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Jan 07, 2010



Again, NNSA Spokesperson Damien LaVera's response to our press release was fact-free. [http://blogs.knoxnews.com/munger/2010/01/moratorium_on_oversight_of_wea.html] In a comment to Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground, LaVera claims that a major purpose of NNSA's 6-month freeze on crucial reviews at the nuclear weapon sites is to free up oversight full time employees (FTEs) for more important functions. The only problem with this is that NNSA officials had a meeting in Washington a few days earlier trying to determine what they would do with the 50-70 FTE.

Lance Williamson

“We understand that Program Offices view safety as an impediment which slows down widget production because of the fussy safety guys.”

That is patently false POGO. 10 years ago it took ~200 direct man-hours to safely & securely dismantle a typical nuclear warhead/bomb. Today, after years of excessive regulations and oversight from NNSA & the DNFSB it now takes ~2000 direct man-hours to accomplish the same level of effort.

Pushing production at the expense of safety is a POGO lie. The only thing being pushed here is POGO’s little hidden agenda.


The NNSA sites have persistent safety, security, business, etc. problems that have not ever been fixed for decades. Root causes remain unidentified in a reliable and consistent manner from DOE and NNSA. Congress continually thrashes around on this and keeps coming up with fixes like transfer safety to the NRC that are not coupled in a definitive and logical manner to causes.

While we believe there are many employees at NNSA who take seriously their job to fix the problems, at the same time, it is clear to many that a part of the root cause is that the DOE/NNSA have not been doing their oversight jobs well. This may stem from the fact that DOE/NNSA are sometimes confused because the Federal and Contractor Program Offices, which control all of the money, are also interested in little more than production. We understand that Program Offices view safety as an impediment which slows down widget production because of the fussy safety guys. Since Program controls the money, and program personnel dominate the higher echelons of NNSA and DOE, they control the overall direction of the DOE and NNSA. A potential fix is to require that the program side of NNSA and the contractor be held accountable for safety as well as widget production in, for example, their personal performance reviews.

Marylia Kelley

I have a question -- the memo lists CAS reviews at LLNL as among the types of reviews to be curtailed during the moratorium. Yet the financial illegality at the NIF (discovered by a NNSA OFFM internal review, btw) is that LLNL management violated the CAS (cost accounting standards, found in public law 100-679). So, does it make sense to you, given the facts, that NNSA would suspend CAS reviews at LLNL for 6 months? And, do you know if NNSA HQ is pursuing any specific review of the CAS violations at NIF despite the 6-month moratorium? Inquiring minds want to know.

lance Williamson

Let’s see. You’re concerned that NNSA is not utilizing their existing Federal employees because of this moratorium but, on the other hand you propose that NNSA should be doing more extensive oversight reviews which will require even more Federal NNSA employees.

I think you’re just promoting bigger Government to make the existing NNSA suffocating oversight more stifling in hopes of permanently shutting down the NWC and the nuclear weapons capabilities of America. NNSA is at best incompetent & you propose as a solution more NNSA. I don’t think you have a clue as to the existing problems.

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