May 7, 2009

All-Employee Director’s talk

I am scheduling an All-Employee Director’s talk on May 7, 2:00 p.m., in which I plan to share my insights on the FY10 budget, my thoughts on the Perry Commission report, and a progress report on the 90-day improvement initiatives that I announced in January to make our work here at the Lab more efficient. Please join me at the NSSB auditorium for the meeting, and please bring your questions, as I will reserve plenty of time for Q&A following my remarks.
-Mike

I asked a question three years ago and I still have not received a reply. What spilled out of those pipes in the plutonium facility, Mike? Don't you have a CSE up to speed yet who can answer that question?
-Frank

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

If labnet doesn't mysteriously fail during the Q&A could somebody please post the highlights.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone could ask him about this issue, which just popped up as a comment on the "Anastasio gives upbeat update" post:

"Just a thought, but wouldn't it be, well, disruptive if it were learned that a LANL staff member was in isolation at LAMC after having been diagnosed with swine flu?

Can you imagine the cost of quarantining LANL? Can you imagine all the questions which would arise about why the incident was kept secret?"

Anonymous said...

Mikey will give the standard talk -- we can't be sure about the future but things look OK for now.

However, I would pay very close attention to any comments he might offer in regards to "workforce restructuring". Does he think we have too many scientists on board at LANL? Do we need more or less in terms of support staff? Does he foresee changes in the labs current make-up of job positions? Does he realize that many good scientists have been fleeing LANL over the last two years? What are his plans, if any, to help grow the non-weapons work at LANL? I doubt he'll have acceptable answers for any questions like these, though.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody ask about childcare?

Anonymous said...

You don't need a retarded CSE to answer that question. Anyone who works at 55 with processing knowledge knows what runs through the pipes in the basement (low level liquid waste being disposed to TA-50).

Anonymous said...

It was uninspiring. There was very little information gleaned, except that the director said things must be good, look at all the good work, yaba, yaba. It was sad to hear our director reduced to being a puppet head there. No overhead slides, no call in #, no budget numbers except to say construction was out, an apology to the front row manager for CMRR. Mike said he had hoped for this outcome, which was a flat budget (zero increase) if you ignored the reductions in construction projects. Very few Q&A, the auditorium was maybe 1/2 full. Wow, this was it?

Anonymous said...

Frank, LANS doesn't have CSE's, thay have BS-ease and therein you'll find the answer to your question.

Anonymous said...

Note the statement:
"Very few Q&A, the auditorium was maybe 1/2 full."
from Anonymous at 5/7/09 10:40 PM.

I guess that most have given up!

Anonymous said...

MA said almost nothing. He must have forgot to mention that Obama specifically axed the LANSCE upgrade. That the NNSA budget reduces the number of employees by 1500 from FY08 to FY10 and that the same budget drops the LANL budget by 150 million $ over the same period.
Things going great, huh?
Thank God we have MARIE to save us!

Frank Young said...

5/7/09 9:19 PM,
The documents I have refer to it as high level liquid radioactive waste. Any idea where the dividing line between high and low level is (in nCi/L I presume)?

Anonymous said...

Mikey gets his high salary and his sweet little sports car regardless of what happens to the employees. It's clear he doesn't give a sh*t about the employees at this lab. He has no qualms about lying or holding back critical information that would indicate the full extent of the decline spreading throughout the lab. People are just hanging on, waiting until the RIFs finally hit. No new Congressional report is going to turn this ugly mess around. It is what it is.

Anonymous said...

so what is Mikey's salary? and what does he rake in for bonuses?

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that high level waste, by definition, must derive from spent fuel reprocessing (liquids and solids resulting). At TA-55, you either have TRU (100nCi/g), anything less than 100 nCi/g is LLW.

Anonymous said...

Not every pipe in 55 is rad waste. It could have been sanitary waste. Did it smell like poo? Considering that Rn in the ground sets off the monitors on a rainy day, if you passed the monitors, I'd say it was not the slightst bit rad.
Homeboy got caught with a little bit of n-activated gold. As long as you aren't wearing some of his jewelry, you are OK.

Frank Young said...

Why don't you go look at the pipe and tell me what was in it? And I'd love to know how the monitors detect an inhalation exposure to an alpha emitter. That's pretty impressive! Do your dosimeters detect that too?

Anonymous said...

Standard weapons grade Pu contains more activity from 241 (a beta/gamma emitter) than 239 (the alpha emitter you probably are referring to). Gammas, even from inside your body, are detectable by the monitors.

Anonymous said...

True 9:38 pm, some of the pipes are industrial waste such as toilets, sinks and non-PF-4 sinks.

9:38 also has a good point. *If* the Pu went airborne from the pipe leak and you were in close vicinity for a long time, then it would have most likely been somewhere on your person and caught in the full body monitors exiting PF-4.

Next question, if the liquid was contaminated, you obviously didn't drink the stuff which means at some point the liquid had to dry and Pu went airborne. Pu won't go airborne if it's suspended in liquid so the only hazard is direct contact (e.g. skin or ingenstion).

Did any CAMS go off in the vicinity while working indicating airborne Pu? Other than CAMS or you being hot on your person (again monitors would have caught)there would be no indication or reason to believe that you came into contact with Pu (other than radiation of course).

Anonymous said...

Gammas, even from inside your body, are detectable by the monitors.

Really? so all the people with body burdens set off the monitors.
MM, don't think they are that sensitive. They aren't the ones used over at HSR-2 use for in-vivo. Even then, its an hour long count and your sitting in a shielded-type vault room to exlcude external radiation.

Frank Young said...

Folks there isn't any speculation over which pipe leaked. I have told the lab exactly which one leaked.

Thanks for the information, 5/9/09 4:56 PM. The measurements I have are in nCi/L rather than per gram. The liquid was typically 50 - 150 nCi/L with a maximum of nearly 1100 nCi/L.

5/10/09 9:40 AM, yes the spill took place and had dried before I ever saw it. And yes the CAM did alarm. And yes, I was sent home without a nasal swab. As for the monitors, I never saw all three of the monitors functional on the same night. People have unknowing left that building contaminated before.

5/10/09 9:44 AM, thanks, I agree with you. The amount I inhaled could not have been more than micrograms. The gamma from this would be difficult to distinguish from background.

Now that we've set the facts straight allow me to indulge in a little speculation. I'm guessing the problem here is not that people can't be bothered to go look at the pipe and see what was in it. I'll bet that's already been done. Could it be that the lab has mishandled this for years and now is scared to admit I was right all along? No really, ya think?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we are in for some "explaining"?

Anonymous said...

So Frank, maybe it's time to confront the lab with your data. What were the results of your urinalysis? Fecal? Bronchoaveolar lavage? You haven't mentioned ANY of these very basic tests that anyone who suspected uptake of any contaminant would have had done. Which leads any rational person to think that the tests were negative. Since they were obviously all negative, what is the evidence of an uptake?

Frank Young said...

How clever you are to ignore the question and demand that I produce evidence. And how kind of you to suggest bronchoalveolar lavage. I suggest you have one yourself.

You want urine or fecal matter? That can be arranged, just email me. I can only tell you good luck having the testing done at Kaiser Permenente.

If you really want evidence go take samples of the dried crud leftover from the spill.

Anonymous said...

This particular axe is way ground down and looks now like a club. A very clumsy club. Drop it. Or, continue to sound like a neanderthal. A penchant, childlike neanderthal.

Frank Young said...

How about just answering the question? Do the right thing, you'll feel better about yourself.

Anonymous said...

I second 10:02 Frank, quit being such a self-centered jerk. I mean, who is so petty as to care about some plutonium exposure.

Anonymous said...

Frank has provided no evidence of any Pu exposure. Nor has he explained why he has not filed a FOIA request for documents relating to his "incident."

Anonymous said...

This is 6:03.

8:15 is a complete asshole. You know full well that there is no way for Frank to find out what he was exposed to without using the specialized resources of a national lab or other radiochemical lab. You also know full well that LANL will never release any information.

I just hope that you don't have the misfortune of finding out exactly how hostile LANL is when you are potentially inconvenient to it.

Anonymous said...

"without using the specialized resources of a national lab or other radiochemical lab."
So why not? There are several other radioanalytical labs in the country. Frank could provide evidence, but he obviously doesn't want to. (Paragon labs, and many others, would provide the data that is lacking, and any attorney in the world would love to pay for it.) If I had a suspicious incident, I'd gladly pay the couple hundred dollars to get tested.
Sad. Here is a guy who is willing to spend hours running a blog, but no time or money finding out actual facts.

Anonymous said...

9:03 is right. Your only path to an answer is getting a bioassay test, followed by suing.

9:03 is wrong in his implied assumption that a non-expert would have known what to do.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be funny if "Frank Young" was a LANS invention to find out who the malcontents are? Let's face it, his story is too ridiculous to be true. And you thought you were posting this anonymously....

Frank Young said...

6:03/8:41,
Thanks. I'm not 100% convinced he's a "complete asshole" yet. Perhaps he's just remarkably slow. It's almost funny that his anonymous comments are the closest thing to an official reply I have from LANL in three years.

To recap, the FOIA request was filed on my behalf by congressman Royce of Orange County, California. This was after I had given up waiting on the lab to supply the answer they promised. When the FOIA request didn't work I filed the IG complaint. Both of these were over two years ago and I have discussed them on the blog before. Maybe he really thinks I'm making this up. What kind of evidence does he need?

To whoever mentioned Paragon Labs, thanks. I'll try to contact them tomorrow. Many have suggested I get bio assay or whole body count testing done but you are the first to suggest a non-LANL source (I've volunteered for testing by LANL but have not been offered it). As for your other comments, forget about lawsuits. I would really rather have an answer than chump change and a settlement agreement. And if you are interested you can check out this blog to read about the time and money I've put into finding out the actual facts.

9:52 PM,
Try a little harder next time.

Anonymous said...

Frank, I apologize. I am an expert in bioassay and have suggested it to you in the past, and I did not know about Paragon.

This reinforces the point that this is an esoteric field, and a layman should not be expected to know how to proceed.

Anonymous said...

The so- called "expert in bioassay" is obviously not. Paragon has been available on the web for anyone who cared to look. I knew about them at least 10 years ago. Note that there are more than 1 Paragon Labs, be sure to get the one that does radioanalytical tests, not the pharmaceutical company.