Thursday, February 22, 2007


Plenty of LANL News Today

You might as well read about it here, because you can bet your fuzzy butt that you won't be getting it from LANS.

First, from the New Mexican: LANL: Glove-box work back to normal after plutonium exposure

Then there's this: House decries 'LANL problem' Mostly a Roger Snodgrass dupe of yesterday's news about Dingell's fresh threat to take work away from LANL

A reader just sent in another story by Roger Snodgrass entitled
Funds dispersed to homesteaders:

And then
this article with an interesting title, but which is mostly background fluff:
Dropping the Bomb
Government Reconsiders UC-Managed Los Alamos National Laboratories

Finally, a John Arnold piece from the Albuquerque Journal:

LANL Could Lose Classified Projects
By John Arnold, Journal Staff Writer, Thursday, February 22, 2007

Congressional leaders aren't finished scrutinizing Los Alamos National Laboratory over its security failures. Members of a powerful House committee have asked Congress' investigative arm, the General Accountability Office, to evaluate the feasibility of moving classified activities to other laboratories "where there is a better track record with respect to security."

In a Feb. 16 letter to Comptroller General David Walker, House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders said repeated security problems have cast doubt on whether lab manager Los Alamos National Security and the National Nuclear Security Administration"are capable of assuring adequate safety, security, and sound business management practices." The letter comes less than a month after lawmakers grilled LANL and NNSA officials over the lab's most recent security breach, when more than 1,500 classified documents were discovered during a drug raid at the home of a former LANL subcontractor.

At the Jan. 30 hearing, LANL director Michael Anastasio outlined a detailed response to the breach and said he had disciplined more than two dozen lab employees following a lab investigation. But in their letter to the GAO, committee leaders cite LANL's history of security problems and said lab officials haven't followed through on repeated promises to solve security problems. Since the late 1990s, LANL has dealt with a number of high-profile security lapses, including the temporary disappearance of two computer hard-drives containing nuclear weapons information and the case of Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwan-born U.S. citizen who admitted to mishandling nuclear secrets. The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has held 12 hearings on LANL security, the committee's letter notes.

"More dramatic steps are necessary, and we intend to develop and implement a range of options to solve problems at LANL," states the letter, signed by committee chairman Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., and three other committee leaders. They ask the GAO to inventory LANL's major defense, science and energy programs and to evaluate how the lab can reduce its volume of classified material. Lawmakers also want to know what lab programs could be readily moved "without impairing national security activities."

Members of the state's congressional delegation quickly defended LANL, saying that the lab's new management team— which took over operations last year—is working aggressively to resolve security problems. "I don't think they've gotten enough credit for that," Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said in an interview Wednesday. "The lab by definition is focused on projects which in many cases require classification," he said. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., called Dingell's letter "a dubious response to an issue that deserves productive responses. This newest House push against LANL amounts to unnecessary and counter-productive piling-on," Domenici said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Lab watchdogs, however, praised House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders for continuing to investigate LANL and said other weapons labs should be subject to similar reviews. "It's wonderful that somebody in Congress is finally beginning to take oversight of the nuclear weapons laboratories, or at least of Los Alamos, more seriously," said Los Alamos Study Group executive director Greg Mello.

Dingell also wants the GAO to examine how federal nuclear weapons officials will consider security track records as they restructure the country's nuclear weapons complex. Under the restructuring plan, known as Complex 2030, Los Alamos is one of five sites that NNSA is considering for a next-generation nuclear weapons factory.

What about the great story that came out in LA Monitor this morning regarding how the land in Los Alamos was stolen from the families that were homesteading the place, namely the place that would later become the Los Alamos National Lab? You don't consider that newsworthy enough to post on this blog for comment? Is this one of those "inconvenient truths" the nation's most wealthy community would prefer people forget? When the pooch has an itch let him scratch. In other words, let's NOT be fair and balanced like FOX News. Let's truly be fair and balanced.
Send me a link to the story and I'll be happy to put it up here.

Response to 2/22/2007 10:12 AM:

Here it is Pat. Thank goodness you're no Fox News.
Where was that photo taken and what is it?
Oh my God! That's a beryllium-spewing shot on Two Mile Mesa! How did they get that photo? I don't think the public is supposed to know about the beryllium.
Is it classified? Do we have our next security infraction here?
The picture may not be classified, but since most shots do spread lots of beryllium, the fact of it happening probably represents New Mexico state environmental law being broken.
Boys and girls,

You can all take a deep breath and calm down. That image and similar images have been in the public domain since the 1970s, when it was most likely photgraphed. Take a look at page 109 of your "Los Alamos National Laboratory & The University of California" book, for example. Is everyone going nuts?

Ok, I agree that the picture itself is probably not classified, as it came from one of the news links on today's LANL news posts:

However, I bet it provides unwitting proof that LANL repeatedly violated New Mexico emissions regulations by explosively blasting untold kgs of beryllium into the air over the years for the locals to breath.

Remember how the unnaturally high beryllium readings in the soil at TA-3 (approx 1/2 mile from the residences in the Los Alamos town site western area) were brushed off as an "unnaturally high natural concentrations of beryllium" a few years ago by LANL investigators?

For those who care about Be facts, there was an informative (with some crap, but not hard to sift through)thread on LANL The Real Story. I don't know how to search that blog. Can someone provide the approximate dates?
Is this it?
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