UPF to be built outside PIDAS

UPF Site RenderingThe National Nuclear Security Administration has confirmed that construction of the Uranium Processing Facility, a cluster of three buildings as conceived under the revised design strategy for the production complex, will take place outside the Protected Area of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge.

I asked for clarification  because there were previous plans to shrink the size of the Protected Area and relocate the Perimeter Intrusion Detection and Assessment System fencing as part the multibillion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility. That project, known as WEPAR (West End Protected Area Reduction), was cancelled.

NNSA Production Office spokesman Steven Wyatt this week indicated that construction of the UPF would be completed outside the PIDAS.

It’s obvious that at some point the high-security perimeter fencing will be reworked to incorporate UPF, especially as UPF becomes operational and processes bomb-grade uranium, but Wyatt would not discuss those plans.

“UPF will be constructed outside of the PIDAS,” Wyatt said, “We are unable to share additional information on future security plans at Y-12.”

Constructing the UPF outside of the Protected Area will presumably reduce the costs by allowing a workforce without obligatory Q security clearances.

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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.