Mar 16, 2008

DARHT gets kudos from headquarters

By ROGER SNODGRASS, Los Alamos Monitor Editor

During a recent trip to Los Alamos National Laboratory, a senior official of the National Nuclear Security Administration made a special point of visiting the hydrotest facility.

Steve Goodrum, assistant deputy administrator, science engineering and production, said that after his trip was scheduled, word came in that the second axis of the lab’s Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility (DARHT) had met and exceeded its requirements for beginning operations.

“When the e-mails and calls started coming in about DARHT’s success,” he told employees at the facility Wednesday, “the news permeated the (DOE headquarters) Forrestal Building.”

So Goodrum asked to make this special side trip. He passed along congratulations and formal certificates of appreciation to members of the team and took a tour of the newly proven second axis.

Accompanying Goodrum were LANL Director Michael Anastasio and Charles McMillan, associate director for weapons physics. The delegation from Washington also included NNSA science campaign manager Chris Deaney.

Ray Scarpetti, the DARHT second-axis project manager, conducted a tour of the accelerated hall and the complex electron beam that produces the x-rays which is expected, beginning in a few more months, to give multiple high-resolution images from inside exploding mock nuclear weapons.

The capability is considered essential for verifying the reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile without testing actual weapons.

The second axis was thought to be complete in 2003, as JASON, the prestigious national security consulting team, pointed out in their project review in 2006. Scarpetti said JASON found the approach to be solid, but still saw the project as risky.

“There are uncertainties in the ability of a target to generate more than two satisfactory radiation pulses,” JASON wrote.

But they also recognized, “There are well-structured development programs aimed at curing both of these problems.”

As the recent results demonstrated, the problems have been cured. “I expected the results to be good,” said Scarpetti, “but they’re really good.

The second axis was expected to meet or exceed several criteria, including a certain voltage and a certain electrical current, as a prerequisite for breaking a powerful beam into four separate pulses.

The pulses enable the camera that shoots at 400 billionths of a second to capture an image and then download the data during the interval.

Another requirement had to do with the spot size, which relates to the sharpness of the image that the camera can capture.

The first axis of the facility was considered a benchmark, able to produce a 2.3 mm spot.

In its groundbreaking performance, the second axis came in at 1.6 mm, a substantial improvement.

A final criterion had to do with dose, the measure of the radiation of the x-ray intensity, and therefore how well the dense materials under investigation could be penetrated.

Trying to achieve a dose of 100 rad at 1 m., in the first 3 pulses and 300 in the final pulse, the team achieved 170, 185, and 170 rad on the first three pulses and 445 rad on the final test.

Again the goals were exceeded by more than 50 percent.

“We made it look easy,” Scarpetti said who attributed this and other achievements to teamwork and a practice of bringing in leading experts from around the country.
Scarpetti gave special credit to Subrata Nath, his deputy.

“I had on staff or as consultants the best team that could be assembled throughout the country,” he said. “Through the roughest times I never lost faith that we could get there.”


Anonymous said...

What a bunch of lies.

DAHRT was way over budget and
very late. Five years ago they
declared success but then found
that they didn't know how to
measure the gradient. However, by that time, all of the managers had been promoted.

DOE likes to advertise false successes.

Anonymous said...

DAHRT cannot afford to fail at this point in time. Therefore, it will be declared a great success by definition.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone (in the know) really belive all of this "buul-s*it)/ Come on, the spin is gone, even Kevin R, can't put a positive spin on anything at LANS. Thats why Mikey has invested in a vey high priced P-R firm form New York to try to sell the failed Lab to anyone who mat still listen....Hey guy's it's a little too late to sell the crap, we all know what's going on up and it ain't good.

Anonymous said...

NIF cannot afford to fail at this point in time. Therefore, it will be declared a great success by definition.

Anonymous said...

Written by John Fleck
Wednesday, 12 March 2008

I went back to the NNSA's "complex transformation" hearings yesterday evening after filing the story that ran in this morning's paper. A lot more interesting bits came up, including the revelation from the Los Alamos Study Group's Greg Mello that the lab has retained Burson-Marsteller to help provide PR advice. (Lab folks confirmed this.)

As I noted in my story, the lab's out-front PR push is extraordinary. I was busy writing my story, so I didn't get a chance to listen to my old buddy Joe Martz on KKOB, but the very notion of a lab guy making the talk show rounds is unprecedented in my memory. This didn't make it into my story, but Los Alamos directory Michael Anastasio testified at last night's hearing.

Anonymous said...

Martz means well, but he is also a bit of a publicity hound. So it is a perfect match in this exercise.

Anonymous said...

Can an expensive New York PR firm help stop the decline of LANL? I strongly doubt it. The dry rot comes from above (NNSA and LANS leadership). Rot can only be hidden from the light of day for a short time. This PR firm can only paint a thin coat of varnish over the rot.

Anonymous said...

If you remember, Headquarters thought Nanos' four month shut down (which costs $377 million) was also a really great idea. So much for great ideas.

Anonymous said...

DAHRT, SNS, and NIF will all be declared to be successful, many times if necessary!

Anonymous said...

I guess that hiring a PR firm is not
all that bad. We have been suffering from a lot of very bad reporting in the driveby media for many years.

Now, can we fire a firm to fix our incompetent management?

Anonymous said...

DAHRT-spin and bullshit is what the DOE knows best. Forgive them, for deceipt is in their blood.

Anonymous said...

"I guess that hiring a PR firm is notall that bad. We have been suffering from a lot of very bad reporting in the driveby media for many years."

Yea that's the ticket. We're victims of our own stupidity...nothing a little PR spin can't take care of. Heaven forbid we should accept any responsibility.

Anonymous said...

The wikipedia entry for Burson-Marsteller is not very flattering. How long before Los Alamos National Laboratory gets added to that list of clients?


Established in 1953, Burson-Marsteller has its roots in a one-employee business started by Harold Burson in 1946. Operating as Harold Burson Public Relations in office space provided by one of his two clients, he marketed himself as a business-to-business specialist based on his pre-military three-year association with a large engineer-builder (which became his first client). By 1952, his firm had a dozen clients and five employees, including Elias (Buck) Buchwald, who retired 50 years later after serving as Burson-Marsteller's No. 2 executive for much of that time.

Notable Clients

[edit] Nigeria

B-M worked for both the Nigerian Government and Royal Dutch/Shell during and after the Biafran war. Reports of instability and genocide at the time had hurt Nigeria’s international image, they hired B-M to discredit these reports[citation needed]. The relationship continued long after the Biafran war. From 1991-2 the Nigerian military junta paid B-M’s lobbying subsidiary, Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly (acquired in 1991) over $1m in fees[citation needed].

[edit] Indonesia

After the invasion of East Timor around 200,000 people, one third of the population were murdered, the Indonesian government has also been accused of genocidal policies against the peoples of Irian Jaya, amongst many other human rights abuses. In 1996, BM was hired by the Indonesian government to clean up its image[citation needed]. B-M does however deny handling the issue of genocide in East Timor.

[edit] Argentina

BM worked for the Argentinian military junta led by General Jorge Videla, which seized power in a coup d'├ętat in 1976. B-M’s job was to improve the country's international image and create the impression of stability to attract foreign investment. During Videla's reign, 35,000 people 'disappeared' and thousands of political prisoners were tortured. Videla is now serving a life sentence for murder. Harold Burson commented that, "We regard ourselves as working in the business sector for clear-cut business and economic objectives. So we had nothing to do with a lot of the things that one reads in the paper about Argentina as regards human rights and other activities."[citation needed]

[edit] Saudi Arabia, et al.

B-M has worked for a host of regimes with appalling human rights records including the notoriously repressive and corrupt government of Saudi Arabia, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, and the governments of Sri Lanka and Singapore[citation needed]. Three days after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, in which 13 of the 16 alleged suicide bombers were Saudis, Saudi Arabia again hired B-M to ensure that its national image remains untarnished[citation needed].

[edit] Blackwater

In 2007, reacting to claims that they killed several Iraqi civilians without cause, the US based private security firm Blackwater hired Burson-Marsteller subsidiary BKSH to scrub their tarnished image.[citation needed]

[edit] Countrywide

In September 2007 the firm was retained by struggling mortgage lender Countrywide Financial to promote a public relation effort entitled "Protect Our House" aimed at addressing the firm's image following its downsizing and increased rate of foreclosures.[citation needed]

Anonymous said...

"Can an expensive New York PR firm help stop the decline of LANL?"

Who is footing the bill here? Our overhead again or is it finally coming out of the sacred fee?

Anonymous said...

you can put lip-stick on a pig...and you all know the rest...

Anonymous said...

6:30 pm: Cut the Wikipedia crap. It's all garbage, as noted by the "citation needed" after almost every entry. I won't bother to look up who made those entries, but if they didn't have citations to note, it's no better than lying.

Anonymous said...

If you doubt the information you could just google it yourself. Is the NY Times good enough for you?

Blackwater Mounts a Defense With Top Talent

Published: November 1, 2007

Correction Appended

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 — Blackwater Worldwide, its reputation in tatters and its lucrative government contracts in jeopardy, is mounting an aggressive legal, political and public relations counterstrike.

It has hired a bipartisan stable of big-name Washington lawyers, lobbyists and press advisers, including the public relations powerhouse Burson-Marsteller, which was brought in briefly, but at a critical moment, to help Blackwater’s chairman, Erik D. Prince, prepare for his first Congressional hearing. [...]

Anonymous said...

"Who is footing the bill here? Our overhead again or is it finally coming out of the sacred fee?" - 7:12 PM

Do you even need to ask?

Anonymous said...

No positive comment on LANL or DAHRT. No positive comment or tone whatsoever. This blog is populated by LANL-haters. Given that some significant percentage are LANL employees, the reasons for LANL's troubles are patently obvious. If your employees hate working for you, what is their reason for staying? No answer to that question is healthy, either for the employee or for the employer. Only two recourses exist: fire almost everyone and start over with employees that want to work there (my recomendation to LANS and DOE), or, get rid of the management (not possible in any real world). NNSA? Your decision, and it appears it must be made rather quickly.

Anonymous said...

DAHRT met some milestones. That's great. Tell me again when we can see if it produces useful data?

Pinky and The Brain said...

Almost everyone is spelling it DAHRT. Has it changed from DARHT?

Anonymous said...

There are local PR Firms. Did they get to compete?

Anonymous said...

Pinky: I suppose DARHT is correct, since "Radiographic" might rightfully come before "Hydrodynamic" when modifying "Dual Axis," since the radiography, not the dynamics, is "dual axis," but who cares and why would it matter to the bloggers here? Might as well complain that the acronym is incomplete without the following word "facility" since the "T" stands for "Test" and thus the acronym referring to the facility is not meaningful without the "facility" part. In any case, referring to it correctly won't change the fact that no one on this blog either understands its utility or agrees that it is useful or needed to certify the stockpile. Sad commentary on the willingness of the public (or even the average employee) to get an understanding of what is necessary in the absence of nuclear testing.

LANL terminology since the EIS many years ago is "DARHT."

Pinky and The Brain said...

The top post usually gets unrelated comments. Now that this isn't the top post discussion of the DARHT facility might resume.

And thanks for setting us straight on the spelling!

Anonymous said...

LANL gets some favorable recognition of DARHT. I applaud it. It was a difficult challenge. The thing works. Great.

In response to this, we get around 20 lab haters spewing venom. Then one smart ass who claims that since lab employees post on the blog, a good fraction of the lab haters must be lab employees, therefore, how can you expect anything good to come from employees who hate their job so much? Nice logic. That's another high school dropout speaking, or else he thinks the rest of us are.

Well, the lab haters have overrun this blog, or at least this thread. I still think Pinky ought to do something to curb these vicious people. It is one thing if you get a few morons sprinkled in with otherwise civil discourse, but to have the blog overrun by morons is not serving any useful purpose. Free speech is worthless if an honest person cannot make himself heard.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is D A R H T. But note that the Fellows' paper misspelled it, too.

Pinky and The Brain said...

I found that fellows paper while searching for the correct spelling.

Anonymous said...

"Free speech is worthless if an honest person cannot make himself heard." - 3/17/08 12:20 AM

People with views like this really give me the creeps! Free speech is never worthless.

Anonymous said...

I know lets take a poll, how many folkes who work at the lab, support the new management?hehe...

Anonymous said...

From a science blog (one that discusses science, instead of bashing scientists, amazingly enough):

If You Watch FIVE HOURS of Cable News, Expect to Find ONE MINUTE of Coverage Devoted to Either Science or the Environment

Category: Enviro/Science Reporting • Issue Attention Cycles
Posted on: March 17, 2008 9:37 AM, by Matthew C. Nisbet

Pew has released its annual "State of the Media" report with detailed summaries of their content analysis on each sector of the news media. I will be blogging about this report over the next couple of weeks, but for now, consider one of the more interesting findings from the analysis of cable news coverage, a finding that underscores the problem of choice for news audiences I have detailed on this blog before. Based on their analysis of the combined year long content at the cable news outlets, Pew concludes:

Collectively, the broad range of domestic issues including the environment, education, transportation, development, religion, domestic terrorism, health care, race -- everything but immigration -- made up 13% of the time on cable (compared with 26% on network evening news). The three topics of celebrity, crime and disasters, in contrast, accounted for 24% of cable's time.

To put that into perspective, if one were to have watched five hours of cable news, one would have seen about:

* 35 minutes about campaigns and elections
* 36 minutes about the debate over U.S. foreign policy
* 26 minutes or more of crime
* 12 minutes of accidents and disasters
* 10 minutes of celebrity and entertainment

On the other hand, one would have seen:

* 1 minute and 25 seconds about the environment
* 1 minute and 22 seconds about education
* 1 minute about science and technology
* 3 minutes and 34 seconds about the economy
* 3 minutes and 46 seconds about health and health care


Anonymous said...

So when will the full-axis version be built?

Anonymous said...

What do you mean, "full axis"? It has two axes right now. You can even see a nice picture of it on google maps Here.

Anonymous said...

I think some wag meant "FAHRT"

Pinky and The Brain said...

My best guesses at what 7:55 was asking:

Is there going to be a next generation DARHT built? When and where?

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, NNSA said they are planning for the next "DARHT" to be build at NTS and be running by around 2020. That gives the current DARHT about 12 years of operation before it is decommissioned.

Anonymous said...

FAHRT. Cute. *pfffft*

Anonymous said...

" 'Free speech is worthless if an honest person cannot make himself heard.' - 3/17/08 12:20 AM

People with views like this really give me the creeps! Free speech is never worthless." (3/17/08 11:34 AM)

You have missed some subtle aspects of the language, and you have quoted me out of context. As our friend Greg would say, you have "decontextualized" me. LOL.

Freedom of speech is a goal to be cherished, but it does not always exist. Some speech, such as slander, libel, and hate speech, is not granted freedom. A large fraction of what I read here falls into that category, only there is no penalty because the poster is anonymous.

"Free" means that one is free to speak. You have no doubt seen a situation where a speaker was jeered off the stage. According to my previous paragraphs, that is what I was referring to. This thread, and to some extent the entire blog, has become a cacophony of Lab hate. People who have something favorable to say about DARHT or who have some interesting technical points are either unwilling to come forth or are getting jeered off the stage.

Of course, I did make myself heard, but only by sticking my neck out and being subject to insults, which you have so kindly provided as an example. I think many honest, hard working lab employees are turned off by this hostile environment, so they do not bother to post. In this sense, their supposed freedom is worthless.

That is what I meant in context. I think it was obvious, but perhaps I should have phrased it, "Free speech is worthless if an honest person cannot make himself heard without being lynched."

Pinky and The Brain said...

For the record, no one has been lynched in the making of this blog.

Furthermore, any discussion of tar and feathers was completely hypothetical.