Pantex union chief: ‘The crowd is angry’

pantexsignPantex union member expresses his feelings on sign. (photo by News Channel 10/Amarillo)

Clarence Rashada, president of the Metal Trades Council at Pantex, said union workers remain upset by proposed changes to their benefits, and he said that was primary reason for the rejection of Consolidated Nuclear Security’s final contract offer and their vote to strike.

The Metal Trades Department in Washington is reviewing the final proposal and will decide whether or not to authorize the strike by about 1,100 Pantex workers. If the Metal Trades Department authorizes a strike, it will begin at midnight Friday.

“The crowd is angry,” Rashada said. Continue reading

Pantex workers vote to strike

Union workers at the Pantex nuclear weapons plant have voted to strike, and they are waiting on authorization from the Metal Trades Department in Washington, D.C., according to Clarence Rashada, president of the Metal Trades Council at Pantex. Rashada said a two-thirds majority of workers voted to strike. If the strike is authorized by the Metal Trades Department, workers will officially be out on strike at midnight Friday, when the current contract expires, he said. Continue reading

Installing new equipment may help get out of old 9212

9212Parts of the 9212 uranium-processing complex were constructed during the World War II Manhattan Project, raising continuing questions about the safety of the old processing equipment and facilities. (NNSA photo)

The goal in modernizing operations at Y-12 is to get out of the World War II-era 9212 complex — the main uranium production facility — which is aged and deteriorated with process equipment that is of safety concern. In order to get there, however, the National Nuclear Security Administration and its Y-12 contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security, plans to install a new $40 million Calciner — a rotating kiln used to convert uranium-bearing solutions (including mop water from production areas) to an oxide form — in the 9212 complex itself. This reportedly will avoid having to use some of the antiquated purification facility and prepare to remove some of the “low-equity” highly enriched uranium at the old production complex and greatly reduce the inventory there. Continue reading

NNSA ‘hopeful’

pantex1Consolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Pantex and Y-12 nuclear weapons plants, did not respond to a request for comment and info regarding the labor situation at Pantex — where union workers with the Metal Trades Council were reportedly voting today on a contract proposal. The MTC leadership also has not commented in recent days, with the existing contract reportedly due to expire at midnight Friday, the 28th of August. The two sides have been negotiating, off and on, since early this year.

Steven Wyatt, lead spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Production Office, which oversees both Y-12 and Pantex, issued this brief statement: Continue reading

Bechtel seeks small-biz interest on UPF support facility

upfbldgpicBechtel National Inc., which is managing work on the Uranium Processing Facility under a subcontract to Consolidated Nuclear Security, is seeking expressions of interest on a big (about 120,000 square feet) building to support fabrication and test activities for UPF. In addition, there would be a need for a nearby warehouse with 150,000 square feet of “standard open warehouse space.”

According the notice published this week on the Federal Business Opportunities website, Bechtel wants to identify “prospective and qualified” small businesses for a facility to be located within about 15 miles of the Y-12 National Security Complex — where UPF is to be constructed. Continue reading

Advisory panel to host mercury cleanup discussion

mercuryinsoil-thumb-400x378-26951.jpgThe Sept. 9 meeting of the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board will include a presentation on the Department of Energy’s mercury cleanup strategy and plans for a new mercury treatment facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Jason Darby, DOE’s project manager for the Outfall 200 treatment facility, will be among the speakers. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, 1 Science.gov Way.

Here’s the advisory board’s agenda: Continue reading

Oak Ridge counterintelligence officer on paid leave pending death probe

A counterintelligence officer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the Aug. 2 violent death of his Irish son-in-law in Davidson County, N.C.

David Keim, communications director at ORNL, confirmed that Thomas Martens is on leave with pay “while this investigation continues.” Continue reading

Y-12 contractor in squabble over rent at classified documents storage facility

A U.S. government classified nuclear records storage facility is pictured in an undated photo. An Oak Ridge businessman said he may be forced to file bankruptcy because a federal contractor has unfairly reduced its rental payments Ð from $54,000 a month to $35,000 Ð for the facility that houses the Y-12 nuclear weapons plantÕs classified documents. (COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL/SPECIAL TO THE NEWS SENTINEL)

The Offsite Record Storage Facility, located at a ridgetop site known as The Summit, houses classified nuclear documents for the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. The owner of the facility, Nathaniel Revis, is in a dispute with Consolidated Nuclear Security about reduced rental payments. Revis said the money flow isn’t enough to maintain operations and could force him into bankruptcy. (photo/Colliers International)

An Oak Ridge businessman this week said he may be forced to file bankruptcy because a federal contractor has unfairly reduced its rental payments — from $54,000 a month to $35,000 — for a ridgetop facility that houses the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant’s classified documents.

Consolidated Nuclear Security, which manages Y-12, said it is fully adhering to terms of the lease agreement that called for a reduction in payments once the original 10-year contract expired — in April — and entered its option years. Continue reading

CD-1 milestone on proposed mercury-treatment facility; cost estimate rises to $146M

mercurysignSue Cange, the Department of Energy’s environmental manager in Oak Ridge, said the team has received approval from DOE headquarters to proceed with design of a new mercury-treatment facility at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant.

Cange said the “project management executive” in Washington recently approved Critical Decision-1 for the project, establishing the preliminary baseline range. According to Mike Koentop, executive officer in the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, the estimated cost of the project has risen from about $120 million to $146 million.

The increase is reportedly tied to DOE’s agreement with environmental regulators earlier this year that adds capacity to collect and store up to 2 million gallons of storm water (to prevent the release of contaminated water during storms). Continue reading

Guess to oversee nuclear safety

glassConsolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants, has hired Ken Guess to be director of nuclear safety oversight. According to information released by CNS, Guess served 25 years as a nuclear submarine officer with the U.S. Navy. Most recently, he was power ascension test director in TVA’s Operational Readiness Department for Watts Bar Nuclear Unit 2.

Guess holds engineering degrees from the University of Tennessee and the University of Houston. He also has received nuclear power certifications from the Navy Nuclear Power School and Nuclear Propulsion Training Unit, according to the news release.

Cange and Robbins at ETEBA

Sue Cange, the Department of Energy’s environmental manager in Oak Ridge, and Teresa Robbins, deputy manager of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Production Office, will be guest speakers at a Sept. 24 meeting of the Energy Technology and Environmental Business Association. The dinner meeting will be held at Riverside Grille in Oak Ridge, with social time starting at 5:30 p.m. Cange and Robbins were originally scheduled to speak at a June meeting, but that was postponed.

Obama administration adds $1B in energy loan guarantees

The Obama administration today announced more than $1 billion in loan guarantees potentially available for  “commercial-scale distributed energy projects.” The news release said an example of qualifying projects would be roof-top solar with storage and smart-grid technology. The announcement was made at the National Clean Energy Summit in Nevada. Continue reading