Mar 26, 2009

Los Alamos' security flaws exposed

An Energy Department investigation into a plutonium mix-up reveals deficiencies that the New Mexico nuclear weapons lab must address, an official says.

By Ralph Vartabedian, LA Times

An Energy Department investigation has alleviated fears that a significant amount of plutonium was missing from a national laboratory, but it has also heightened concerns about flaws in the system for controlling the U.S. stockpile of weapons materials.

The investigation began in February, shortly after a routine inventory at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico found a plutonium shortage estimated at 2.2 pounds, setting off a frantic national effort to determine what happened to the material.

The confidential investigation concluded this week that statisticians at the lab had miscalculated the amount of plutonium at its facility and that none was actually missing.

Although the finding eliminates the worst-case scenario -- that the material left the facility and ended up in rogue hands -- it raises doubts about the lab's management at a time of growing concern about nuclear terrorism.

Brad Peterson, the Energy Department's chief for defense nuclear security, acknowledged in an interview that the closure of the investigation does not clear the laboratory but rather points out deficiencies that must be addressed.

"There are many corrective actions that need to be taken, and we are watching closely," Peterson said. "We are very concerned, obviously."

The inventory miscalculation follows more than a decade of security problems at the bomb design center, including several incidents of lost classified information contained on computers, electronic drives and paper.

The current case seems to parallel an incident in 2004, when the lab thought it had lost computer disks containing bomb design information.

Operations were shut down for six months while officials conducted an intensive search. In the end, an investigation concluded the disks never existed. Not long after, the laboratory director was fired.

"When you are in the nuclear weapons business, you have to keep precise track of every single thing from classified information to nuclear materials," said Philip Coyle, a veteran nuclear weapons expert who served in both the Energy and Defense departments. "You wonder if Los Alamos doesn't have good statisticians and good inventory systems, who would?"

Energy officials, however, defended their system of safeguards, saying their quick investigation demonstrated to other countries the U.S. commitment to tight controls on nuclear materials.

The incident was brought to public attention by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based watchdog group that has long urged improved nuclear weapons security. The group intercepted a scathing letter sent in February by Energy officials to lab director Michael R. Anastasio, saying that the lab had ignored its deficiencies for a long time.

Peter Stockton, an investigator for the watchdog group and a former security expert at the Energy Department, said Los Alamos is overly confident about protecting plutonium.

"The lab has plenty of holes in its highly touted security system," Stockton said.

Such problems are hardly new. In September 2007, Energy Department Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman detailed problems with Los Alamos' inventory system. In some areas, no inventory had been taken for 10 years, he reported.

Dating back to the Cold War, the lab has checked only a small fraction of its uranium and plutonium stockpile and then statistically computed any imbalances.

Coyle, among others, says the current system should be dumped in favor of an actual inventory of every ounce of nuclear material, known as a "wall-to-wall" inventory.

Peterson said the department is moving in that direction. In the future, the Los Alamos lab will have to conduct a 100% inventory every two months of all materials actively being used in fabrication or research.

But such comprehensive checks will not be done in the lab's plutonium and uranium storage vaults because it could expose workers to more than allowable levels of radiation. The vaults are considered the most secure parts of the facility.

Kevin Roark, a lab spokesman, said there was never any possibility that plutonium was stolen, owing to tight physical security measures that he could not discuss.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department's office in New Mexico has suspended an employee, David Lee, on suspicion that he leaked the February letter.

"They are trying to lay the rap on me," Lee said in an interview, though he would neither confirm nor deny the allegation.

Officials at the local Energy office declined to comment.

Tom Devine, an attorney for the Government Accountability Project, which represents whistle-blowers, said that even if Lee had leaked the unclassified letter, the action was protected under U.S. law.

ralph.vartabedian@ latimes.com

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it's the same David Lee who's on the Del Norte Credit Union Board...not suprising.

Time for another standdown.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the "official" reason why this guy was suspended?

Anonymous said...

ID’s are to be taken seriously & the cause corrected immediately even when the result of a math error. Stating that no material got outside or is even unaccounted for will do little good. Continuation of these types of issues can result in a change of contractor’s or in the worst case – shutting all operations down.

That said, there’s no question that congress, regulators, the media & the public will overreact. The public floggings & stonings will ensue –warranted or not.

The Contractor & NNSA will say they need more money to “strengthen” the Security & Safeguards procedures/process – GAO will confirm this need with a report of their “findings” – and Local congressional reps will jump on the band-wagon demanding more $$$ in the name of national security.

Additional funding will flow into an already bloated Safeguards & Security budget – S&S management will insists supervisors get the $$$ spent – staff will start working overtime whenever they feel the need & dual 30” LCD monitors will be purchased for all S&S workstations even though there’s only 1 or 2 high-end graphics workstations in the entire division.

In the end, the Contractor will receive a nice performance fee for having “implemented a significantly improved system/process”.

If S&S gets any bigger we’ll need to cut back on this science & engineering waste.

Cynical & still anonymous.

Anonymous said...

"If S&S gets any bigger we’ll need to cut back on this science & engineering waste." - 9:46 AM

We already have. Its part of the LANS (Bechtel/BWXT) grand plan for the future of Los Alamos National Lab.

Science positions at LANL are largely seen by LANS as costly and difficult to keep funded. The easy route is to ditch the scientists and concentrate on the easy money funding for the more mundane tasks at LANL that NNSA continually fund each year without much question.

It's sad when you see scientists at LANL who can't get a decent hi-end PC on their desk for doing their research work, meanwhile all the best PC equipment seems to always be fully stocked up in the "support" orgs like Quality Assurance, Security, etc. What does that tell you about this so called "science lab"?

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the Lab is no longer able to stand up to this kind of garbage. As usual, it is much ado about nothing. As 9:46 says, the inevitable result of this is that it will increase the overhead and make the lab less effective. In other words, POGO has achieved their goals.

Anonymous said...

The name "David Lee" is a fairly common name. Exactly who is this guy that leaked this memo? Does he work for LANL or NNSA/DOE?

And what about the other recently leaked memos that POGO received?

There's the missing laptop memo that LASO sent to the Director's office and the internal lab email that went to the ISR manager's email group? Are these leaks also being investigated? We will see job suspended over these leaks, too?

Anonymous said...

There is a "David Lee" who is a TSM and a Deputy Project Manager at LANL.

His name shows up on documents for the "Modern Pit Facility Draft Environmental Impact Statement".

Is this the guy who leaked to POGO?

Anonymous said...

Wow how much longer will the Congress and the American people put up with this incompentence? Surley someone needs to step up and put a halt to all of this sheer non-sense going on at LANL. What are we waiting for? Another mishap or saftey or security incident to shut the doors? Come on LANL youve had your chance, its over.

Anonymous said...

OK! Whats the next suprise heading our way? Some how I just don't feel safe with my employment here do you?

Anonymous said...

David Lee is also close to Chuck Montano and Joe Gutierrez. Mr. Montano works as a LANL employee with the State Auditors Office. He's probably flexing his muscle now.

Anonymous said...

From the DOE CallUp Directory:

Lee, David W. (David)
Phone:(505-606-0383) Fax:(505-667-5948) Routing:(LA) E-mail:(dwlee@doeal.gov)

Anonymous said...

Ok, isn't anyone else wondering why the fuck statisticians are doing the book keeping for Plutonium at TA-55 instead of people who go to look and see how much Plutonium is actually sitting on the shelves?

What is this, the "Schroedinger's Cat School of Plutonium Accounting"?

"Uh, it's probably all there, Fred."

"I most likely concur, Ed."

Anonymous said...

I'm retired from LANL and living far from New Mexico. I've read the news reports of corruption and incompetence at the lab but I think that the major problem is being ignored. I think that the lab has nurtured many excellent scientists who have made important contributions. I also, however, believe that almost every large R&D program was, effectively, a scam perpetrated on our country.
Two of the worst were the CO2 laser program which failed to reach the source pulse energy which would not have worked anyway because it had long been determined that the wavelength was more than 10 times too long! The other was called the Neutral Particle Beam (NPB)which was sold to Congress by a secret movie narrated by Charleton Heston, the voice of god in the Ten Commandments.
He demonstrated with cartoons that the NPB would shoot straight, undeflected by magnetic fields, and destroy incoming warheads. Soon after funding came, it was easily demonstrated that the beam was too weak to destroy anything, even a balloon, at the necessary distance. Its next purpose was to discriminate, at large distances, between a decoy and a weapon. LANL built a gigantic machine which didn't give the beam any of the properties that it needed. Not the current, not the energy, not the divergence and not even neutral! This non-functioning beam was the result of the free- spending Development phase even though the Research phase had already found the beam worthless.
The program died the messy death of, I fear, every single other big LANL R&D program but this was, I felt, the worst. Worst, because it had already been proven that a neutral beam with the energy that LANL was trying to achieve would strip itself in space anyway! The failed attempt to make the beam had simply avoided the embarrassment of another sort of failure.
Are there other scientists or ex-scientists out there who would help reveal this history of scientific depravity? I hope to read your descriptions on this blog.

Anonymous said...

"Ok, isn't anyone else wondering why the fuck statisticians are doing the book keeping for Plutonium at TA-55 instead of people who go to look and see how much Plutonium is actually sitting on the shelves?"

Err a ... hang on there moron while I stick my head in this process line & count the number of relevant atoms in here...decay? whata ya mean its decayed...ya mean like in gone... why don't ya put it on a shelf where I can count it?

The OP must be a NNSA employee...we're doomed!

Anonymous said...

7:56 PM

Hey, Dildarina:

The last time I looked, the process of radionuclide decay was well understood, and is not a process that requires Markov chain modeling (a favorite of statisticians) to predict.

My question stands: Why the fuck does LANL have statisticians in the loop for preparing accountings of the actual TA-55 Plutonium inventory?

I'm going to take a wild-ass, off the shelf guess as to the answer here: The geniuses who designed the TA-55 vaults did not take into account the rather unpleasant decay daughter products into account, making it impossible to do an actual physical inventory after sufficient quantities of high-gamma decay products have arrived on the scene.

More quality LANL taxpayer expenditures, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Well, duh 3/26/09 8:16 PM

dispite your "wild-ass, off the shelf guess" it ain't all "actually sitting on the shelves?"

got it?

Anonymous said...

Yes, 8:31.

And I'm happy to report that grasping the concept of "it ain't all on the shelf" did not require much effort.

Yet, I notice the need for having statisticians produce (an estimate) of the actual inventory of Pu at TA-55, as compared to conducting a more accurate physical inventory of the commodity is missing from your highly technical explanation.

I am forced to conclude that you don't have a clue as to the nature of LANL's broken TA-55 SNM inventory procedures.

Now that the fact of TA-55's woefully inadequate capability to accurately account for the inventory of Pu at this facility is again national news, perhaps change will be forced.

Damn! LANS is doing a heckuva job running the place! *Much* better than UC ever did.

Don't you think?

Speak, Kevin! Speak!

Good dog!

Anonymous said...

At least my benefits were preserved!

Anonymous said...

Now let's talk about day care.

Anonymous said...

anyone wanna buy some hot gold?

Anonymous said...

To 8:16 pm.

The reason statisticians are involved is because there is error associated with measurements. Come year-end inventory time, everything has to be in a "measured state." Measured state can be NDA, cal iso or even a balance measurement.

Discrepancies can occur(e.g. Pu in does not equal Pu out) when there are a lot of processing steps (recycle, splits, combines, even physical transformations: oxide to aqueous, metal to oxide etc.)

The stats are called in to look at all measurements, with associated uncertainties, to ensure they are in agreement with the parent lot (again, feed out equals feed in within error).

and yes, they take decay products into account.

p.s. Not everything sits in the vault!

Anonymous said...

We have a winner!

Thank you, 9:12 for a concise, cogent response.

Now, care to shed light on how the recent reporting error occurred which had the effect of again focusing the press's laser beams on LANL?

Anonymous said...

post the gold comment it will be relevant!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

i hear the fbi is in town

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll bite. Hot gold?

Anonymous said...

hot hmmm stolen? or crapped up?

Anonymous said...

or both!!!

Anonymous said...

YAAWNN! Another security non-incident at LANL. We're now supposed to argue about methods of accounting for process loss and decay loss in a Pu processing facility?? Geez. I'm surprised POGO doesn't get tired of this and go home. LANL security is about as tight as it can get and allow any work to get done (maybe tighter than that). Ask any scientist who is trying to do actual work. The only security breach that meant anything at LANL since WWII was Wen Ho Lee, and the government let him off. Imagine that. Where was POGO then?

Anonymous said...

LENR (low-energy nuclear reactions), aka "Cold Fusion" is back on the scientific scene again: It´s Still Alive, but too simple for LANL, LLNL, SNL, and the NWC in large, and (analytical) chemists ahead of (nuclear) physicists to achieve nuclear fusion. Too boring and disturbing.

Some links of interest:

* ACS Live 2009, http://www.usstream.tv/ACS_Live/Videos (main)

* http://www.usstream.tv/recorded/1289320 (part 1)

* http://www.usstream.tv/recorded/1289427 (part 2)

* http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-03/acs-fr031709.php

* http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/mar09/8407

* http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/03/navy-scientists.html

* http://www.newenergytimes.com/Library/2006BossP-Pd-D-NDIA-Presentation.pdf

PS: Analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss of SPAWAR, San Diego, CA: "People have always asked ´Where´s the neutrons?´" Mosier-Boss says. "If you have fusion going on, then you have to have neutrons. We now have evidence that there are neutrons present in these LENR reactions."

(http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-03/acs-fr031709.php)

Anonymous said...

There are three "David Lee" names in the LANL phonebook, but it looks like 5:28 PM fingered the correct one.

David W. Lee is listed as being with LASO-DO with a mailing address of dwlee@doeal.gov, so he's a DOE employee working out of the DOE's ABQ office but probably assigned to the NNSA LASO office.

Looks like we've got your typical vindictive DOE employee who is out to stick it to the lab in any way that he can. It's an all too common example of the relationship that DOE/NNSA employees have with their contractors. I'm glad to hear that at least DOE HQ decided to suspend the guy. Now let's see if they fire him.

Anonymous said...

What are we waiting for?

A spell-checker.

incompentence
Surley
saftey
youve

Which grammar school did you say you attended? One with low API scores?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3/26/09 6:30 PM has made some unsupported claims about the LANL NPB program.

The reason that the LANL NPB demonstrator did not achieve the needed beam energy or neutral beam was that the project was cancelled before the entire linear
accelerator was completed. The reason for cancellation was that the Russians threw in the towel on the cold war.

Anonymous said...

OK! Fine, but how does this affect my bonus?

MIKEY

Anonymous said...

Say, if Mikey gets fired over this, do I get the job?

TERRY.

Anonymous said...

"3/26/09 10:08 PM"

Crackpot

Eric said...

Neutral particle beam

As a blog reader who does not know the details of this project, I would appreciate details not sound bites.

Both comments seem to contain part of the truth but not the whole thing.

Thanks,

Anonymous said...

Eric at 3/27/09 9:47 AM said

"As a blog reader who does not know the details of this project, I would appreciate details not sound bites."

Sorry Eric, but if we tell you any more, we will have to kill you.

Anonymous said...

funny how every security non-incident at LANL is blown up into a national to do while worse infractions at NNSA, FBI, CIA, etc aren't even looked at. The Nanos stand down was totally political since everyone knew the missing disks never existed about a week after the story broke. Yet the stand down droned on for 6 months and no one addrssed the fact that the disks never existed.

Why is it that only LANL seems to be held to ridiculous standards and tabloid headlines even when there is no story?

LANL needs to get out from under the moronic NNSA administration and moce to DoD.

What are Udall and Bingaman doing? I haven't heard boo about them since the elections.....

Anonymous said...

Hey, however you think LANL is dooming, actually LANL starts large scale hiring. So instead, LANL is booming again!
See below:
Places with Stimulus Related Jobs: Los Alamos National Laboratory
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1587290/places_with_stimulus_related_jobs_los.html?cat=31

Frank Young said...

3/27/09 1:16 PM,
Here's what Senator Bingaman had to say three days ago in a letter to the editor of the New York Times:

Our Nuclear Arsenal
Published: March 24, 2009

To the Editor:
“A Nuclear Waste,” by Stephanie Cooke (Op-Ed, March 18), suggests that we transfer control of nuclear weapons technology development to the Defense Department. That would overturn one of the most fundamental decisions made about nuclear weapons after World War II: that their destructive potential set them apart from conventional munitions.

Our principle of nonmilitary control of the nuclear arsenal has been emulated by other major nuclear weapons states, like Russia and China, neither of which vests control of its nuclear weapons development complex in its military.

Nonmilitary control of our nuclear arsenal has allowed our country to gain the trust of other nuclear nations. This was particularly useful when the Soviet Union disintegrated. Civilian employees of the Energy Department were the first to enter the “closed” nuclear cities to secure nuclear materials.

Our national security is still well served by a trusted and independent, science-based capability that can speak authoritatively about the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons.

I am confident that under the capable leadership of Secretary Steven Chu, the Energy Department can both advance our nation’s energy priorities and continue to manage our nuclear arsenal.

Jeff Bingaman
Washington, March 19, 2009

The writer is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Anonymous said...

1. "Nonmilitary control of our nuclear arsenal" will not end with a transfer to DOD.

2. Military personnel retrieved tons of material from the FSU. I served with a few of them.

3. Bingaman is just saying what he thinks people want to hear.

Anonymous said...

3/27/09 1:30 PM

I am impressed. In a 10,000+ employee institution I see 73 jobs posted. Speaking of research, among these 73 jobs an overwhelming number of 9 are for scientists and 9 more are for R&D Engineers. These 18 jobs will certainly make a deep impact and will lead the US into a bright and innovative future.

(I know, I am sarcastic)

Anonymous said...

Why do we need those scientists and engineers? They are arrogant and are paid too much. They often object to following stupid rules.

Mikey.

Anonymous said...

3/27/09 4:19 PM

I completely agree with you!!!

Signed:
The President of the United States of America

Anonymous said...

These 18 jobs will certainly make a deep impact and will lead the US into a bright and innovative future. 3/27/09 3:43 PM

I don't know - 18 sure seems like a lot. Can you recruit them from a Jr. Colege program?

Anonymous said...

3/27/09 5:35 PM "don't know - 18 sure seems like a lot. Can you recruit them from a Jr. Colege program?"

Better yet, one of the 18 "exhaustive" searches was posted by MPA-MC. Only took them a whole week to find the best person for the job (aka The Friends and Family Plan). To contrast, it took over a year to find a competent DL for MPA (horrors, a woman!). Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

5:35 pm: "Can you recruit them from a Jr. Colege program?"

Nope, sorry. Our recruitment program requires that you be able to spell "college."

Anonymous said...

Frank, Global Security Newswire has a lengthy article (U.S. Agency Readies Controversial Shift of Nuclear Component Work, Friday, March 27, 2009, by Elaine M. Grossman) of the shift of the tritium gas transfer systems from LANL and SNL (ABQ, NM) to a single site, SNL (Livermore, CA).

(http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090327_7575.php)

PS: Three bad decisions by NNSA: (1) Bechtel´s M&O contract of LANL, (2) RRW-1 design competition that LLNL won, despite the fact that LANL did win the technical competition over LLNL, and (3) the proposed action to move the tritium gas transfer systems out of LANL and SNL (ABQ, NM) to SNL (Livermore, CA), when it´s not necessary.

Anonymous said...

(aka The Friends and Family Plan)3/27/09 7:21 PM

Aah yes, I know it by its other name - "In Breeding"

Anonymous said...

On, no!!! Not Congressman Barton again! Will this stuff never end?

www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/
ap/tx/6346691.html

===================
Barton wants answers from NNSA about lab computers - AP News, Mar 27

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The ranking members of two congressional committees sent a letter Friday to the National Nuclear Security Administration, demanding answers about the theft of three computers from the home a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee.

U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Greg Walden, R-Ore., ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said the incident at Los Alamos raises questions about whether the northern New Mexico nuclear weapons lab has fixed gaps in its cyber security monitoring and oversight procedures.

...Officials had said in February that no classified information was compromised, and NNSA spokesman Damien LaVera reiterated that Friday.

He said the agency has received the letter and is looking forward to working with the congressmen to get them the information they are seeking.

Barton and Walden's letter, addressed to NNSA head Thomas D'Agostino, asks for details about whether lost property protocols were followed by lab management, what measures have been taken to correct deficiencies and how many people are dedicated to monitoring cyber security at the lab.

They also want to know why a lab employee would have three government computers at his home and how many employees have more than one government computer at home.

Barton and Walden said they want the information within one month.

Anonymous said...

They also want to know why a lab employee would have three government computers at his home and how many employees have more than one government computer at home.

As a taxpayer, I would like to know how may of Barton's staffers have government computers in their home, and how many have more than one.

I'll bet the answers are: more than one, and more than one.

I would love to see Congress (or even DOE!) live with the security protocols Los Alamos (and no one else) is forced to.

It would shut Congress down...which would probably be the best thing that could happen for the country.

The solutions Congress comes up with, like NNSA, are much worse than the problems they come up with.

Anonymous said...

"Nope, sorry. Our recruitment program requires that you be able to spell "college."

3/27/09 8:10 PM"

Ha, ha you are funny. You know this is not true.

Anonymous said...

6:30 had it exactly right about the NPB. I worked on it. The simple proof of the comment can be applied to many big research programs.Was anything accomplished, did anyone write a descriptive article that passed peer review? NPB was a waste and was shut down long before the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was completely unable to provde a return signal even if the promised beam conditios were reached. I am anonymous because I am shamed by participation in the NPB program, among others.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3/28/09 10:40 AM is wrong about NPB. A lot of papers were published, many in refereed journals and many in classified journals.

As far as "not getting a return signal," that test was not run as the ground-based demonstrator project was cancelled before it was built to the specified energy.

A low power, low energy demonstration of a neutral particle beam in space (the BEAR Project) was successful in that the neutral beam did hit a target.

Anonymous said...

The NPB concept was outdone by the LLNL concept of Brilliant Pebbles (lots of small "attack" satellites that smash into satellite targets to destroy them).

LLNL's Brilliant Pebbles was: (1) cheaper, (2) more likely to work, and (3) brilliant!

NPB was yet another example of LANL over-reach into solutions that don't pass the "Ha-Ha" test.

Anonymous said...

Take another look at the "Bear"! It was a purchased, commercial electron accelerator that was turned on in space and ............. did absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3/28/09 3:55 PM said:

"Take another look at the "Bear"! It was a purchased, commercial electron accelerator that was turned on in space and ............. did absolutely nothing."

I don't know what "Bear" this guy is speaking of.

BEAR (Beam Experiment Abord at Rocket) was a 1MeV H- accelerator built by LANL with industrial partners. This was anything but a commercial accelerator. The accelerator and RF systems were new technology because it was necessary to minimize the launch weight.

The reason that it was H- is so that one electron could be stripped to leave a neutral Ho beam that would not be deflected by the earth's magnetic field.

Anonymous said...

3/26/09 6:30 PM, you trot these stories out at least once a month to prove how incompetent LANL is. I finally took a second to google "neutral particle beam" on the LANL website. It showed up in a bio on Dick Burick, about three layers deep in the "and before that, he worked on..." section. For crying out loud, the US was still doing underground testing in those days.

Go back to your shuffleboard game, old man. You don't know dick about today's LANL.

Anonymous said...

7:02 pmL "Go back to your shuffleboard game, old man. You don't know dick about today's LANL."

"Today's LANL" is full of arrogant, yet poignantly ignorant, young assholes. Which is why LANL has the problems it has today. That's right, the past means nothing, is unimportant and irrelevant. OK then. Your future awaits you. Glad I won't be part of it. I'll be enjoying my very comfortable, even lucrative, UC retirement, treasuring my memories of the LANL that once was, while you run it into the ground and struggle to keep your worthless LANS 401k. Good luck. Hint: read some LANL history. The Archivist can help.

Anonymous said...

"The confidential investigation concluded this week that statisticians at the lab had miscalculated the amount of plutonium at its facility and that none was actually missing."

According to Kevin Roark, there was never any possibility that any plutonium was missing when the ID was 2.2 pounds. Now that the confidential investigation has concluded that "none was actually missing" - what is the ID? The article doesn't say. Maybe it remains 2.2 pounds....

Anonymous said...

"Today's LANL" is full of arrogant, yet poignantly ignorant, young assholes.

There are a lot of old assholes still around. I should know. I'm one of them. (LANL since 1980) If the jerkoff at 8:23 were really a LANL retiree who had any knowledge about history, s/he would know that people have bitching about how much better the the good old days were since about 1946.

Anonymous said...

3/28/09 8:23 PM

And Santa Fe is full of bitter but poignantly sad so called "retired" ex-LANL people who were beyond incompetent. They blame everyone else but themselves.

Anonymous said...

Learn from the past? That's hilarious, 8:23 pm.

I've got half of Santa Fe crawling up my ass every time I try to do research, because your generation thought it would be a good idea to dump all of your rad waste into a canyon that's part of the Rio Grande watershed. Thanks for that.

I work in a decaying 1950's vintage building, filled with asbestos and legacy contaminants, because your generation never bothered to plan for a replacement. You just assumed the gravy train would continue to throw money at LANL forever. Thanks for that, too.

And you bet I chose the 401(k) option at the LANS transition! Even though - or rather because - I had over 10 years already vested in UC's pension. A far better choice in the long run than trusting my future to a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by a fly-by-night consortium. Yep, I didn't need Bernie Madoff to teach me that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

My generation? Arrogant, maybe.

But definitely not so dumb.

Anonymous said...

My generation? Arrogant, maybe.

But definitely not so dumb.

3/29/09 11:46 AM


I guess that makes you a "smart" ass, 11:46 AM.

Anonymous said...

3/29 11:26 am: "I've got half of Santa Fe crawling up my ass every time I try to do research, because your generation thought it would be a good idea to dump all of your rad waste into a canyon.

"I work in a decaying 1950's vintage building, filled with asbestos and legacy contaminants, because your generation never bothered to plan for a replacement."

3/28 8:23 pm here. Your response is so arrogant, and yet so ignorant (note I didn't say "dumb"), that it proves my point. First, The "dumping" in Acid Canyon was done according to all known regulations and health precautions at the time (remember it was a time of war when our country's survival was far from certain). Also, The "plan" for replacing your building was nonexistent since LASL's future was assumed to be nonexistent. So, in your ignorance of history you sling blame around instead of facing your purposely chosen train wreck of choosing to work for a travesty like LANS. If you are so unhappy with your work environmemt, why not just work somewhere else? Unless you have been similarly unfortunate with your choice of profession that you cannot move?

BTW, you have my "generation" wrong. I arrived at LASL straight out of graduate schoool in 1977.

Anonymous said...

Being an old fart myself, I actually find it rather refreshing that there apparently is a new genertation of "arrogant young assholes" at LANL. That means there is hope. Not everyone is going to kowtow to the NNSA or the management.

Anonymous said...

12:04 pm: "Being an old fart myself, I actually find it rather refreshing that there apparently is a new genertation of "arrogant young assholes" at LANL. That means there is hope. Not everyone is going to kowtow to the NNSA or the management.>

As another "old fart" I'd agree, except that these "arrogant young assholes" are also incredibly naive and ignorant of the history of the institution they are populating, as well as of the history of the programs they are attempting to carry out. What a waste. They will spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and their careers before they discover the truth that their predecessors discovered, and then they will feel betrayed - but the betrayal is of themselves, for not taking the time to understand what their predecessors clearly understood, but which the "new crop" discounts as worthless and/or irrelevant. You can stand by and watch a car go over a cliff, but you can't stop it, even if you know where the brakes are.

I feel enormously glad and relieved for my family that I was able to take advantage of the incredibly good UC pension before I left LANL (after a year of holding my nose against LANS). I feel sorry for those still stuck there. The posters on this blog are a hopeless lot.

Anonymous said...

3/30/09 11:51 PM

WTF are you talking about? I think this is a 12 yr kid in a basement.

Anonymous said...

In other words, 11:51 is some old codger who thinks we should all drop to our knees and blow him while listening to all the useless shit he did in his meaningless career.

Anonymous said...

9:24 pm: Your career will be meaningless to the people who follow you. They'll start expressing it before you go. Get used to it. Actually, it's probably meaningless today. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Apparently I hit a nerve with the old asshole. One problem with his theory- I do what I do because I enjoy it. I don't give a shit what anyone else thinks about my work. If people forget about me as soon as I'm gone (or before), that's just fine.

Anonymous said...

4/2 11:04 pm: "If people forget about me as soon as I'm gone (or before), that's just fine."

You will feel differently later. My advice: be gone before you are gone. Get a future life plan before you leave that you can live with without the daily stuff (both positive and negative) that you had before. If you are invested in your work as a definition of yourself, you will die.