Watching "Star Trek: Into Darkness," which is in theaters now, could fill Livermore residents with a sense of pride in their hometown.

Part of the film was shot at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Those scenes shot in the high-tech laser facility, which is the size of three football fields, helped set the scene for one of the best Star Trek movies ever.

The scenes shot at NIF make up the warp drive scenes, which play a very prominent role in the plot of the film. Part of the believability of those scenes was from director JJ Abrams' use of the high-tech, larger-than-life facility. The target chamber, and parts of the laser array look a lot like something dreamed up on a "Star Trek" set.

NIF was an epic undertaking, one my dad worked on as an electrician. But its completion date was delayed from 2002 to 2009 and the project ran billions of dollars over its budget. It also has yet to achieve the hoped-for fusion reaction despite record-setting output from its lasers.

Administrators recently announced that NIF's mission was being changed from its original goal of achieving fusion, an energy producing reaction like the sun's. The facility will now be transitioned into a "user facility," where various researchers from around the world use the lasers in experiments.

"Star Trek" is often credited with inspiring many students to boldly pursue a career in science and technology. Livermore Lab's getting some recognition from Hollywood might help attract future lab employees and boost lab morale. But it might be bittersweet for many lab employees to be reminded of NIF's costly construction given recent news.

The lab, which is Livermore's largest employer with more than 6,500 workers, is hoping to cut 600 jobs in its latest round of reductions. Employees at the lab are being encouraged to take advantage of a voluntary separation program.

Employees volunteering to leave would be given one week of pay for every year of service, with a maximum of 26 weeks. If not enough employees take the offer, involuntary separations would likely be needed, administrators say.

Lab officials say they hope to avoid layoffs, and say these cuts are in anticipation of a reduction in their budget for 2014 by Congress and President Obama.

Having two parents and a grandfather who worked at the lab for many years and are now retired, I know what a great place of employment the lab can be. There are many projects that my grandfather, mother and father were proud to be a part of.

Let's hope that despite these recent reductions, those left at Livermore Lab can keep producing the type of work that inspires future scientists and moves us ever closer to "Star Trek"-type technological advances.