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  • B61 press remarks
    of the B61 except the B61 11 bunker buster would be upgraded in this proposed action including the B61 variants mods 3 4 7 and 10 The B61 7 strategic bomb completed a Life Extension Project LEP in 2009 Under President Bush these bombs were not slated for LEPs which usually include component upgrades which may also in cases add military capabilities until 2023 The Obama Administration would thus greatly accelerate this work An example of such is the upgrade of the W76 Trident missile warhead into the W76 1 LEP product which makes the warhead capable of addressing hardened targets Work on the new comprehensive B61 LEP was first funded on September 30 2009 An additional 15 million became available for the project upon release of the Nuclear Posture Review last month This week s request would add 39 6 million to the funds available for this project Mello It will be very difficult to contain the costs of this multi billion dollar bomb upgrade if the nuclear explosive is changed The result may not be reliable and it s possible it will not be certifiable Changing nuclear explosives is not something that should be done We should disarm gradually as the President says he wishes within the set of bombs we have and not make new ones And this would be a new one even if built around some of the old parts This new proposed omnibomb will cost some billions of dollars to make assuming NNSA gets that far A brand new factory in Tennessee may be necessary to make components for it or else the surge of production there must rely on aging unsafe facilities George W Bush didn t have the B61 LEP on his schedule for this decade We don t need to do

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2010/press_remarks_7May2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CMRR paper - pgs 1-4
    the end of the Cold War NNSA has been struggling to maintain mission buy in even among a significant number of its own contractor staff and among potential new recruits NNSA cannot solve this problem by retreating within its own ideological echo chamber say with new better and more frequently repeated slogans This what might be called the Dilbert approach destroys scientific culture and of course the agency s own judgment NNSA being the first victim of its own propaganda The core of NNSA s management problem is that the agency s nuclearist ideology assigns a large but fictitious value to nuclear weapons This reality deficit directly and indirectly damages every single institution contract and activity in the weapons complex and assures that the whole can never be cost effective well managed publicly accepted or adequately staffed with competent qualified and motivated people or be kept truly safe The nuclear weapons enterprise has drunk too much of its own propaganda It is sick with its own ideology the interpretive background for everything that happens Lessons are not learned The complex badly needs a new operating manual a new direction and a sense of purpose that is real and not just made up from fragments of older missions and Cold War clichés to match politically supported spending levels At present the nuclear weapons complex is a caricature of its heroic but deeply stupid Cold War self an expensive nuclear theme park NNSA can t solve its management problems with money although this is a usual temptation Money is an insufficient and in many ways a problematic motivator for the work that needs doing as a glance at Los Alamos will show Even during a decade of rising real budgets Defense Programs and then NNSA s management problems did not go away They got worse As far as fixing the problems go it won t matter much where the nuclear weapons program sits within government NNSA s problems are deeper than that Changing contractors is certainly no panacea as we see at LANL and LLNL I believe that all available data show NNSA cannot even coherently formulate let alone work by a set of values that are markedly different from the mores of society as a whole NNSA must change NNSA does have an important set of missions relating to nuclear security I believe the agency must change how it approaches those missions making friends with the trends To effectively recruit and manage NNSA needs to embrace nuclear disarmament as the broader context for its declining nuclear sustainment efforts When it does so NNSA will find that its fiscal personnel safety and other management challenges are suddenly far more tractable Embracing disarmament is the only real way NNSA can attract truly high quality staff and manage its facilities successfully in the increasingly crisis plagued 21 st century There have been dozens of studies of how to change DOE and NNSA management of its weapons program and how to deal with the demographic and skills challenges across the complex I won t bother citing them here The severe problems these studies have identified have persisted during years of rising and falling budgets They continued more or less unchanged before and after the creation of NNSA Competing lab management contracts didn t help quite the reverse in fact Much more fundamental reforms are required Unless NNSA can transform its missions and goals it will never successfully transform its management of the weapons complex NNSA is staffed with committed intelligent public servants but its nuclearist ideology is one of its biggest problems hampering objective management up and down the line NNSA and its White House and congressional overseers must therefore acknowledge the centrality of the dual matched challenges of getting rid of nuclear weapons ours and theirs and of preventing nuclear proliferation These missions are two sides of one coin These are the core missions that will attract motivate and help manage the talent NNSA wants from the next generation They are quite likely the only missions within NNSA s portfolio that can do so This is not to say that NNSA won t be able to recruit warm bodies and few bright lights given that the U S economy is likely to remain weak for years to come some reasons for this are discussed in the next section But this is not the same as attracting keeping and above all motivating real talent NNSA s job is not to get and spend money on buildings full of warm bodies NNSA needs to clarify for what purposes it wishes to maintain its institutional capabilities and skills Ideological slogans will not fulfill this need To avoid the deep cuts in staff with concomitant management problems otherwise entailed by CMRR NF and UPF construction the Perry Commission recommended that NNSA receive a large one time cash infusion Would this work This one time budget increase would in reality need to extend 11 years through 2021 9 years to build and equip CMRR NF and UPF and their ancillary facilities and two more years to dismantle and dispose D D of CMR and the Building 9212 Complex In the case of CMRR NF at least new annual operating expenses would then arise perhaps balanced by economies at Y 12 During this same period NNSA and DOE face other large one time expenses including other large one time construction projects and other D D projects particularly at Y 12 The DOE environmental management program roughly as large as NNSA has its own one time expenses planned too More importantly during this same period to avoid the latent but highly predictable destruction of a large part of the ecology society and economy of the United States through global warming and to try to keep ahead of the imminent effects of peaking oil supplies see below the country as a whole also needs a one time investment of trillions of dollars in new energy and transportation infrastructure There will be calls for climate adaptation funding such as raising levees which will cost many billions of dollars and which normally appear within the energy and water appropriations budget allotment As we have seen NNSA construction expenses are predicated heavily on eventually proceeding with the Reliable Replacement Warhead RRW or its functional equivalent In the case of CMRR NF they are predicated solely on such a decision Without RRW CMRR NF is not needed Our view is different NNSA can never be a successful agency except in the context of a sober balanced and properly contextualized understanding of the nation s national security needs which the Bipartisan Commission cited above didn t begin to provide Its perspective was myopic its report built from thought stopping clichés recycled from the Cold War Congress was poorly served by that report and NNSA will utterly fail to remedy its management problems if its recommendations are followed The NNSA weapons program s appetite significantly exceeds its budget in many ways not just in new construction Until the agency is able and this will take outside help to simplify and clarify its fundamental missions there will never be enough money to accomplish everything NNSA wants to do If NNSA fails to understand that our national security paradigm needs to change radically along with its role in that paradigm getting and keeping warm bodies may be the best the agency can do In that case don t look for improvements in management NNSA will remain crisis plagued until some serious unplanned event forces unplanned change quite likely in a downward budgetary direction From here on out NNSA s contractors can no longer count on using today s failures and mediocrities as foundations for tomorrow s billings Not everybody knows it yet but the party s over Warhead modernization will not stabilize or bring greater safety security or reliability to the nuclear weapons enterprise quite the reverse This important topic must be largely deferred for another occasion It has been discussed previously at some length 7 In brief focusing on warheads alone existing vs hypothetical future ones as isolated machines apart from the weapons complex the broader nuclear enterprise and the rest of the world is far too narrow to serve as a basis for public policy Safety security and reliability are meaningless when applied to warheads in isolation the quest for safer and more secure warheads isn t logical and will lead to substantially increased safety and security risks for society Warhead performance margins are adequate and could be made greater if desired reliability is very high and almost always impacted by non nuclear components not nuclear ones existing programs adequately detect and remedy such problems when they appear there are no signs of warhead aging and none are expected and there is no reason Life Extension Programs LEPs will not work swimmingly if managed well a goal more difficult to achieve if resources are diverted into unnecessary infrastructure innovation and production This is all too obvious Warhead innovation for the supposed sake of increased safety security or reliability is not really that at all It is instead warhead innovation primarily for other purposes including maintaining institutional skills and capability providing a matrix from which new or modified warheads can relatively easily arise providing NNSA spending in certain states and congressional districts and to enrich certain contractors preventing the gradual denuclearization of foreign policy maintaining a laboratory fiscal flywheel for the sake of other laboratory income streams and so on Safety and security however sincerely advanced by some people function as packaging for more potent political forces There is some risk that NNSA may not be able to successfully complete or operate the CMRR NF due to forces beyond its control The U S together with other polities now faces several interconnected existential crises we do not understand well either in themselves or in their interactions with each other These crises have labels but these labels do not yet convey to our political leaders or to most opinion leaders any understanding of these crises severity immanence and intractability or the unpredictability of their synergistic effects The downside risks are not improbable and they are utterly unbounded Americans have difficulty thinking in tragic terms We have been so propagandized and infantilized so mesmerized by ideas of our own supposed uniqueness and freedom from ordinary historical constraints that most people simply cannot imagine tragic outcomes for our own society unless that tragedy include salvation for a select few in some version of secular or religious millenarianism Bad things happen to others not us Government almost never pierces this denial It seldom attempts to talk truthfully about important matters when the news is not good including and perhaps especially the DOE with is burdened by an official ideology of technological optimism so extreme it borders on pure fantasy DOE s ideology and public relations brief has unfortunately included a highly irrational belief in the efficacy of science to protect this society from the adverse consequences of our collective actions Such fantastic beliefs underlie many a DOE contract and support many a politician and asset portfolio Let s look at just one crisis namely the observed and predicted decline in petroleum production and consider its potential effect on CMRR NF planning construction and operation Most of the world s major oil fields are now in decline and there is very little chance that production levels will return to the production plateau of 2005 2008 for long if they ever do no matter what the price Many careful independent peer reviewed analysts working together over what amounts to several years amassing data from hundreds of the world s largest oil fields are converging toward the perspective that world oil production has probably peaked Many myself included believe production is likely to decline erratically for the next decade at a multi year moving average rate of between 2 and 4 annually assuming no sudden catastrophes such as devastating epidemics wars or steep economic downturns 8 Oil usage in producer countries is rising so total net exports i e imports from the perspective of importing countries can be expected to fall faster than total production A country s transition from oil exporter to importer can be quite swift as the recent examples of Indonesia and the United Kingdom show Mexican production is now falling so fast it may cease export altogether by late 2012 or 2013 High oil prices are necessary to stimulate new production albeit with a multi year time lag but if they rise too high or too fast they are strongly associated with recessions in the U S 9 At present oil prices are being held down by weak demand This may or may not continue regardless of geologic economic and a host of above ground production constraints the sum of which continues to tighten despite significant new capacity added in selective locations Prices are volatile communicate depletion poorly and the minor variations in production that produce major price swings don t affect reservoir decline much at all With localized exceptions that only prove the rule reservoir decline is inexorable These dynamics and others are setting the stage for a severe oil shortage There may or may not be much warning Markets for refined petroleum products operate as complex contingent branching networks with inherent time lags They are buffeted by volatile price signals and large speculative cash flows among other real world complexities Experience around the world including here shows that impending fuel shortages do not always come with a gradual increase in price which if present would dampen demand During a deflationary period oil shortages may appear suddenly as price spikes regional shortages panic buying and sudden supply exhaustion If even some of American motorists truckers farmers and fleet owners rush out and try to fill their tanks the fuel supply chain will collapse Various forms of rationing and queuing then enter the picture The economic impact of running out of fuel altogether in this fashion for even a short time can be great leaving lasting economic scars Such dramatic scenarios are not the main point however It is this It is very difficult to change the oil efficiency of the job producing portion U S economy as fast as oil production and more so imports will decline This decline is likely to be an inexorable 2 4 per year after averaging away short term economic ups and downs We are in the beginning of this process now It is still harder to improve economic efficiency fast enough to allow for real economic growth within an oil availability envelope declining at this rate Can the U S economy prosper over a decade in which its principal transportation fuel supply decreases by 20 40 I don t think so This is also the conclusion of a 2005 DOE sponsored study which warned that the economic effects of peaking oil supplies would be severe without a two decade prior investment program involving trillions of dollars in new fuel and transportation infrastructure 10 We face an unprecedented degree of resource scarcity for our society and for industrial society generally but here we are speaking of something very specific an impending worldwide shortage of liquid hydrocarbon fuels 11 This crisis is real it awaits an economic recovery to be fully visible but will appear in a year or two even without recovery its impacts may worsen with little advance warning and it will dramatically affect our economy and society during the proposed CMRR construction period There are no easy answers As energy resources get more difficult to acquire the net energy they bring to society declines It takes more and more oil to extract the remaining oil and it takes more energy including oil uniquely to procure lower quality deeper and more difficult to extract coal and natural gas too It takes oil coal natural gas and scarce remaining nuclear reactor life to make renewable energy infrastructure and efficient public and private transportation as well as refit the existing stock of buildings as well as make the CMRR UPF an armada of wind farms or any other big project Beyond this most of us here at the Study Group for a host of macroeconomic and political reasons as well as the sheer intractable decline in oil availability do not believe there will be real economic growth in the U S in the coming decade even when measured by the optimistic and deceptive measure commonly used the gross domestic product GDP This has many ramifications all very challenging for finance currency trading and foreign policy as well as for our domestic economy society and politics We enter this crisis with fewer assets than we entered the Great Depression We are without most of our 1930s endowment of oil and easy natural gas and without many of the widespread practical skills we had then among other differences Whatever we call the period we have entered business as usual is clearly over As one local municipal finance officer recently put it Less bad is the new good There is no sign that the Administration grasps the gravity of the economic or resource problems No signs suggest it is ready or even able to defuse the financial bombs remaining in place which an oil shock epidemic or just failure to thrive for potent macroeconomic reasons could trigger Yet attempting to govern now with only minor tweaks of policies based on past experience will result in very bad outcomes with 100 certainty These oil and economic crises are parts of a larger picture Worldwide Poverty food shortages and related emergencies are widely growing Perhaps a third of humanity is in danger hundreds of millions are in acute danger Fresh water supplies are declining and unstable in many areas threatening regional agricultural collapse The climate has already been degraded past major tipping points and could pass a point of no return in just a very few years if immediate very drastic action

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/CMRR/CMRR_paper_1-4.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    have risen dramatically NNSA has been struggling to incorporate commercial nuclear safety standards not always followed at Los Alamos In 2002 the projected cost was one eighth what it is today Then completion was expected by 2011 Now it s 2022 This huge and far reaching investment if pursued to the bitter end would inevitably change the identity of LANL and that of nearby communities It would have profound implications for New Mexico as a whole It is already affecting U S nuclear policy and gaining attention internationally where it will complicate U S objectives The press the White House and Congress are being lulled into thinking this project is somehow necessary to maintain U S nuclear weapons and merely a replacement for what LANL has had all along Neither is true The integrated capability of the planned plutonium complex would greatly exceed anything that has ever been present at LANL What is being replaced is something the United States hasn t seen in two decades and doesn t need a production plant for plutonium warhead cores or pits What Obama wants to build in New Mexico is in scale capacity function and budget exactly what George W Bush also wanted to build a modern pit facility The facilities are to be modern but their primary purpose is outmoded LANL s own experts have been at the forefront of a scientific consensus saying that warhead pits will last until the waning decades of this century if not longer essentially forever for planning purposes Unless novel pits for novel warheads are made there is no reason to make any at all except perhaps to remember how For that new facilities are not needed LANL is making a few pits today more than enough to remember how Manufacturing pits for the stockpile

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/Mello_CMRR_21Apr2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    years Advocates seem to want Congress to be firmly vested in this project before providing any overall commitments to which the agency or its contractors could be held accountable The history of cost increments increases in this project is hardly reassuring Sen Jeff Bingaman first announced the project in 1999 At that time his spokesperson said it would not be a Taj Mahal but a scaled down streamlined facility that would meet the needs of the lab at a lower cost than they are met now Just three years after that statement in 2002 when the project was first submitted to Congress for funding it was estimated to cost a whopping if vague 350 500 million A year later the sticker cost had gone up by 100 million as internal overhead was added The next year 2004 the cost remained the same but the nuclear lab space to be provided was cut almost in half In 2005 projected costs rose to 838 million and in 2005 they were reported as 745 975 million By 2008 CMRR NF alone was going to cost above 2 billion and the whole project RLUOB and CMR D D included was to cost at least 2 6 billion Since then total project cost for a building half the original usable size has doubled again to about 5 billion Thus in eight years projected CMRR costs have risen a full order of magnitude The estimated final completion date has meanwhile slipped more than a decade from 2011 to 2022 CMRR has already become the largest public project in New Mexico history by roughly a factor of ten The state s largest public works project to date is the MESA facility at Sandia National Laboratories completed in 2008 at a cost of 517 M The CMRR project

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/Mello_Gessing_LAMonitor_18Apr2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    a conducive environment for a new generation of weaponeers who are encouraged to visualize new strategic uses for new designer nuclear weapons smaller with multiple warheads and more accurate targeting new delivery systems deeper penetration etc Obama s solemn declarations in Prague about a nuclear free world are starting to sound hollow This late spring during a fresh round of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty hearings at the United Nations in New York representatives from all over will start hearing about the newly planned CMRR NF the largest new investment in nuclear weapons worldwide Regardless of the possibility of scaling down the quantities of weapons in the arsenal and regardless of the possible signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty the message that America sends with the construction of the CMRR NF is clear The CMRR NF allows the production of new types of nuclear weapons That is a clear message The go ahead of the CMRR NF building sends a strong signal about the depth of commitment the U S will have to a nuclear weapons future Building the CMRR NF would not just damage the reputation of Obama it would damage the credibility of the U S and its role in the world Perhaps most importantly it would damage a growing military chorus that wants to adopt a strategy of increased security through non proliferation and a de emphasis of the role of nuclear weapons CMRR NF is the opposite of that approach The CMRR NF is the incarnation of everything that is wrong with continued proliferation and the societal detriment and sacrifice that it brings Willem Malten lives in Santa Fe where is an activist in the areas of local food security the Northern New Mexico Organic Wheat Project and nuclear disarmament He is the founder

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/Malten_SFNM_17Apr2010.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DNFSB Strongly Criticizes Seismic Safety at LANL PF-4, press release, 27 Oct 2009
    LANL facilities would be contaminated and require extensive cleanup This might not be economical especially if there were also structural or other earthquake damage which is likely LANL in other words could be shut down for a long time and might not be worth rebuilding The inadequacy of the safety situation at PF 4 in general and its seismic safety in particular have long been a concern of this organization and we have brought up this issue in meetings with the Board in Washington DC and in Los Alamos on multiple occasions in the past three years As the Board s Recommendation notes the present situation has been a long time in development The Board s Recommendation does not mention that PF 4 along with other LANL nuclear facilities has been operating under a so called Justification for Continued Operation JCO which is a memorandum NNSA writes to itself explaining why it does not need for follow federal nuclear safety regulations in LANL s case seismic safety regulations NNSA recently granted itself an extension to its JCO The resolution of seismic safety issues at PF 4 is almost completely unrelated to the planned Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement CMRR Nuclear Facility There is no known opposition to the continued safe operation of PF 4 as a plutonium facility under all stockpile management scenarios A construction project called the TA 55 Reinvestment Project NNSA Project 08 D 804 is a catch all for the larger planned capital renewal projects at PF 4 1 The Manager of the Los Alamos Site Office LASO Donald Winchell who has with his staff been responsible for development and maintenance of the seismic safety response at PF 4 said in August that the Board may have outlived its usefulness to the country The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board may have outlived its usefulness to the country the National Nuclear Security Administration s top official at Los Alamos National Laboratory told NW M Monitor earlier this month Though NNSA Los Alamos Site Office Manager Donald Winchell later added that he does believe the Board will continue to play an important role in regulating sic DNFSB advises not regulates the NNSA his comments illustrate the growing sense at NNSA and the Department of Energy as a whole that the Board has pushed the agency toward expensive changes and a risk averse culture a fact that has led Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to take a hard look at streamlining oversight and re evaluating DOE s relationship to the Board What s their role They have no responsibility in this game other than to sit back and tell us what we re doing wrong he said Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor 8 31 09 Study Group Director Mello None of the serious problems that have coalesced into yesterday s strong recommendation are new The Board has been it seems to me the soul of patience in regard to PF 4 In our judgment the Board has never and is

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2009/PressReleaseOct27_2009.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    the Nuclear Facility would cost five times as much as any prior government construction project in New Mexico excepting the interstate highways Because the project s primary purpose is to design and build parts for a new warhead repeatedly rejected by Congress Newsmax com labeled this project the nation s Boondoggle 1 earlier this spring The lab space it would provide will cost 89 000 per square foot or 618 per square inch if you prefer LANL s existing plutonium facility with 2 6 times the space cost 75 million in 1978 about 201 million in today s dollars The Nuclear Facility would add 38 more plutonium space at 26 times the 1978 unit cost assuming no further increases Department of Energy DOE dollars have better uses With 2 billion DOE could pay for about 2 000 megawatts of new wind generation capacity This would displace millions of tons of carbon pollution and save millions of gallons of fresh water every year henceforth It would create about 30 000 new jobs in manufacture construction and operation The same dollars used to subsidize state local government tribal and private investment in renewable energy energy efficiency and building weatherization would go even further Infrastructure choices like this tell us a lot about who we are as a people and where we are going They also tell us about our leadership It will be interesting to see how our congressional delegation all Democrats come down on this Green jobs or plutonium palace There is only so much money that can be wrung out of households Choices have to be made Our Democrats should be under no illusions about the CMRR The hawks on the recent Perry Commission certainly know exactly what it s for building new design warheads rapidly That s why it

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/articles/Mello_CMRR_17May2009.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    was submitted today In addition NNSA would essentially bar the project from beginning construction of the Nuclear Facility next year as had been planned until recently The most recent Bush budget provides a point of comparison In that budget submitted 3 months ago the CMRR was to receive 172 M in FY2010 and annual spending was to rise from there up to a quarter billion per year by FY2012 Today s FY2010 request of 55 M is a little less than one third of that number and out year funding is now contingent on future policy decisions No construction funds are provided at all either in FY2010 or as place holders in the out years The proposed facility for uranium processing and secondary manufacturing at Y 12 the Uranium Processing Facility UPF has been set back several years A new and far more modest construction project has been proposed today that would modify and downsize existing Y 12 facilities to make them safer while the fate of any large new construction is decided The delay budgetary downsizing and promised closer review of these two projects gives NNSA a better chance to manage the contradictions inherited from the Bush Administration between hopes for billions of dollars in new construction on the one hand and maintenance of the existing workforce on the other all within a flat budgetary ceiling Something had to give NNSA and the Obama Administration changed the balance between investing in physical infrastructure and investing in intellectual infrastructure slightly towards the latter Of regional New Mexico interest nuclear weapons programs at LANL would be decreased 6 in this budget a 93 M net decline Within that 6 there are significant tweaks up and down in a number of budget lines This budget is hardly revolutionary and certainly it is

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2009/PressReleaseMay7_2009a.htm (2016-02-16)
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