Y-12 completes risk-reduction project ahead of schedule, under budget

stack110 599892As part of the Nuclear Facilities Risk Reduction Project at Y-12, two of the emission stacks at the 9212 uranium-processing complex were combined. An old filtration system also was replaced. Numerous other improvements were to reduce risks to workers at the Oak Ridge site. (NNSA photo)

The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant has completed a six-year project that’s supposed to reduce the risks at two of the plant’s key production operations.

According to an announcement by the National Nuclear Security Administration, the $75.7 million project was completed nearly 11 months ahead of its schedule and about $5.6 million under budget. The Nuclear Facilities Risk Reduction Project was originally scheduled for completion in 2016, the federal agency said.

The work focused on Building 9212 and Beta-2E, where the work includes the assembly and disassembly of nuclear warhead parts.

The Y-12 project included “upgrades to mechanical, electrical, ventilation, and heating/cooling systems for enriched uranium operations,” the NNSA stated in its release. The tasks were designed to make the production operations  safer for workers.

Among the many activities were replacement of major parts of a 40‑year‑old ventilation system and consolidation of 11 “steam stations.”

In a statement, federal manager Steve Erhart said the project was “a really big step toward upgrading facilities in dire need of investment.”

He added: “The infrastructure improvements at the 9212 Building will enable the 70 year facility to continue to safely operate until replaced by the Uranium Processing Facility.”

Y-12 is operated by Consolidated Nuclear Security, which took over management on July 1, 2014, succeeding B&W Y-12 — which had managed the plant for more than a decade. CNS is a partnership that’s headed by Bechtel National and includes Lockheed Martin, ATK Launch Services, and SOC. Booz Allen Hamilton is a subcontractor.

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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.