a chance the federal government will fund the types of projects that Bingaman talked about. The only way any pure research (because that's what these project are) will be funded will be through non profits to get the biggest bang for the buck. $400k/staff member has effectively killed research.

Anonymous said...

It goes with out saying, that the big bucks right now are with the Nuclear wepons program, the "big ticket items". The projects that Sen. Bingaman is pushings just does not carry the $$$or the long commitment of both parties....LANL is going to be reduced to a small "support" Lab, we will support the other bigger labs, like LLNL< Sandia, the small projects that are funded here will be short term and limited......And yes...Mr Senator, how do you explain the overhead of 400K per employee, who in their right mind will fund work here with that type of price tag....No layoff's huh?...

Anonymous said...

I wish Bingaman had had the smarts to discuss the overhead cost which is driven by the gross management salaries. Surely someone on his staff is smart enough to figure out what is driving up the costs - the extraneous paper pushers and the overpaid director.

Anonymous said...

Are you so desperate you will actually believe a promise from a politician?

Anonymous said...

The big problem with the prospect for additional money is that LANL does not have the appropriate experts or institutional experience for the suggested projects. The Domenici days are done when money came in with no or little peer revue or the protection of secrecy.

Anonymous said...

The problem with LANL is the management and their Supersized ego's, not to mention their inflated salaries. We should demand a refund as taxpayers!

Anonymous said...

How long does anyone think that LANL can support the present overhead costs, as you all know a good portion of the costs are passed on to the "sponsors"...Any new money coming to LANL will be eaten up by the 400K per Staff Memebr. Does our Good Senator understand the "real money" situation at LANL, or is he relying on Mikey's accounting for answers..if the latter, then hold on to your collective asse's because we are in deep do do.

Anonymous said...

Please don't forget that Mikey just got a $20K base-pay raise for doing what??? Oh yeah, getting rid of good LANL folks and making sure LLNL got RRW.

Anonymous said...

all I can say - fucking criminals have siezed power. How soon is the coup?

Anonymous said...

Why do the posts on this blog have only time (and not date) stamps?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why do the posts on this blog have only time (and not date) stamps?

4/11/07 7:58 AM


Must be a LANL manager.......

Names: Pinky and The Brain said...

"Why do the posts on this blog have only time (and not date) stamps?"

It was a setting we had to change in Blogger. Thanks for pointing that out to us.

Names: Pinky and The Brain said...

"Must be a LANL manager......."

There is no need to insult us! We're worker mice.

Anonymous said...

Re no date stamp:

It wasn't a LANL manager (or a worker mouse, or a sheep, or any other employee at LANL who is working or isn't working or is trying to work under what apparently are very difficult conditions) who asked about date stamp. It wasn't even an employee, just someone who occasionally looks at this blog and likes to know how current the posts are and how long some of the strings are lasting.

Thanks for setting things up so the date shows.

Pinky and The Brain said...

We aim to cheese... err, aim to please.