Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Prestigious contract is up for grabs

By Eric Stern -- Bee Staff Writer

Published 12:01 am PDT Saturday, June 17, 2006
Story appeared on Page A3 of The Bee

Last year, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demolished an Olympic-sized swimming pool that the staff had been using for fun since the 1950s.

The pool was designed as a training facility for pilots when the lab was a naval air station.

Officials at the nuclear weapons lab determined that the cost of continued upkeep and replacing the aging pool wasn't a good use of taxpayer dollars. It was a culture shift at the University of California-run lab, which has been under pressure by Congress for overruns and delays on a multibillion-dollar superlaser.

UC has operated the historic labs in Livermore and Los Alamos, N.M., since their inception. But after concerns in recent years about security lapses and financial irregularities, the U.S. Department of Energy has forced the university to compete for the lab management contracts.


Full Story

Oh, yeah; getting rid of the swimming pool at LLNL will REALLY help national security...not to mention the incredible cost over-runs at NIF. By now, even our Livermite friends must be able to see the handwriting on the wall--in English, no less--how life there is going to complexify under the simplifications of the upcoming privatization by Bechtel (& UC, just for show).
But the keep building new office building and turnaround area's for the fancy trucks that appear well armed and more layers of unnecessary security levels for that crappy building which has become a pain in the a__s. We can only hope that it and N(IF) would vaporize , SOON. But ask if the administrators have taken a cut in pay, or if they have stopped hiring people in at salaries above what most people have taken 20 years to acquire.
LANL will cost $75M to run plus over runs, down from the wasteful $6M UC days. Can't you see the savings?
Isn't there some cost to destroying a swimming pool? Is there anything that explains the cost/benefit analysis of destroying a pool vs. maintaining it? Or is this just another way of letting workers -- even Phd scientists know that they don't count for much?
I would like to see the cost/benefit analysis that was done on this, if such a thing was done.
My suspicion is that DOE is just looking for another way to get nuclear and other kinds of science for minimum wage and no benefits.
Maybe they could get some illegal immigrants? I am sure they wouldn't require a swimming pool. On the other hand it might be necessary to fudge a few things on their employment applications. But no illegal immigrant would expect a swimming pool.
Actually it is really another passive aggressive relationship that DOE seems to have. DOE does NOT seem to want to have Livermore where it is. Everytime SV gets a hiring wave, the costs go up... meaning you have to hire new people at more than people with seniority. People are moving in by the droves around the place.. and trying to keep it 'secure' is getting harder and harder.

So what does DOE do.. it keeps ratcheting up the pressure that the Senators and Representatives of the area will ask for Livermore to be moved. Show off really big gun-boat SUV's, let everyone know that your doubling the amount of plutonium to be stored at Livermore, etc etc. My guess will be that the big kicker will be that UC/Bechtel will not get the contract. That would basically be the "why do we have this anymore?"

I wish the guys in California the best of luck.. but I think the writing is on the wall.

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