Jan 14, 2009
A Note from Doug Roberts
Congratulations on the recognition that you are receiving from Trip Jennings of the New Mexico Independent, Frank. You're doing a great job running the blog. As long as there is an operation as poorly managed and as poorly run as LANL, there will be a place for a blog like LTRS [the original LANL, The Real Story].
Given LANS' demonstrated track record of maintaining a "closed door" policy on sharing unhappy information about incidents occurring at LANL, blogs like yours are the only place where the true facts regarding the operations of the lab will initially see the light of day.
I remember quite clearly early one morning in July 27, 2005 when I checked my email and found the email message contained in the LANL, The Real Story link below.
The claim seemed outrageous, even by LANL-UC standards, but after a few hours I was able to verify that the incident had in fact occurred as reported in the email. Subsequent investigations by the press verified not only that the incident had occurred, but that the contamination had spread to a three-state region. As unbelievable as the fact of the incident was, it was even more incredible that LANL management had attempted to keep a lid on the story for 10 days, until it finally broke on the blog.
As long as there are employees of the lab who are outraged by the complacency, and frequently the outright incompetence often demonstrated by the M&O of Los Alamos National Laboratory, stories of their misdoings will leak out and see the light of day on blogs like yours.
I am aware that running a blog like LTRS under one's real name is a bit like living in a fish bowl. In fact, the attached cartoon is often, if oddly, appropriate.
Keep up the good work!
PS: the original LANL, The Real Story has recently moved to its final archival resting place:
LANL, Retired 2005
Thanks for the kind words and for providing the example for me to follow. We've discussed your blog post on the Americium contamination event of July 2005 before, and I read it again today. It's depressing how much worse things have become since then. You were able to confirm the facts in a few hours. In my case I've been trying for over two years, including over a year before I started blogging.
PS I love the cartoon.
For any readers who don't know yet, I became very sick after working on equipment at TA-55/PF-4 that had been contaminated by a spill from a broken pipe. Knowing only what I saw while I was there, I began to research and was able to deduce that the pipe carried high-level radioactive liquid waste. I contacted the lab and reported this in March of 2006. I asked for and was promised an answer to the question, "What spilled out of those pipes?"
No answer was ever given. A FOIA request filed by my congressman was blown off as well. A complaint to the DOE Inspector General's office took over a year to produce a "response" which did not answer the question.
If you haven't seen it, take a look at LA-UR-02-1673 Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility Plant Test Conducted April 2001. It gives very specific information that I believe characterizes the waste in those pipes, including typical and maximum concentrations (as high as 1100 nCi/L) for gross alpha. Also rad composition broken down into gross alpha, gross beta, and tritium. And in Section 6 the data is given for U-234, U-235, U-238, Pu-238, Pu-239, and Am-241.
When I found this document and forwarded it to the Inspector General's office, LANL removed it from their website.
That is why I run the LANL blog. The day I receive an answer to my question is the day I will begin to consider shutting down the blog and moving on.