2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: marylia@earthlink.net
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 10:08:18 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] NIF-"Watchdog" calls for criminal investigation
This press release is going out this morning. I thought it would be of use.
Peace, Marylia  Read on...

for further information, contact
Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs (925) 443-7148

for immediate release, Wednesday, August 16, 2000

A General Accounting Office (GAO) report, slated to be released later this
week, details a "clear pattern of deceit, fraud and abuse by top management
officials intent on covering up budget hemorrhages and technical problems
at the National Ignition Facility" under construction at the Department of
Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, according to a
Livermore-based organization that monitors lab activities.

Over the past 8 years, Tri-Valley CAREs has studied and publicized the
serious scientific, technical, budgetary, environmental and nuclear
proliferation risks posed by NIF construction and operation.

"A criminal investigation is warranted. Institutions and individuals have
engaged in cover-up, looked the other way and, in some cases, repeatedly
lied to Congress," explained Tri-Valley CAREs' executive director, Marylia
Kelley. "Further, it's we taxpayers who are continuing to pay for this fraud."

Kelley added, "A chronology of events shows that the NIF deception has
involved top management at Livermore Lab, at the University of California
(UC), which manages the weapons lab, and at DOE, the Livermore Lab's parent

The federal auditors found that Livermore Lab and DOE edited a report on
NIF before sending it to Congress -- and touted it as the work of an
"outside" analysis giving NIF rave reviews. Moreover, Livermore Lab and DOE
management displayed a similar, long-time pattern of dominating scientific
panels with their own staff, while publicizing the results as "independent."

The GAO report also describes how DOE and Livermore Lab lowballed NIF's
costs. Officials say they lied to Congress from day one "in the belief that
the Congress would not fund NIF at a higher cost," and that they allowed
their personal feelings regarding NIF's importance to a single laboratory
to overshadow their concerns about presenting Congress with an "unrealistic
budget" for the project.

Further, the GAO audit presents a litany of spiraling technical
difficulties, cost overruns and schedule slippages. For example, the report
shows that in mid-1998 Livermore Lab management and others suspected that
NIF was over budget. Before the year's end, laser officials had confirmed
that NIF's cost overrun was substantial and that construction would fall
behind schedule. Still, the following year, Livermore Lab's director
testified twice before Congress that NIF was "on budget and schedule."

DOE now admits that NIF's construction schedule has slipped more than a
half-decade, from 2002 to the 2008 "timeframe," with the first ignition
experiments to commence two years after that -- in 2010.

The GAO report looks at NIF's pre-completion costs and says they will top
$3.9 billion, approximately double earlier DOE projections. Moreover, the
report states that "technical uncertainties persist," and therefore costs
could continue to rise.

"The NIF scandal continues as DOE, UC and Livermore Lab officials publicly
discount serious technical uncertainties and a still-spiraling budget,"
Kelley charged. "It's high time that Congress acts to restrain the project.
A criminal investigation into potential lawbreaking is called for here, not
further construction."
-- end --

Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
2582 Old First Street
Livermore, CA USA 94550

<http://www.igc.org/tvc/> - is our web site, please visit us there!

(925) 443-7148 - is our phone
(925) 443-0177 - is our fax

Working for peace, justice and a healthy environment since 1983, Tri-Valley
CAREs has been a member of the nation-wide Alliance for Nuclear
Accountability in the U.S. since 1989, and is a co-founding member of the
Abolition 2000 global network for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the
U.S. Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Back From the Brink
campaign to get nuclear weapons taken off hair-trigger alert.

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