Sep 12, 2007

Mourning the end of an era

[Editor's note: To forestall the inevitable complaints that "there goes that blog again, posting negative news about LANL", let me reiterate what Pinky said the last time this complaint surfaced: if it's news about LANL that pertains to the future of the institution we post it here. If it's negative news, well, that's what most news about LANL has been for the past few years. Mentioned in the article are RRW, Complex 2030, pit production all of which pertain to LANL's future.

The fact that 'Comical Ali' Kevin Roark was mentioned in the article is admittedly a bonus.


CAROL A. CLARK Monitor County Editor

A small group of people from Albuquerque and California demonstrated at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Monday morning. Holding "Disarm" and "Stop War Now" banners in front of LANL's main sign at Diamond Drive and West Jemez Road, they received waves and words of support from some passing cars, yells of "get out of here" from others and were ignored by most.

The demonstration was organized by the Trinity Catholic Worker House in Albuquerque.

"I'm here because I'm concerned about the RRWP (Reliable Replacement Warhead Program) in Los Alamos and I want to exercise freedom of speech and our right to peacefully assemble here," said Trinity House volunteer Chelsea Collonge.

Los Alamos police said Monday that people have a constitutional right to demonstrate and they will not be arrested unless they step into secure areas.

Trinity Nuclear Abolitionists from Albuquerque joined the demonstration.

"I like the significance of Sept. 10 because it marks the last day in the Cold War before the 9/11 era, which started a new generation of nuclear weapons production," said Trinity Nuclear Abolitionists member Maria Santelli. "I'm mourning that day of Sept. 10 as the last day of peace. Violence is not the way."

Fellow member Marcus Page said, "I want to pray for peace in a concrete way that will expedite the dissolving of the nuclear weapons establishment. Of course this is a tiny toenail foot in the door to make this a reality for everybody. Today's demonstration is a call for more dialogue because we are still struggling to find ways for everyone, including the scientists, to examine their consciences and find solutions. We'll be here once a month, every month for that purpose."

Will Parrish traveled from Santa Barbara, Calif., to take part in Monday's event.

"I'm representing the UC Nuclear Free campaign comprised of University of California students, alumni and faculty who are working to end the University of California support of the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory work that supports the development of nuclear weapons," said Parrish, a UC-Santa Cruz alumni.

He is volunteering with the Los Alamos Study Group and said he came out earlier than planned to participate in the demonstration. "Los Alamos scientists who work on nuclear weapons maintenance and development are helping to perpetuate the role of nuclear weapons as a cornerstone of nuclear policy," he said. "Therefore, I think they have a responsibility to critically examine the nature of that work, especially in light of the fact that Los Alamos is in violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty through its work in development of nuclear weapons and the manufacturing of nuclear pits."

Friar Louis Vitale, a Franciscan from California, said he is working for peace and social justice. "I'm here today because for many, many years after leaving the Air Force in the 1950s where I was engaged with nuclear weapons, I have become aware of their destruction and the potential for annihilation of our planet," Vitale said. "I'm here to join in a non-violent witness to disarm nuclear weapons, especially to resist the development of more as with Complex 2030, the replacement of all nuclear warheads by the year 2030."

Lab security confiscated a camera on loan from Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) to Chronicle reporter Heron Boyce. "I stood in the street and took a picture of the demonstrators and a security guy came up and took my camera," Boyce said. "He said I was on lab property and I could get the camera back in about five days but not the photos. I'm really upset because I was standing in the street and on the sidewalk, I never stepped on lab property and I have photos from other events on that camera."

LANL spokesman Kevin Roark said this morning that taking photographs without permission is prohibited on DOE property and has been for years. That includes the Los Alamos Canyon (Omega) Bridge and eveything beyond it including West Jemez Road and Diamond Drive, he said. "Public roadways can exist on DOE property but they are subject to different rules," Roark said. "PTLA (lab security) has confiscated cameras from people who drive by and stick their heads out their windows and take pictures of the lab."


Anonymous said...

Speaking of the "end of an era".....
Celebrating the Laboratory's UC legacy

By George Miller
Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
President, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC.
Sept. 10, 2007

Two weeks from now, we will host a UC Celebration Day. I invite you to join me on Tuesday, Sept.25, in celebrating our proud University of California heritage.

This event will be a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect upon and celebrate the enduring and defining link between UC and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. There will be directorate exhibits highlighting the major accomplishments of the UC era. Past directors and other notables will share their views on the Laboratory’s UC legacy. You also can pick up a copy of a commemorative photo book that has been prepared as a tribute to all who have worked at LLNL over the years.

When our Laboratory was founded, the Soviet Union had developed nuclear weapons years earlier than expected; the Iron Curtain had descended over Eastern Europe; China had fallen to communism; and the United States was embroiled in the Korean War. A second nuclear design laboratory was proposed to augment the efforts at Los Alamos and speed progress and innovation by providing essential peer review and intellectual competition. On Sept. 2, 1952, the Livermore branch of the University of California Radiation Laboratory opened its doors. The staff of 76 was young and enthusiastic and drawn largely from UC Berkeley.

Our beginnings were modest, and a number of spectacular failures preceded success. But the “new ideas laboratory” persevered and was soon making major advances in national security technology with the design of the warhead for the Polaris missile and accompanying achievements in applied science and engineering. Throughout the decades, we have stayed true to Ernest O. Lawrence’s passion for “big science.”

The Lawrence hallmark of multidisciplinary team science is a continuing source of Livermore’s innovation and a key to our mission success. It promotes cross-fertilization and synergy of ideas across program boundaries. It integrates and accelerates the development of theoretical, experimental and computational capabilities that push the frontiers of knowledge. Time and again, we have turned challenges into opportunities and obstacles to program success into stepping stones for scientific discovery and technology breakthroughs.

For more than a half-century, the University of California has ensured the scientific and technical excellence of this Laboratory and fostered a culture of intellectual freedom and integrity. The success of this approach is indisputable — a Nobel Prize, a MacArthur Foundation genius award, five Enrico Fermi awards, 25 E. O. Lawrence awards and 113 R&D 100 awards. Echoing UC’s three-fold mission of teaching, research and public service, a long list of LLNL scientists have provided outstanding leadership to the country, during and outside their tenures at Livermore, in the realms of national service, research, and education.

The university continues to put its stamp on the Laboratory. Six scientific institutes targeting fields critical to LLNL’s mission connect Laboratory and UC researchers in exciting collaborations. Over the past five years, nearly a third of Laboratory publications in peer-reviewed journals have been co-authored with UC colleagues. Roughly a quarter of current Laboratory employees earned their highest degrees from a UC campus.

Clearly, our ties to the University of California extend far beyond a management contract. We are connected through 55 years of history. We are connected through numerous ongoing research collaborations. Perhaps most important, the university’s values of intellectual integrity, commitment to public service, and passion for mission are part of the fundamental fabric of our Laboratory culture, and our connection to UC will endure for as long as we share these values.

In its role as a major partner in the new Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC, the University will retain its close connection to our Laboratory and support the continuation of world-class science in the national interest.

Even as we honor and treasure our years under UC leadership, we have the opportunity to continue our association with the University by extending and building upon this tradition of excellence in the future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the uplift this morning, Gussie. That article was really amusing!

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Glad it rolled your socks, 10:14.


Anonymous said...

The camera policy really sucks. It means no picture taking whatsoever without permission, even out on the wilderness trails where surveillance isn't an issue. The lab ought to at least post obvious signs that camera use is prohibited, if they are going to be so asshatted about enforcing the letter of policy.

Anonymous said...

LANL had a similar feel-good "Farewell to UC" party when LANS LLC took over. It was poorly attended. At that time, LANL employees had no idea what was about to happen with their lab management. Since then, we've seen the creation of a bloated LANS executive staff that is completely out of touch with the workers, yet given perks and pay that the old UC bosses could only dream of back in the old days. This has been coupled with a management cost structure that is now costing LANL big bucks and helping lead to the significant layoffs that will hit this Spring.
If you had warned LANL workers this is where we would now be at the Farewell UC party, most would not have believed you. They do now!

On September 29th, the staff get to help celebrate a full year under LANS management with the "Fall Festival". The question I have to ask is... what do we have to celebrate about now that LANS is running the show?

Anonymous said...

LLNL employees, I'm saddened by the fact that Miller's memo marks the beginning of your abandonment process. It only goes downhill from this point forward.

Anonymous said...


Los Alamos cited as city with best savers - AP News, Sep 12, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) - When it comes to socking away money for retirement, nobody does it like Los Alamos residents.

The city tops A.G. Edwards’ “Nest Egg Index” for the second consecutive year.

The index ranks the top 500 U.S. communities on their residents’ personal savings and investing behavior.

The index also ranks the states. New Mexico is 44th.

Scores are based on a dozen statistical factors ranging from participation in retirement savings plans to personal debt levels and home ownership.

A.G. Edwards says high-performing cities and states tend to be those with strong housing markets and a propensity toward saving and investing—particularly in 401(k) plans, pension plans and other retirement vehicles.


Interesting article, but I think we can remove Los Alamos off the list of towns with a strong real estate market.

Anonymous said...

Best savers? Up to now it's just been a warm up. As St. Pete says, it's time to hunker down.

Anonymous said...

Taking picture on DOE property might be illegal, but taking pictures of DOE property is not. One can take pictures of the bridge from near the County Ice Rink and homes overlooking the area. One can take many pictures from the Motorola Building. One can take pictures from the intersection of the road to the ski hill and Camp May. One can take pictures ...

Get the drift?

Anonymous said...

You don't know the half of it with respect to the camera policy. This little gem was slipped in while no one was looking.

First of all, the incident described in the monitor (assuming it is accurate) is in violation of the laboratory's own newly minted camera policy.

Second of all, the policy applies state road 4 through White Rock, past Bandelier, and to the back gate. Anywhere along that road if you stop to take a picture, PTLA will hassle you. I know many people that have had this problem. Tourists will be completely unware of this as there are no signs, and nothing outside of the small tec areas along this part of the road to photograph. It makes no difference if you are on the shoulder of the road, on the road, on public land, or even private property. It is really quite remarkable. And sad. As I said, I know many people that have had trouble with this. None of them have had equipment confiscated yet.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this new camera policy on the road to Bandelier should do wonders for our local tourist economy. The new guard posts are certainly a nice "tourist hostile" touch by NNSA, aren't they? I've seen some tourist go into a panic attack when they make that turn and then see the intimidating check points directly in front of them.

Why don't we just put up a big, red neon sign at the entrance to town that says "GO AWAY!!! WE DON'T WANT YOUR HERE!"

NNSA appears to want to destroy any remnants of the local economy of Los Alamos. We are being run by an agency of morons.

Anonymous said...

PTLA hassling people over cameras seems kind of strange to me, since my opinion of PTLA personnnel has always been that they are professional and friendly, and do a damn good job. If they are now harrasing picture takers due to the ridiculous camera policy, they must be getting pressure from above to do it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, 10:48 PM. This isn't come from some "Barney Fife" attitude among the PTLA staff. It's come from above. Way above.

Anonymous said...

No, you are absolutely correct. PTLA is not doing this on a whim. They are getting pressure from above to do this. No question. They are simply executing a flawed policy to the best of their ability.

The policy itself is absurd and needs a court challenge.

Anonymous said...

it will make NM nature photographers be that much more paranoid...but perhaps that will imbue their resulting semi- "rogue" photos with an extra special edge that will be palpable to the viewers of the photos. hmm.

and it is funny that as that new camera restriction was being rolled out, the LANL homepage started their sickly/cutesy "ONLY AT LANL" photography series, featuring stupid things like closeups of pencil-holders at peoples' deks and such. VOM!