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Michael Anastasio. Lawrence Livermore's new director.

Anastasio to Lead Livermore Lab

The University of California has named nuclear physicist Michael Anastasio to take over as chief of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory starting 1 July. The decision, announced 4 June, resolves confusion and controversy over who will take the helm of the $1-billion-a-year weapons lab.

Selection of the new director was delayed earlier this year by the lab's funder, the Department of Energy (DOE). DOE cited last-minute questions about the list of candidates drawn up by the university, which manages the lab (ScienceNOW, 1 May). The leading candidate for the job was believed to be Raymond Juzaitis, a senior administrator at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Livermore's long-standing rival. Some insiders speculated that the rivalry might have been a factor in the delay--along with the fact that Juzaitis oversaw a division that included Wen Ho Lee, the nuclear physicist accused (but never formally charged) by the government of spying for China. Juzaitis later withdrew his name from consideration.

Anastasio, now deputy director for strategic operations at Livermore, has been at the lab for 22 years and has focused on the design and evaluation of nuclear weapon systems. He has led the national stockpile stewardship program, which aims at ensuring the effectiveness of weapons without conducting actual tests.

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