Jun 20, 2007

House rejects restoring $190 million for LANL

ROGER SNODGRASS Monitor Assistant Editor

Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., proposed an amendment to an appropriation bill under debate in the House this morning. His amendment, proposing to restore about $190 million of project and program cuts, mostly at Los Alamos National Laboratory was rejected after a brief debate.

Udall proposed restoring funds requested by the administration in three specific areas. These included core mission and transitional support for the laboratory, specifically restoring the administration requests for upgrades to the Roadrunner supercomputer, safety improvements and science campaigns.

Speaking against the amendment were the chairman and ranking member of the appropriation panel that authored the bill.

Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Ind., and Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, cited security and other problems at Los Alamos to support the bill in its current form.

"I wish our national labs, who are treasures and who do great work - I would ask that they be as concerned about their security as they are about their budget line," Visclosky said.

"NNSA is the problem, not the scientists, that's why I take the money away from NNSA," Udall responded.

The amendment was rejected by a voice vote, and a formal vote was postponed until later in the day.

First day of debate

The House of Representatives Tuesday largely endorsed the overall plan to cut nuclear weapons programs by $632 million, while adding $491 million to nonproliferation programs.

Under a provisional arrangement, a final vote will be postponed until July, while the House reviews flood-control projects apportioned for the Army Corps of Engineers.

As it stands now, the energy and water appropriation bill will eliminate funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) and construction and programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory, while reducing a number of other projects and programs.

Cuts denounced

Speaking during debate on the House floor, Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., said the bill represented "the most radical shift in U.S. policy on nuclear weapons that I've seen at least since the mid-1990s, that will lead us either to be forced to a return to nuclear testing, or to abandon nuclear deterrence because we stopped maintaining the stockpile."

Speaking in the Senate, meanwhile, Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., criticized the bill and what he considers the harm it could have on decades of work managing the U.S. nuclear stockpile and nuclear deterrence efforts.

"That bill, if enacted without substantial change, would send American nuclear deterrence strategy in a new and absolutely unknown direction," Domenici said.

Wilson said the bill would cause a 40-percent reduction in the LANL weapons program and a 20-percent reduction at Sandia National Laboratories, the nuclear engineering lab in her congressional district in Albuquerque.

W-76 questioned

In a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Friday, Thomas D'Agostino advanced the case for the RRW by suggesting doubts about the reliability of the W-76 missile, the first class of warheads that was scheduled to be replaced under the RRW project.

"Although we have not uncovered any problems with the W-76, it is prudent to hedge against a catastrophic failure of that system by introducing a diverse warhead design into the submarine launched ballistic missile force," he said, according to the text of his remarks. D'Agostino has been nominated to become the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. NNSA supervises the nuclear weapons complex for the Department of Energy.

Teleconference

Udall announced Tuesday that he would conduct a telephone town hall with the Los Alamos and northern New Mexico community tonight at 6 p.m. on the subject of the future of the lab.

Marissa Padilla, Udall's press secretary, said the teleconference was an experiment.

"This is brand new to us," she said. Calls went out to constituents last night and another round of calls will go out tonight, asking people to join the teleconference. For more information, Padilla referred community members to the congressman's website.

For more information on Udall's teleconference, visit www.tomudall.house.gov. A video of Wilson's speech is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuqPKLPPADU. A link to the text of D'Agostino's talk can be found under "News" at www.nnsa.doe.gov.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that the LANS website has been unavailable for sometime?

www.lansllc.com

However, the Livermore Lab LLNS site is running...

www.llnsllc.com

Do you think it might be connected to the security breach, and all of the LANS computers being impounded?

Anonymous said...

I think we are going to be a nuclear free North America,because you know damn well they will never go back to underground testing. Can you imagine how long it would tale to get an environmental impact study approved? Anyway, by the time they got the study approved all of the people that actually know how to do a test down hole would be dead and stinking. Maybe they just better go play with their computer simulations and call it good. Bend over, grab you ankles and say goodbye to America.Its TCP-2 and start withdraws immediately. Got to spend it before they change currency.

Anonymous said...

Thank you UC! Thank you for putting us in this position after the last decade and a half of your worthless management. And then you thought the U.S. Congress was dumb enough to think LANS was something different, didn't you? Maybe it could have been. Maybe if UC had been left out of the equation. But then we wouldn't have LANS, now would we? We'd have the Lockheed Martin team instead. And perhaps then we would have been viewed by the country as an institution willing to evolve--to change to what the country wanted and needed of us. But no, instead we attempted to force the country to revert back to our fixed unchanging view of who we are and what we hoped to always remain. Instead chose to remain a relic of a bygone era in other words, like Domenici. Well by conservative friends and colleagues, now we must share in the fruit sown though our collective resistance to change. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, by the time they got the study approved all of the people that actually know how to do a test down hole would be dead and stinking."

I know I'm getting older, but I didn't know I already had one foot in the grave. BTW, because most of us that actually DID test downhole are my age or older, and hanging out here in the bleak Nevada desert waiting for a resumption that will never come, maybe we should start planning for a mass wake, with interment to follow at Sedan Crater.

Anonymous said...

6:38 - UC and St Pete are not the only ones people should be blaming for the mess we are in, there are others like the morons who "found" the disk drives behind the xerox machine, the americium spreader, the aqua regia TSM, the laser eye injury, and the continuous stream of security infractions by people. None of these people get fired and we all are now paying the price. These are the folks who are still among us and who are to blame for Congress hating LANL and for the reputation of LANL not being safe or secure.

Anonymous said...

1. 99.999999% of LANL employes are good people and do their jobs.

2. Everyone at LANL is NOT a scientist.

3. LANS SUCKS ASS.

4. Incidents at other labs, NNSA, and other federal offices have been WORSE than anything that has happened at LANL.... when the FUCK will the media and the morons in Congress GET IT?

5. If LANL were in Texas or California it wouldn't be dealing with all this political shit.

Miguél de Nuevo México said...

Not to mention, that when people back east learn that Los Alamos is in New Mexico, they get irate that our country's super secret nuclear weapons lab isn't even in the United States!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 9:13, all these "scientist" folks are to blame. Ever think that maybe, just maybe, management or Lab Legal is to blame in these incidents and that what you read in the newspapers, internal releases, or investigation reports might be incorrect?

Anonymous said...

6:38:

The "moron" that "found" the hard drive behind the copy machine is a close friend of mine and one of the brighest, most honest, and dedicated scientists I know. His work has been stellar, and that comment is so completely uncalled for, it's makes it patently obvious that you're just another anti-LANL provacateur who sees this blog as yet another tool to advance your agenda. To anyone that knows the person I'm referring to, you just look foolish with your uninformed and biased comments. The "moron" was out-of-pocket well over $30,000 for his sin of FINDING the hard drives. Attitudes such as yours have real consequences for patriotic individuals who happen to feel that working at LANL isn't a crime and they might actually be contributing to national security. Or would you prefer we disband NEST and ARG teams and just let anyone plant a nuke on our soil to-hell-with-the-consequences. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

6:30 The site is hosted out of Oak Ridge and was turned off in error. Will be back soon - no conspiracy, no security connection.

Anonymous said...

10:13 PM - I concur. The aqua regia TSM that has been so profusely referred to on this blog of late is a dear friend of mine and she has been out-of-pocket well over $25,000 for her sin of hiring a wacko postdoc that Terry Wallace supported. She was exhonerated by TWO - count them TWO - (DOE and LANL - only because they cannot be outdone) investigations. Her career was negatively impacted and her name erroneously splattered in newspapers because LANL management did not, and still does not, have the intestinal fortitude to admit they fucked up. She had all her PDs and students and funding taken away as a result of a crazy person who made false and damaging accusations that LANL management believed. Was this proper treatment? No. Did she sue? No. Like 10:13 said, attitudes such as yours have real consequences for good and honest individuals who happen to feel that working at LANL isn't a bad thing and they might actually be contributing to something good. Remarks like yours actually reinforce the poor treatment of these individuals by spineless and vindictive management. Yes, shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that certain comments above lament losing their UCRP retirement because they chose TCP1, yet proceed to criticize UC. Others criticize LANS for bidding on what DOE/NNSA/our elected congress, put out there - someone, somewhere, will bid on anything...go check out Ebay.
LANS isn't to blame (they only responded to an RFP that OUR govt put out and we paid for). UC created this mess with great help from DOE/NNSA/congress (hiring just anyone based on political correctness vs actual skills will get you what you deserve) and it now comes home to roost.
The individuals doing the right thing under ominous conditions are to be applauded.

Anonymous said...

10:13 PM - Get real. The TSM that CAUSED the Aqua Regia incident should have been fired. She was nothing but a difficult trouble-maker. Her supporters were removed from power and now she is paying the price.

Anonymous said...

10:13 and 11:05: I wish the truth could really be exposed here about the Aqua Regis incident, because all we hear is strong conflicting statements from both sides with little evidence. I only have heard second hand information (but well connected since I know the post-doc's husband) but if the account by the post-doc is true that the TSM ordered the post-doc to do the glass cleaning with inadequate ventilation even after the post-doc complained that the ventilation setup did meet saftey standards then someone at the staff level and upwards should have been fired.

Anonymous said...

5:56 here again: I meant "did NOT meet saftey standards"...

Anonymous said...

Both NNSA and LANS are the problem. NNSA constructed the LANL management contract RFP digging an impossibly deep $1B hole for the management contractor by REQUIRING a Limited Liability Corporation with the commensurate gross receipt tax burden and then adding an obscene fee. LANS is to blame because they dishonestly responded claiming they could dig LANL out of that $1B hole by "improving efficiency".

Has anyone seen any of these efficiency improvements?

Eric said...

To everyone above,

Thank you so much for facts and for real discussion.

Anonymous said...

6/20/07 9:18 PM said "If LANL were in Texas or California it wouldn't be dealing with all this political shit."

Maybe if you had stayed where ever the hell you came from we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now, you carpet bagging SOB!

Anonymous said...

1. 99.999999% of LANL employes are good people and do their jobs.

Hgmhmmm...Bullshit. Less than 50% are actually workers. The rest are the shit that piles up for vaious reasons. DON'T insult anyone by making that comment again. If we have to we can start with names and specific instances (and yes anywhere else these actions would have resulted in termination) Fucking moron making such a head up the ass comment.



2. Everyone at LANL is NOT a scientist. Correct

3. LANS SUCKS ASS.

4. Incidents at other labs, NNSA, and other federal offices have been WORSE than anything that has happened at LANL.... when the FUCK will the media and the morons in Congress GET IT?

5. If LANL were in Texas or California it wouldn't be dealing with all this political shit.

6/20/07 9:18 PM

Anonymous said...

Eric said...
To everyone above,

Thank you so much for facts and for real discussion.

6/21/07 7:18 AM

Eric - Again: Shut up. You are in the fast lane to being...well.. unwelcome

Anonymous said...

Well then perhaps 8:36AM needs to get out of Dodge before his stellar reputation gets tarnished by having to mingle with such low life colleagues (50% of whom are undeserving of his presence). Please don't get your swollen head get stuck in the doorway on the way out because we sure wouldn’t want your departure to get delayed for any reason whatsoever. And good riddance by the way.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Well then perhaps 8:36AM needs to get out of Dodge before his stellar reputation gets tarnished by having to mingle with such low life colleagues (50% of whom are undeserving of his presence). Please don't get your swollen head get stuck in the doorway on the way out because we sure wouldn’t want your departure to get delayed for any reason whatsoever. And good riddance by the way.

6/21/07 9:09 AM

1) I do not have a big head. I am barely competent, but I work

2) My standards are low.

3) you're just being a shit because you think more than 1 productive hour a day is too much

Anonymous said...

Well, this thread is certainly doing a good job of reflecting the quality of discourse on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Poster 8:36 AM reminds me of just how close many LANL workers are to the breaking point. The stress levels are starting to get to people and all the recent talk of drastic budgetary shortfalls are only aggravating the situation.

Every time I think LANL has finally hit rock bottom and morale can't go any lower, the morale seems to drop even lower. This place is really beginning to fall apart and LANS is doing very little to help stop the descent.

Anonymous said...

Why is "human error" an appropriate excuse for LANS to use in the latest security incident? The folks on the LANS Board could have been using a secure network to make sure this type of problem never occured. It makes me wonder if the LANS Board even have access to a secure Email network. Rather than "human error", a more appropriate word would be "incompetence".

Neither NNSA or LANS have done anything to help deflect the perception of the media and Congress that the LANS Board security screwup is just "another example of butthead scientists out at LANL". There are no signs of leaderships nor courage from those who supposedly lead us.

Anonymous said...

News: Santa Fe / NM
Udall’s push for LANL funding falters
(10 comments; last comment posted Today 10:37 am) print | email this story



Tom Udall (U.S. Rep) (D)

Related Stories
Udall to teleconference about LANL future
Relevant Downloads
Telephone Town Hall with Udall: On LANL economic impact on Northern New Mexico since LANS transition 6/20 (.mp3)
TelephoneTown Hall with Udall: On redifining national security priorities 6/20 (.mp3)
Telephone Town Hall with Udall: On keeping LANL competitive with other laboratories 6/20 (.mp3)
Telephone Town Hall with Udall: Introductory remarks by Udall on LANL 6/20 (.mp3)
By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
June 20, 2007

Editor's Note: Audio excerpts of Rep. Udall's electronic town hall meeting on LANL's future, held Wednesday evening, are available for download by clicking on the links attached to this story. The congressman's office had technical difficulties administering parts of the telephone conference causing the sound to drop out intermittently during his introductory remarks.

N.M. labs would lose $400 million if spending bill passes

U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., was defeated Wednesday in an effort to include $192 million for Los Alamos National Laboratory in a spending bill.

Udall’s amendment was defeated 121-312, and shows the House of Representatives wants to spend less on nuclear weapons programs and more on energy research in the 2008 fiscal year.

The passage of the 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill would cut a combined $400 million at Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos compared to the 2007 fiscal year, Udall’s office reported. Los Alamos bears much of the cuts, but no specific number was immediately provided by several New Mexico lawmakers or the lab.
EnvironmentalDefense.org

However, the Senate still has to release its own version of the bill and reach a compromise with the House before the measure becomes law over the next few months.

“In recent years, there have been administrative and managerial difficulties, which we all agree are unacceptable,” Udall said in defense of his amendment. “Nevertheless, the mission of the lab and the workers are two things I will always fiercely defend.”

But a longtime Republican critic of Los Alamos again questioned the need to spend more money there.

“Given this track record, do we really believe adding another $192 million will improve security?” Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, said. “I would argue our national security would be improved by cutting 1,800 jobs from a facility that can’t seem to manage sensitive information.”

Anonymous said...

It's sick how Hopson uses the latest incident as a means to punish LANL staff, and not the LANS Board or NNSA. LANS has deflected the punishment for this screwup on their workers.

Bodman appears to congratulate LANS and NNSA on a job well done regarding the LANS Board incident in the article referenced below.

I suggest Dingell ask Bodman if the LANS Board even has a ready means of sending secure Email amoung the various Board members. If so, why didn't they use it? If not, then Bodman/NNSA/LANS should not get off so easy with a lame excuse of "human error".


http://www.computerworld.com
/action/article.do?
command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9025311

********

Los Alamos breach caused by human error, says Energy Dept. - Computerworld, June 20

June 20, 2007 (Computerworld) -- A critical security breach that may have exposed nuclear secrets at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in January was the result of human error and not a breakdown in security processes.

The "unintentional security incident" resulted in the transmission of sensitive information through an unsecured e-mail system, Samuel Bodman, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said in a letter to Congress last Friday.

...In his letter, Bodman offered no explanation for the NNSA's failure to notify Dingell's subcommittee about the breach. ...

...Though measures have been implemented at the facility to minimize such risks, such errors can occasionally happen, he said. "Therefore we have a robust system in place to report and investigate potential violations. In my opinion, this is a circumstance where those systems worked well."...


********

You can download Dingell's recent letter to Bodman here:

energycommerce.house.gov
/Press_110/110-ltr.061407.LANL.Bodman.pdf

Anonymous said...

Congress obviously wants their pound of flesh from the hides of LANL's workers. It's starting to get personal. They want to see us suffer. Given the high probability of a Continuing Resolution to next year's budget, the House bill will probably be enforced and we will, indeed, suffer. This sometimes makes me wonder why LANL workers bother devoting a career to national security when Congress and the public appears to hate our guts.

LANL is obviously not the place to make a career, and being involved with the design and upkeep of the US strategic arsenal is a very bad career choice.

Anonymous said...

The next presidential candidate should be aware - we do remember and we do VOTE

Anonymous said...

R-i-i-i-ght. . . and Hillary is our Friend!

Anonymous said...

5:56 AM wrote, "I wish the truth could really be exposed here about the Aqua Regis incident, because all we hear is strong conflicting statements from both sides with little evidence."

The evidence has been provided. Go ask Terry Wallace. Much is being covered up. Very similar to the most recent security breach involving the LANS board member. Something fishy is going on ... maybe Dingell should re-open the aqua regis investigation and couple it with a full blown investigation into the current incident.

Anonymous said...

People who have publicly defended the aqua regia TSM have been known to find dead rats all over their car. Maybe that's why you don't hear both sides of the story.

Smells like aqua regia said...

6/21/07 5:56 AM gives the aqua regia PD's version of events, as reported by her husband. I worked in that facility and I consider myself well-connected too.

The aqua regia TSM provided documentary evidence to investigators that the PD was offered two alternative locations (one just 50 feet away) to perform work that required a fume hood. Additional documentary evidence shows that the PD herself had identified "washing frits" as an activity that should be done in a functioning fume hood.

The PD, by contrast, provided nothing but wild accusations. For reasons that remain unknown, the postdoc seems to have taken it upon herself to dismantle an engineered control that was installed and certified by an IH for managing the exhaust from a glovebox, while the main facility exhaust was down for repairs. Without authorization, the PD reconfigured it for the aqua regia work. We can only speculate on why she would have done this, and then blamed the TSM when it did not work out as she hoped.

One other thing: Hallway talk is that chemists outside LANL say the postdoc got her degree two years early as part of a settlement agreement in a sexual harrassment lawsuit she filed against her research advisor. (Her advisor had to write her thesis for her). Perhaps the suit was legitimate, perhaps not, but the PD does seem to have a pattern of making accusations and filing lawsuits against her supervisors.