Jul 6, 2007

Anywhere you care to take a look

This comment from the


post caught my eye. It seems that just about anywhere you care to take a look at LANL the system is completely broken down.


In a perverse sort of way, I guess it's kind of reassuring that LANL is also lax in its rad-worker controls (as well as with security, safety, and, when you get right down to it: overall quality of management). What else would you expect, I suppose, from a lab that allows workers to track Americium all over a four state region.

I've worked at other DOE sites -- you just *don't* take your personal dosimeters home with you.


Anonymous said...

How is this a LANL issue? This is a law enforcement issue.

You people are amazing. Anything you can find to drive this thing into the ground you will do. Random drug testing? Terrible! LANS is awful. Congress should shut this place down. Get Stupak on the phone! Someone apprehended by law enforcement that also happens to work at LANL? Terrible! LANS is awful. Congress should shut this place down. Get Stupak on the phone!

Either you don't work for the lab and are doing your best to undermine it, or you do and you should just leave if you are this miserable.


Anonymous said...

I do work at the lab. I've also worked at SRP, and INEL, and I have visited many of the other labs: ORNL, Hanford, RFP.

The fact that a radcon worker is allowed to apparently regularly take his personal dosimeters home with him indicates *severely* lax radiation worker supervision.

That fact that he was a drug dealer and probable drug user makes it even worse. If you think this latest event does not clearly demonstrate more of LANL's problems, then you are a *part* of the problem. It is shitheads like you who refuse to even recognize what LANL's problems are that are driving the place into the ground.

Anonymous said...

I worked at LANL for 20 years and ALWAYS took my TLD home at night. As far as I can tell, so did all employees at TA-53. There was no storage location for TLDs.

Anonymous said...

10:50, can you expound on your lax rad worker supervision comment? Perhaps pointing to the rules and regs? Is this a common practice at LANL as opposed to the other sites you mention?

Anonymous said...

10:50 here.

At the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant (ICPP), Test Reactor North (TRN), and the Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) at INEL, it is a safety infraction to take personal dosimetry off-site. The purpose of wearing a personal dosimeter is to determine exposure at the work place and thereby to assess if there are any radiation safety issues in the work place.

If you take a dosimeter outside of the work area, and you expose it to a radiation source you have lost the ability to account for workplace exposure. There are *lots* of potential off-site radiation exposures: X-ray, microwave, flying in a commercial airliner, rock collections -- some of the rocks you can pick up off the ground in the St. George, UT area would set off every radiation detector in TA-55. There is lots of uranium ore in the St. George area, just like there is lots of uranium ore in the Gallup/Grants areas, and just south of Santa Fe in the old tailings of the mill just south of La Bajada Hill.

Pretty common sense to leave them at work, really, which makes it no great surprise that LANL does not enforce such a reasonable procedure.

Anonymous said...

I also have experience at several nuclear sites, inlcuding commercial nuc's and was NEVER allowed to take a TLD off site for the very reasons cited by 10:50/11:06.

Anonymous said...

It is also a safety issue to leave dosimeters in cars. Heat will cause the signal to fade quickly, leading to an inaccurately lower reading.

Anonymous said...

Duhhhhh! People aren't going to wear their dosimeters out the front door. Most likely, they will get put in a pocket, lunch box, backpack or whatever.

Are the guards supposed to perform a full cavity body search when we all leave the facility???

Gimme a break. Again, it comes down to personal responsibility.

Anonymous said...

TLDs at LLNL are part of the badges, every employee has one, and they all go home at the end of the day. Taking a TLD off site is not a big deal. Rad exposures off site are rare, so if a TLD is read and its been exposed, its not that hard to figure out the source. LLNL does not do as much high rad work as LANL and has a zero exposure policy, so LANL may have a different view on the wearing of TLDs.

Anonymous said...

"...so LANL may have a different view on the wearing of TLDs."

No doubt. LANL seems to have different views than the rest of industry in several safety-related areas. All I can say for certain is the the Naval Reactors Facility, run by Westinghouse in Idaho certainly has a different view of rad-health than LANL seems to.

Anonymous said...

LANL Radiation Protection Policy requires workers to protect dosimetry from extremes of temperature (>150 F), sunlight, etc. But it does not specify that you have to store it at work. Granted, it's pretty easy for the interior of a car to get above 150 degrees in the summer in New Mexico.

(Incidentally, Mr. Idaho, a dosimeter for ionizing radiation can NOT record microwaves as an exposure.)

Anonymous said...

Well, I do wear my dosimeter appendage "out the front door", and so do a lot of other people at LANL.

It generally goes wherever my employee badge goes, including home.

Anonymous said...

TA-53 can run beam for 24 hour periods- so a radiation badge routinely left in the office could read a much higher dose than the employee actually received. Also the vacuum systems and cooling towers run all the time. Therefore, TA-53 policy was always to take them home.

Anonymous said...

I sense our arrogance creeping in again. We know better than the rest of the world what is best, particularly if it requires less discipline and avoids additional inconvenience on our part. If we decide it is best, then it must be. Because we have always done it this way, why question it. Rad, security, safety, we’re better than the rest, no matter what the rest think of us or how many issues we have.

I too, am thinking of leaving. However, the reasons have to do with the general depression here, the unwillingness to change and improve, and the combative attitude toward everyone and everything. Attitudes prevalent throughout the lab, not just management as typically argued here.

I’d wish you all good luck, but nothing so positive would be accepted here.

Pinky and The Brain said...

If you do leave, come visit us on the blog and let us know how it turned out. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

From 11:30

Thanks. I will.

Anonymous said...

have discussed this issue in the past with HSE (or whatever its called now). The official policy has been that LANL dosimetry wants to know what dose employees are getting anywhere. This helps monitor the townsite and more remote communities. It is actually a positive community support issue - should there ever be an accusation (ever been to Santa Fe?) of "alleged leaks", the dosimeters would assess whether anyone, anywhere received a measurable dose.

Anonymous said...

7/6/07 11:30 PM, I certainly won't say I know what the "right" way is to approach dosimetry. I seem to remember that when I started working at LANL 14 years ago, there was a rack on the wall of my facility where dosimters were delivered, and most people deposited them back there at the end of the day. After a few years, questions were raised as to whether the cinderblock walls were depositing a low but measureable dose to our TLD's while we all slept at home in our wood frame houses. So the rack came down. Today, there's a Plan of the Day/Week board in that location.

Seems you can make an argument either way. Do you want to measure the 24/7 dose at the worksite, regardless of whether the employees are present or not?

Realistically, few DOE employees are working so close to the margin of the exposure limits that a few mR per month in either direction would have a true impact.

Anonymous said...

Gussie -
Oh great guru - regarding non reported security-events?
Is it true that a secretary at the lab was arrested on the 5th as part of a theft ring? Is it also true that she (a woman) had stolen her boss's laptop? Is it also true it held classified? (Surely there will be an attempt to downplay level of classification.) Which makes one wonder what is the point of having classification levels if some aren't as important as others.
Oh great sage - did this really happen? Is it the new LANS approcah to getting no one to care to have an event a day so that the world stops paying attention? Very clever! Very clever indeed. (Was this a Mitchel reccomendation as they led him out?)

Anonymous said...

I left Los Alamos in 2005... and while I still think parts of my job were the best I had ever done... I do not miss the miasma that people had there.

It wasnt just Nanos... people had this back in the 1990's and had just gotten worse. The culture had become so passive-aggressive about things that I figured that it would take a division of psychotherapists to work any sort of 'cleanup' of the place. I remember going to several meetings where a person railed against Nanos doing such and such, but it had been exactly what the person had complained about and using that persons suggested fix two weeks before. To too many people, their whole existance of working for the lab was to continue a dysfunctional relationship of getting beaten up at work, but going back the next day because of X,Y, and Z excuses.

I left and went to work for SNL for a bit and realized how much this relationship was perpetuated by DOE/NNSA and by the people working at the various labs. DOE pigeon holes LANL as the problem child, LLNL as the college bound child, and SNL as the good kid who talk about what goes on behind the doors at night.. and each of the labs fulfills those roles and gets angry if it gets pushed out their comfort zones.

I found leaving DOE completely was probably best for me, but I can see why its not something everyone can do.. the addiction to bad behaviour/lifestyles is hard to break.