Skip to comments.Los Alamos director steps down
Posted on 05/10/2005 5:03:14 AM PDT by robowombat
Los Alamos director steps down By David McGlinchey firstname.lastname@example.org
The director of Los Alamos National Laboratory announced last week that he is stepping down after two years filled with controversy and troubling news from one of the nation's leading weapons research facilities.
Pete Nanos took the helm of Los Alamos in January 2003. Since then the laboratory has suffered through security lapses and revelations of procurement abuse by employees. In 2004, Nanos shut down Los Alamos operations for months while officials conducted a security review.
Late last year, the National Nuclear Security Administration initiated an open competition for contractors interested in operating the laboratory, ending a run of more than 60 years by the University of California as the uncontested operator of the elite facility.
Nanos is moving to a post with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
He will be replaced by Robert Kuckuck, who has experience at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - also run by the University of California - and at the NNSA in Washington. Kuckuck is scheduled to begin his work May 16 and serve as the interim director at least until the current UC contract to run the lab expires later this year.
"Dr. Pete Nanos has led Los Alamos National Lab during a challenging time," said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. "He instituted a number of sound business practices that have helped Los Alamos remain one of the premier labs in the world ... I wish him the best of luck in his new responsibilities at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency."
Others, however, were critical of Nanos. A blog devoted to leadership issues at the lab, "LANL: The Real Story," was filled with comments cheering his departure.
On Sunday, the Albuquerque Journal North edition published an editorial that said Nanos' departure is good for Los Alamos.
"Making everybody mad may be good journalism, but it isn't often good management," the editorial said. "Nanos' departure ... may augur well for the future of the lab."
There was also skepticism about Kuckuck. Pete Stockton, a Los Alamos observer at the Project on Government Oversight, said Kuckuck "is one of the good ol' boys."
"He comes from Lawrence Livermore ...they have insurmountable security problems," Stockton said. "A breath of fresh air he is not."
Several others, including the Albuquerque Journal, expressed optimism that the new director could usher in an era of cooperation between scientists and management. Bodman said Kuckuck "brings an enormous wealth of experience to this task."
The pointy heads ground up and spit out another one.
What I want to know is, how the heck d'ya pronounce his name...
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