CNS spokesman: ‘No current employees will be transferred to Reston’

Y12 gate_MP (2)As posted earlier in the day, Consolidated Nuclear Security — the NNSA’s managing contractor for Y-12 and Pantex — is proceeding with its plan to put design and construction work on the Uranium Processing Facility into the hands of its corporate parent, Bechtel National.

The plan is supposed to bring more of Bechtel’s engineering and construction expertise to the multibillion-dollar project without amping up the management fee or adding to the overall cost of UPF. A spokesman for Consolidated Nuclear Security answered some questions about the change in the works. Continue reading

New DOE pilot program for clean energy includes six national labs (not ORNL)

The Dept. of Energy this week announced a new $2.3 million pilot program — called Lab-Corps — to “accelerate the transfer of innovative clean energy technologies from the DOE’s National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace.” The purpose is to train and empower lab researchers to move their discoveries into “high-impact, real world technologies” in the private sector, DOE said. Continue reading

ORNL’s Bldg. 3019 was water victim

3019Last month’s water hammer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, apparently caused by abnormal conditions in the city of Oak Ridge distribution, burst a number of pipes at the lab, and one of the impacted facilities was Building 3019 — an aged and sensitive nuclear facility that houses the government’s stockpile of uranium-233.

The uranium stocks apparently weren’t affected by the problem, which occurred shortly after midnight on Sept. 17, but a couple of contaminated rooms in the basement of 3019 reportedly received a minor flood from a burst pipe. The result was a couple of inches of standing water in contaminated areas that required a cleanup action by DOE contractor Isotek. Continue reading

Y-12 contractor moving forward with plan to shift UPF work to Bechtel

UPFThe Uranium Processing Facility headquarters is located on Union Valley Road in Oak Ridge.

reillyConsolidated Nuclear Security, the Bechtel-led partnership that manages the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants, is moving forward with a plan to shift the design and construction role for the Uranium Processing Facility to its parent company, Bechtel National.

Brian Reilly, the UPF project director for CNS (pictured, left), made the announcement to employees today, and the “migration” was discussed in a meeting at New Hope Center.

The UPF work will be done under a CNS subcontract to Bechtel, but the majority of the work will reportedly continue to be performed in Oak Ridge.

“The migration to BNI promises significant advantages that will help us build the UPF that this nation requires,” Reilly’s message to employees stated. Continue reading

Phophetic or just a cocky moment?


John Schuchardt, one of the original “Plowshares Eight,” stands outside the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge on July 5, 2010.

Two years before the stunning-break-in at Y-12 on July 28, 2012, which turned the government’s nuclear security program upside down, a peace activist — one of the original Plowshares protesters — essentially predicted such an action. Continue reading

Record year for ORNL tech transfer

ornlsignOak Ridge National Laboratory today said Fiscal Year 2014 was a record year for technology transfer, with the lab receiving $3 million in licensing receipts and royalties from the agreements. The fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

ORNL also said tech transfer is on a “strong upward trend,” relying on new methods to improve the federal laboratory’s connections with private industry. A study released earlier this year by the Brookings Institution recommended a number of ways for the Department of Energy’s laboratories to have a greater impact on regional economies. Continue reading

Back when folks wore fancy hats


The war was over, and on Sept. 29, 1945, there was one of multiple luncheons for the presentation of Army-Navy “E” Awards to recognize the production efforts for the World War II Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge. As can be seen in this photo, the folks got dressed up for the occasion. Click on photograph to enlarge. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott)

Emergency exercise at ORAU

Emergency responders from Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the Oak Ridge Police Department will conduct an exercise on Wednesday (Oct. 29) at ORAU’s main campus. Because of that, the ORAU Center for Science Education will be closed to the public from 8 a.m. to noon, the announcement said.

Another setback at Spallation Neutron Source

sns1Aerial view of the Spallation Neutron Source (ORNL photo)

SNS Building MarkerAnother target vessel has apparently failed at the Spallation Neutron Source, forcing the shutdown of systems only a week after they’d been restarted following two other problems. The SNS will be down for at least 2 1/2 weeks, once again requiring experiments to be rescheduled.

“It’s a big source of frustration for everybody,” Kevin Jones, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Research Accelerator Division, said this morning. “We’ve just got to work through it, solve the problem and move on. That’s what we’ve got to do.” Continue reading

UCOR banks fee of $3.2M

k25demoThis is some news that apparently slipped through and didn’t get reported in a timely way. According to the Department of Energy, the agency’s Oak Ridge cleanup contractor — URS-CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR) — received a total fee of about $3.22 million out of a maximum possible $3.43M for the first half of Fiscal Year 2014.

The contractor (since August 2011) was notified of the fee award in a July 3 letter from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. The letter was signed by Sue Cange, the acting environmental manager and the fee determination official for the period of Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Continue reading

No word on ORAU’s contract

orauOak Ridge Associated Universities is late in the 9th year of its contract to manage the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. How long this long-term relationship will last is uncertain at this point.

The existing contract was initially awarded Jan. 1, 2006 for a five-year period, with a five-year option that got picked up and is due to expire Dec. 31, 2015.

After that? Continue reading