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From: David x
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 00:04:39 -0800 Subject: A Visit to Lawrence Livermore Labs Glenn_ Last spring I was part of a group from my college that was given a tour of the LNL. After spending an hour viewing a propoganda video about the lab we were all taken to the security check point office. They asked to see our DLs and SS cards (which we all submitted a month earlier) and were also weighed on a contraption that looked like a treadmill (which you stood on and put your palms on a special pad?) The members of my group who were not U.S. citizens were subject to other checks and I think they were photographed. Aside from the mysterious scale it was a long and uneventful process and we all got badges (I think they were red) and got into a shuttle bus. When we drove up to the gate the security guard got on the bus and we were told that they would most likely need to check everyone's badges but the funny part was that the guard spoke to our guide and then got off the bus, then we just drove in. I thought, what a waste of time that last hour was! We saw the big laser they have and the plans to build an even bigger one, along with a host of other things of various interest. The highlight was their supercomputer room, crays and sgis as far as you can see (off limits to my non-U.S. citizen colleagues, they had to wait outside) it is a major backbone for the internet and they have an impressive control room that looks like a James Bond movie. The low point was the fact that they admitted to severly poisoning the local ground water with chemical dumping that was spreading faster than they could control. (they said the chemicals were there before the lab was there when the site was an army airstrip. . .right!) We toured a reclaimation plant that was touted as state of the art but was not in operation. Two things I found interesting. One we toured several buildings and departments, I was talking to our guide who told me that she had NEVER seen this much of the lab before due to the compartmentalization. Some of the building had these neat phone booth style entrances that you put your badge in and stepped inside onto another weird treadmill-like thing that was enclosed in glass. then if you checked out the door would open to the inside. On some buildings we went in like this, but others the armed guard just waived us in. The other weird thing was that a big spooky guy in a dark suit who never introduced himself was with us the entire day.(clearly security). All in all, I felt that the security force was a bit lazy for a lab that claims to house the most plutonuim in the U.S.! luckily, the plutonuim building is heavily fortified with prison-like watchtowers with armed guards at every section of the two rows of barbed wire. As we drove by it, our guide pointed to a lonely picnic table right next to the building and mentioned that the few people who go in "that" building sometimes like to eat their lunches outside right there. We all laughed at her. At the end of the day we were granted a 30 minute open discussion with the director and head scientist of the lab, we could ask any question. A colleague of mine promptly asked "are you the entity that handles the aliens" the director laughed and said "I've never seen any here" we were all given a cookie and taken back to the airport. This experience is what got me interested in govt. secrecy, area 51 and UFOs. I just regret not having any informed questions to ask the director when I had the chance. I also found out later that the Lawrence family estate wishes to remove their name from the lab because they feel that their father (the lab founder) would not want to be associated with a the "mad" science of destruction that goes on there. Sorry to ramble on, I hope this has some relevance. David X. Cenicer
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