Monthly Archives: May 2015

Search for Eschenberg’s successor at UPF

upfbldgpicAs noted in recent posts, John Eschenberg has stepped down as federal project director for the Uranium Processing Facility — one of the biggest government projects of recent times — and the National Nuclear Security Administration will be looking for his successor in coming weeks and months. Dale Christenson, the deputy federal project director for the past five years, is acting in the top position on an interim basis and reportedly will be a candidate for the post on a permanent basis. Continue reading

DOE settles dispute with environmental regulators

mercury1-thumb-590x442-18189.jpgMike Koentop, the executive officer of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, said the agency had resolved a formal dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation regarding a new mercury-treatment facility at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. Continue reading

Y-12 fence repaired for $4.9K

As reported earlier this month, the new security fence at the front of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant was damaged by a motor vehicle. Federal spokesman Steven Wyatt said the fence has now been repaired at a cost of about $4,900. Still no word on who was responsible for the incident.

NNSA postpones tritium contract decision until 2016

tritiumThe National Nuclear Security Administration has postponed its decision on whether to meld the tritium operations at Savannah River into the combined Y-12/Pantex management contract held by Consolidated Nuclear Security.

The decision had been expected sometime this spring or summer, roughly a year after the CNS startup and in time for a possible transition into the start of FY 2016, but now it’s not expected until sometime next year.  NNSA spokeswoman Shelley Laver was not specific, saying there is “no specific date to revisit the decision.” Continue reading

Four from ORNL get early-career grants

earlycareerGrant winners from left are Christian Engelmann, Cory Hauck, Katharine Page and Chad Parish. (ORNL photos)

Four researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive at least $500K a year a year for the next five years as part of a Department of Energy program to boost the work of scientists and engineers early in their careers. All told, 44 scientists across the U.S. received the early-career grants.

Here are the four from ORNL: Continue reading

A couple of IG reports

igThe Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General released a couple of reports this week. An audit report on DOE management of spare parts at selected sites including a review of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The IG said spare parts are of critical importance at high-hazard nuclear facilities because they ensure continuity of operations.

“Although Oak Ridge National Laboratory appropriately managed spare parts in its nuclear facilities, it did not track all spare parts inventories for non-nuclear applications,” the report stated. Continue reading

Negotiations continue at Pantex

pantex2There’s apparently no major news to report at this point, but Clarence Rashada, president of the Metal Trades Council at the Pantex warhead assembly/disassembly plant, said talks with the government’s contractor are continuing.

“We’re just continuing to negotiate at the table,” Rashada said this morning. The existing labor contract expired at Pantex in February and talks with Consolidated Nuclear Security have continued since then.

The Metal Trades Council represents about 1,200 hourly workers at Pantex. Continue reading