Los Alamos bloggers turn nasty

Well, well. There’s trouble in the US’s premier nuclear weapons lab. According to the New York Times, staff are so fed up with their new Director, G. Peter Nanos, that they are posting vitriolic messages on an internal Blog.

The blogging comes at a delicate moment in the 62-year history of Los Alamos. The University of California, which has helped run the laboratory for the government since the days of the Manhattan Project, faces close scrutiny in Washington as to whether its contract should be renewed. And resignations and fears of a mass exodus have recently roiled the waters. Some analysts believe that now, given the public outcry, the university will have to abandon Dr. Nanos in order to make a credible bid to keep its contract.

Dr. Nanos would not comment. A spokesman for Los Alamos, Kevin Roark, said false rumors of the director’s resignation had circulated for months. Mr. Roark added that Dr. Nanos was extraordinarily proud of what he had accomplished at Los Alamos, which employs 14,000 people on an annual budget of $2.2 billion.

Mr. Roark called the vitriolic blogging unrepresentative of the majority of employees and said it often had the tone of a sophomoric Halloween prank. “Everybody, I think, was a little surprised at how mean it got,” he said.

Several outside experts said that the director’s quick departure was inevitable and that the blog’s attacks were playing a significant role.