Feeds

Job cuts loom at Los Alamos Lab

Creative firings

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The arrival of a new master at Los Alamos National Laboratory will likely result in a rapid fire layoff, officials revealed last week.

The consortium operating the lab expects to cleave off hundreds of jobs in an effort to lower costs. The lab faces serious financial challenges under its new management, which has to account for close to $200m more in various costs than previous manager University of California (UC). The prospect of lost jobs in New Mexico has prompted local politicians to mount their soap boxes.

"This budget shortfall is about more than bad math - this is about the livelihoods of my constituents,'' U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a statement. "(The U.S. Department of Energy) should have better budgeted and planned for these costs."

Los Alamos will likely do away with between 350 and 600 contract workers. The lab has more than 8,000 full-time staff and more than a thousand other contract workers.

In June, a consortium dubbed Los Alamos National Security (LANS) took over sole management of the lab from UC, which had operated the site since the days of the Manhattan Project. The limited liability corporation (LLC) is composed of contractors such as Bechtel, Washington Group International and BWX, along with UC.

The new management has been expected to run the lab with a similar budget as in years past. That's problematic because, as an LLC, LANS must pay more in taxes and pension costs than the non-profit UC. In addition, LANS expects to hand out raises and hopes to earn tens of millions in performance incentives from the government that were not available to UC. All told, that means the additional costs could chew through close to 10 per cent of the lab's $2.2bn budget.

Up until now, lab representatives have played down the prospect of job cuts. Director Michael Anastasio in July called on workers to use "creativity" to solve the $200m budget shortfall.

Any job cuts will be characterized as crushing to the cities around the lab, which depend on Los Alamos as a key part of their economies.

"This is going to be devastating to the economy,'' Espanola mayor Joseph Maestas told a local paper. "That's why the state Legislature and the governor need to come up with ways to invest the state's share of this windfall to create a sustainable economy that gradually reduces its reliance on the laboratory money or federal money associated with the lab.''

The Department of Energy controls the lab's budget and is not expected to free up more cash anytime soon. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.