Monthly Archives: February 2014

Doesn’t this look like presidential fun?


This was a big event for Oak Ridge on Feb. 19, 1992, when Coors Ceramics signed a research agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It warranted a presidential visit or maybe the visit deserved  a signing. From left, Joe Coors Jr., President George Bush, ORNL Director Alvin Trivelpiece, then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander, and U.S. Rep. Jimmy Quillen. (Department of Energy archives/Frank Hoffman photo)

Strata-G awarded mercury work at Y-12

mercurysignStrata-G,  a small business based in Knoxville, has received contract work from the Department of Energy to collect data and characterize samples at a proposed mercury-sampling site at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge.

According to info released by DOE, the “task order” is part of a five-year multi-phase contract that’s valued at about $15 million. Continue reading

Y-12 GM promises transparency during transition

richrdsondaveHere’s what B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Dave Richardson said in a message to employees following the GAO decision that dismissed the protest on the Y-12/Pantex contract award:

“The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a statement yesterday on the protest filed by Nuclear Production Partners (NPP) regarding the NNSA’s awarding of the combined Y-12/Pantex contract to Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS).

“The GAO did not release its full decision, but in a brief statement said it denied the latest protest from NPP, the Babcock & Wilcox-led team, and reaffirmed the $22 billion contract award to CNS, the Bechtel-led team. Continue reading

Eschenberg: Scaling back some UPF activities until future direction clarified

photo (21)-004UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg, right, poses with Howard Hall, director of UT’s Institute for Nuclear Security, before Eschenberg’s talk Thursday night at the Baker Center.

UPF Federal Project John Eschenberg spoke Thursday evening at the University of Tennessee’s Baker Center as part of the ongoing lecture series by the Institute for Nuclear Security. It was pretty much’s Eschenberg’s standard talk on UPF, which combines a bit of Y-12 history, emphasizes the deteriorated state of the old, built-in-World-War-II facilities, and sets the case for economic development in the region while building a supply chain for good and services and helping revitalize the nation’s industrial base via work on this multibillion-dollar project.

Eschenberg also fielded questions, and after his talk I asked him about the Red Team review that’s looking at less-expensive alternatives to the UPF. I also asked him for some specifics about the reported scaling back of design activities until there’s a more certain sense of the project’s direction. Continue reading

Bruce Held: ‘We hope to move forward expeditiously’

Bruce Held, acting administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, was traveling this evening but I managed to catch up with him by email to get his reaction to GAO’s ruling. The decision appears to clear the way for installing the combined contractor management team at Y-12 and Pantex.

“We have sincerely tried to follow the tenets of good government in this award and so are pleased that the GAO decision (which I have not yet actually seen) would seem to endorse that effort,” Held said. “I am very proud of Bob Raines and all the others in NNSA who have worked so hard on this.” Continue reading

Eschenberg at UT

photo (21)-003

UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg spoke tonight at the Baker Center at the University of Tennessee. It was part of a series sponsored by the Institute for Nuclear Security.

Summary on GAO’s big ruling: what’s next?

0140052-03After being stalled for more than a year by contract protests, the change of federal contractors at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants may be on the verge of resuming.

On Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third protest filed by Nuclear Production Partners, a team headed by Babcock & Wilcox, which was one of the losing bidders on the $22 billion contract. The contract combines the management of the government facilities in Oak Ridge and Amarillo, Texas. Continue reading

Closing of Graphite Reactor (1963)


Crowded ceremony on Nov. 4, 1963, marked the closing of the historic Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The reactor, designated a National Historic Landmark, was the world’s first continuously operated nuclear reactor. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)

NNSA to proceed with Y-12/Pantex contractor transition ‘as soon as possible’

In the wake of the Government Accountability Office denial of NP2’s protest on the Y-12/Pantex contract award, the NNSA said it plans to move forward with the transition to a new contractor at the two nuclear weapons sites as soon as possible.

Here’s a statement released by NNSA spokeswoman Keri Fulton: Continue reading

B&W ‘disappointed,’ will consider its options

After learning of today’s decision that denied its protest on the Y-12/Pantex contract award, Babcock & Wilcox said it was disappointed. B&W, which headed Nuclear Production Partners, one of losing bid teams, said it would evaluate the  GAO decision and consider its options.

One apparent option would be to change protest venues. It’s possible that NP2 could challenge the $22 billion contract award in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Continue reading