Jan 19, 2009

Security science complex named after Domenici


Environment Secretary Samuel Bodman saved one of his last official gestures for former Sen. Pete Domenici, who retired Dec. 31 after 36 years in office.

Bodman, whose tenure will end with the advent of a new administration in Washington on Tuesday, announced a virtual memorial in Domenici’s name.

A group of buildings in the main administrative area of Los Alamos National Laboratory will be known as the “Pete V. Domenici National Security Complex.”

The designation honors “Senator Domenici’s long and distinguished career as a U.S. Senator from New Mexico and is a testament to the vision and leadership of a great public servant,” the DOE’s announcement stated.

“Senator Domenici has been a strong advocate for the important work done across the DOE complex and particularly at Los Alamos National Laboratory,” said Bodman in the press release. “He realized that it was the people at the lab, selflessly serving our country, who made the lab what it is today. I appreciate the support he gave to them, to me and to the nation.”

The honor reflects Domenici’s years of leadership on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriation Subcommittee when he shepherded funding for many projects in the Energy Department and nuclear weapons complex.

The three buildings included in the designation include the National Security Sciences Building, the main administrative office building; the Nicholas C. Metropolis Building for Modeling and Simulation, where what is currently the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Roadrunner, is housed; and the Nonproliferation and International Security Building, where the laboratory’s Threat Reduction Division has its headquarters.

During one of his last “goodbye” visits to Los Alamos in August, Domenici addressed laboratory employees and heard tributes from lab director Michael Anastasio and former directors, Harold Agnew and Robert Kuckuck, along with National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Thomas D’Agostino.

Anastasio took the occasion to announce that the auditorium in the National Security Science Building was to be renamed the Pete V. Domenici Auditorium.

As the closed, all-employees’ meeting was portrayed in the laboratory’s Newsbulletin at the time, Domenici drew a chuckle from employees when he said, “We kind of hit it off,” after listening to the remarks.

Later, he added, “I had so many good times representing you. I think it’s pretty clear you have been a special constituency of mine.”

In all the three building, grouped together at the heart of a new administrative core, total 742,000 square feet and were a start on a larger project of renewing the infrastructure of the 60-year-old laboratory.

The 7-story National Security Science Building, where many of the senior managers work, anchors the north side of the central campus. The NSSB is the newest of the buildings, having opened in 2006 at a cost of $97 million, according to laboratory reports.

The NIST Center opened in early 2003 with 164,000 square feet and cost $63 million.

The Metropolis Center is the largest of the buildings, with 303,000 square feet. It was dedicated in 2002, at a cost of about $93 million.


Anonymous said...

That's it? He works 36 years tirelessly serving the lab, and all he gets is a lousy auditorium and a scattered block of buildings named in his honor?

Given what he's done for LANL, they ought to rename the place to the Domenici National Lab.

Anonymous said...

Just think today we could have had Palin sworn in.

Anonymous said...

Two years from now the younger folkes will be asking who was this Domenici guy?

Anonymous said...

Yep! thats all he gets, or maybe an indictment for the David Iglesia case which is still pending and why he really retired. He seems to be doing much better since he left yhe Senate?

Anonymous said...

You will realize how much of a funding source Domenici was, when the first wave of layoffs hit your mail-box, then when you can't find a suitable alternative.

Now this guy Really knew how to spread the wealth, our tax money going to LANS?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that associates Domenici with the death of science at LANL? Think about how the management strategy of the bosses evolved when money was only for the asking. Who would dare give an honest judgment about the quality of a proposal or work performed? Why bother with forming a legitimate technical argument? Those who remember should describe, for example, the "children" of the neutral particle beam. There was accelerator transmutation of waste (ATW)and the accelerator production of tritium (APT). A high school student could show that these well-funded programs made no sense. Too bad he wasn't allowed to speak.