NNSA’s Harrington talks about ‘very painful process’ that followed Y-12 intrusion in 2012

NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington spoke today at a side event to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference in Vienna, and much of her talk focused on lessons learned from the July 28, 2012 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge. Here’s a link to a story at World Nuclear News.

K-31demolition to start in early Oct.


According to URS-CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR) spokesman Wayne McKinney, the demolition of the old K-31 building will likely begin in early October. That’s in line with earlier reports from DOE’s cleanup manager in Oak Ridge. The contractor has been doing pre-demolition work at K-31 for the past several weeks. Recent photo, above, shows that much of the siding has been removed from the 1.66-million-square-foot building to prepare for demolition. (DOE photo/Lynn Freeny)

Jeffrey Johnson named NNSA’s security chief

Jeffrey Johnson, who previously headed the Marine Corps’ civilian law enforcement, has been named chief of defense nuclear security for the National Nuclear Security Administration. He’ll also hold the title of associate administrator for NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Security.

His appointment is effective today, according to info distributed by NNSA. Continue reading

Indian security expert to speak

Retired Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar of the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore, India, will speak Wednesday (Sept. 24) at the University of Tennessee Institute for Nuclear Security’s  meeting. His lecture will be on current security issues in South Asia, according to information distributed by the UT institute. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Baker Center, 1640 Cumberland Ave., in Knoxville.


Complaint link short-circuited at Y-12/Pantex

Y12 gate_MP (2)Thousands of employees at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants were informed late last week that the link to the Office of Special Counsel — where whistleblower complaints can be lodged — did not work from the NNSA Production Office “cloud” or from the computer networks at Y-12 and Pantex.

“We have called the IG (Inspector General) office to notify them of the problem,” Lloyd D. Deserisy, the acting deputy manager of the NNSA Production Office, said in the message to employees. The cause of the problem was not immediately clear. Continue reading

Underwater camera may help find leak in reactor pool

Oak Ridge Research Reactor pool

The reactor pool at the Oak Ridge Research Reactor at ORNL, where workers are trying to pinpoint a leak. (UCOR photo). Below, inset, is an exterior look at the research reactor, which was shut down in the late 1980s. (DOE photo/Lynn Freeny)

DSC_0041Workers will use an underwater camera this weekend to help locate a leak in the reactor pool at one of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s old research reactors.

Mike Koentop, a spokesman in the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management, said a radiation monitor also will be lowered into the pool to better assess conditions and determine the radioactivity of pieces of metal stored there. The assessment could take two to three days to complete, he said.

Koentop said the leak at the Oak Ridge Research Reactor — which has been shut down since the 1980s — has remained consistent since it was discovered more than a week ago. The “seep rate” has been estimated at 100 drops per minute, and workers continue to monitor the leak. Continue reading

Brig. Gen. Stephen Davis assumes top military post at the NNSA

Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Davis has been named the National Nuclear Security Administration’s principal assistant deputy administrator for military application — the top military position at the Department of Energy – where he’ll assist Deputy Administrator Don Cook in directing the stockpile stewardship program. Continue reading

Procurement chief leaving UPF; Brown to take Bechtel post in UK; Swager named as replacement


Rich Brown, the architect of the procurement strategy and systems for the Uranium Processing Facility and a central force in developing a vendor community for the huge project, is leaving Y-12 for a Bechtel job in the United Kingdom. His departure, which had been rumored for weeks, was confirmed in an announcement this morning from Brian Reilly, the UPF project director for Consolidated Nuclear Security.

As Reilly noted, “For many in the supplier community, Rich has become synonymous with the project.”

Brown will be replaced by Mark Swager as manager of procurement for UPF. According to the announcement, Swager has more than 30 years of experience in supply chain management. Since 2005, he has been the acquisition services manager for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant in Colorado.

Here’s the announcement from Reilly: Continue reading

Ruptured water lines at ORNL

Sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning something happened in the city-delivered water system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The pressure change resulted in five line ruptures, and lab workers were asked Wednesday to avoid non-essential water use while the lab “valved off” some of the lines and got things back in order. Continue reading

DOE to replace failed Biomass Steam Plant at ORNL; contractor agrees to install natural gas system

The U.S. Department of Energy has reached agreement with its energy-savings contractor to replace the failed Biomass Steam Plant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a new high-efficiency unit fueled by natural gas.

Jbiomassohnny Moore, DOE’s on-site manager at ORNL, said the modified contract with Johnson Controls protects taxpayer interests and should provide a long-term solution to the lab’s steam needs.

“Our premise was we’ve got to have steam to deliver to the plant, and it was our goal to come up with a solution that was of least cost to the taxpayer,” Moore said in a telephone interview. He said he’s confident that the decision to switch to a natural gas system will prove successful. Continue reading