I’ve written a few posts about NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held authorizing a Red Team to look for alternatives to the Uranium Processing Facility, including what ORNL Director Thom Mason (who’s heading team) had to say about the team’s goals and methods.
But there were more specifics about the administrator’s preferred “alternative approach” to UPF in a Jan. 24 memo by staff of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board assigned to Y-12. According to the weekly report: Continue reading
Pro2Serve today announced that Mark A. Haub will become the company’s chief financial officer/treasurer, replacing Paul Martin. Martin retired earlier this month.
Haub is a certified public accountant, who holds degrees from Illinois State University and the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern) and has more than 20 years as a senior financial executive. Continue reading
The so-called Red Team evaluating alternatives to the Uranium Processing Facility arrived Monday for its first visit to the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant and apparently will spend most of this week getting an up-close look at the plant’s uranium operations – some of which are still conducted in World War II-era facilities.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason is heading the team, which is supposed to come up with safe, secure and – perhaps most importantly – affordable options to the ultra-expensive Uranium Processing Facility.
According to some reports, the projected cost of the UPF had significantly outgrown the government’s previously estimated range of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion and was likely to exceed $10 billion if it continued on the same design path. One estimate attributed to a Defense Department evaluation team suggested the UPF, as envisioned, could cost as much as $19 billion. Continue reading
Meg Mirshak has a piece in the Augusta Chronicle that fleshes out the decision to place the MOX facility on cold standby and what that means to the region.
“For nearly two decades, the Augusta and Aiken areas have been riding waves of uncertainty concerning Savannah River Site’s mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility. Another wave’s here.”
Some of the radioactive debris uncovered recently at the Uranium Processing Facility work site were nine deep feet, according to National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Steven Wyatt.
That may help explain why a screening of the area on Y-12′s west end didn’t identify the rad remnants before the work began. It sounds more and more like the workers uncovered an old, impromptu burial site at the Oak Ridge plant. Continue reading
I talked with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason, who’s heading the Red Team evaluating alternatives to the uber-expensive Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12, and he said there was a kickoff video conference last week with NNSA acting chief Bruce Held to get everybody familiar with plans and expectations.
Mason said the team is about 25 strong, and they’ve been loaded down with documents to get familiar with the uranium operations before starting the review. The Red Team is apparently scheduled to show up at Y-12 on Monday (March 10) for their first up-close examination of what’s done — and what’s needed — at the Oak Ridge plant. Continue reading
Traffic at Downtown Center, Oak Ridge, in May 1960. (Department of Energy archives/T.R. Cook photo)
The National Nuclear Security Administration today released some additional information about the radioactive debris recently uncovered during work on a road project at Y-12 to prepare for the Uranium Processing Facility.
UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg mentioned the discovery during a talk last week at the University of Tennessee, where he noted a “legacy piece of radioactive material” was detected during the work. When asked about the radioactive find after the talk, he downplayed the issue. He said the radioactivity was from a piece of concrete and likely due to naturally occurring materials. “As it turns out, I don’t think it’s radioactive material that’s linked to the plant,” Eschenberg said.
Today, however, the NNSA said a number of radioactive items had been uncovered at the Y-12 work site where a haul road is being constructed, and spokesman Steven Wyatt said the rad material had been identified as depleted uranium and was linked to past operations at the Oak Ridge plant. Continue reading
Consolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s new contractor for the combined management of the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plant, has activated its website and posted some information regarding the transition. Barring additional challenges to the contract award, CNS will replace B&W Y-12 and B&W Pantex as managing contractor at the sites in Tennessee and Texas, with the full transition expected to take four months. Continue reading
The reevaluation of the Uranium Processing Facility and the potential for project changes has already impacted some plans at the site, such as postponed work on the major excavation of dirt. Federal Project Director John Eschenberg talked about some of those issues following his recent talk at the University of Tennessee. Continue reading
At its March 12 meeting, the Department of Energy’s environmental advisory panel will have a presentation on the FY 2016 environmental management budget and prioritization. According to info distributed by the Site Specific Advisory Board, the presentation will be the same one that was scheduled for the Feb. 12 that got canceled due to bad weather.
The meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center, 1 Science.gov Way. Continue reading
I talked to Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason this afternoon during an airport stopover in Washington, D.C., on his way home from Switzerland, where he serves on the advisory board at the Paul Scherrer Institute outside Zurich. ORNL and the Scherrer Institute have a number of common research strengths.
Mason was out of the country yesterday when parts of the President’s proposed federal budget were released, and so I was anxious to get his comments on the FY 2015 outlook for ORNL based the early info. He noted that a lot of the funding tables haven’t yet been released, so a lot of the information reflects program summaries. For instance, he said there are figures for the Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences, but no breakouts at this point on funding for the Spallation Neutron Source or the High Flux Isotope Reactor or the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge. Continue reading
As a follow-up to Oak Ridge High School’s recent victory in the Tennessee Science Bowl, I posted a short science quiz over at Knoxnews.com — using some of the sample questions that the really bright kids used to practice for the competition.
Here are 10 questions to test your science knowledge. Good luck. The answers are the bottom, but no peeking til you’re done. Continue reading