B&W says it rescued Y-12 from a low state

Y-12 aerial.jpg
B&W Y-12 photograph
Despite last year’s unthinkable security breach, which received worldwide attention and forced the U.S. Department of Energy to do a top-to-bottom review of all its facilities that house strategic nuclear materials, Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services says Y-12 is a lot better now than when the contractor took over management of the Oak Ridge plant in 2000.

That was the message in B&W’s response to a show-cause order from the National Nuclear Security Administration, which threatened to pull the company’s contract because of the security failures at the Oak Ridge plant.
Here’s an excerpt:
“When B&W Y-12 was first entrusted with responsibility for the management and operation of Y-12 in 2000, the site was widely viewed as one of the worst-performing sites within the Nuclear Security Enterprise. Its facilities were among the oldest and most decrepit. Technology was outdated. Production was sluggish, functioning at only 20 percent capacity. The maintenance costs to support the few operations that were running were exorbitant. Even the site’s physical footprint had become oversiized and unworkable, far too large for Y-12’s modern-day mission.
“B&W Y-12 implemented an aggressive, strategic vision for the future and pursued a revived, positive partnership with the NNSA that continues to this day. Over the course of the past 12 years, B&W Y-12 has vastly exceeded the essential terms, conditions, and expectations of its M&O contract. While the Security Event (of July 2012) certainly does not comport with B&W’s core values nor its standards of performance, that event, standing alone, does not diminish B&W Y-12’s proven track record of success in the past, nor its capacity to effectively address this issue now to ensure it never recurs.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.