Jim Haynes, president of Consolidated Nuclear Security, said he didn’t think involuntary reductions — layoffs — would be necessary as the new contractor tries to get the Y-12 workforce to the size needed for future operations. He said CNS believes the Voluntary Separation Program will be effective. (B&W Y-12, the current contractor at Y-12, is conducting the VSP based on CNS’ staffing plans.)

“Basically, we think there’s going to be an oversubscription for the voluntary (program),” Haynes said. “There are a large number of people who are eligible for retirement who are looking for the right time to move on to retirement. So, I think if they’re given the opportunity to take a voluntary package and not deal with the stuff that comes from a change (of contractors), they will take the opportunity.” Continue reading

ORNL’s Wagner wins E.O Lawrence Award

wagnerJohn Wagner, research engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is a recipient of the Department of Energy’s Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for his work in advancing computer, information and knowledge sciences. He is one of six honorees with the 2013 award that honors Nobel Laureate who was the inventor of the cyclotron.

In a ceremony later this year in Washington, D.C., Wagner and the other honorees will receive a medal and a $20K honorarium.

Wagner is national technical director for DOE’s Nuclear Fuels Storage and Transportation Planning Project. He was honored for his work in the field of computational radiation transport. Continue reading

Extension of Y-12 labor agreement may be near

Jim Haynes, president of Consolidated Nuclear Security, today said the incoming contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant has given its blessing to a one-year extension of the contract agreement with the Atomic Trades and Labor Council. In turn, B&W Y-12, the existing (and outgoing) contractor, is negotiating such an extension with the umbrella union organization in Oak Ridge. Continue reading

Not yet on new UT-Battelle contract

laclair-001Back in December, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann brought the news to Oak Ridge that UT-Battelle, the managing contractor at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory since 2000, was going to get another contract extension. While ORNL Director Thom Mason noted that it wasn’t quite a done deal and still required a newly negotiated contract, he was obviously pleased.

It’s been a few months since then, and Mason this week said that those negotiations have not yet begun. But he didn’t sound worried. In fact, he sounded more comfortable about the contract situation than he did back in December. Continue reading

CNS chief says there is no ‘slash-and-burn’ strategy in the works at Y-12 and Pantex

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CNS President and CEO Jim Haynes in the corridor at Y-12′s New Hope Center.

Consolidated Nuclear Security has promised to save the government more than $3 billion over the next 10 years by efficiently combining the management of the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants.

That cost commitment was a big reason why CNS — a partnership headed by Bechtel National — won the contract competition for the $22 billion federal contract. But it also generated much anxiety among workers at the sites in Oak Ridge and Amarillo, Texas, who worried that those cost savings were going to come directly at the expense of their jobs and their benefits.

With the transition of contractors now underway, CNS President and CEO Jim Haynes is stating his case — in meetings this week with Y-12 employees and in a Wednesday interview at New Hope Center — that the cost cuts won’t all come immediately and won’t be as painful as many people seem to think. Continue reading

This is a test — repeat, this is only a test

I was in New Hope Center this morning when an emergency exercise was conducted at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, simulating a hydrogen fluoride release inside the 9212 uranium-processing complex. Apparently the exercise was a success, but the periodic announcements over the public address system made it a little difficult to conduct an interview at the site. Such is life in the nuclear world.

NNSA: minimizing disruption a priority

The National Nuclear Security Administration directed its contractors at Y-12 and Pantex to carry out Voluntary Separation Programs to prepare for the contractor transition and to implement the staffing plan of Consolidated Nuclear Security, the soon-to-be managing contractor for the two sites combined. But NNSA spokesman Steven Wyatt said the agency had no details to share at this time. Continue reading

Message to Pantex employees

0140052-05The 3,100 employees at B&W Pantex, the managing contractor at the Pantex warhead assembly/disassembly center, today received a message from President and General Manager John Woolery that outlined plans for a Voluntary Separation Program. The message was similar to one that counterpart at Y-12, B&W Y-12 President and GM Dave Richardson, delivered to the Oak Ridge workforce.

Here’s Woolery’s message to staff: Continue reading

Workforce reductions in the works at Y-12, Pantex

B&W Y-12 announced Tuesday it would carry out a “voluntary separation program” to reduce the workforce as part of the transition of contractors at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants.

In a message to employees, B&W President and General Manager Dave Richardson said the workforce reduction will help carry out the staffing plan of the incoming contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security.

Jason Bohne, a spokesman for CNS, said the overall workforce reductions at Y-12 and Pantex are expected to be under 5 percent. About 4,300 employees are currently on the payroll at B&W Y-12, while the number at B&W Pantex is about 3,100. Continue reading

Red Team: down to the wire

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason, who headed the Red Team review of alternatives to the Uranium Processing Facility, said he expected to submit the team’s report to NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held by the close of business today — the assigned deadline for the expert review of Y-12′s uranium missions.

“We’re working to get that done,” Mason said around noon. He said the final touches were being applied to the team’s report, which also was undergoing a classification review. Continue reading