Category Archives: Uncategorized

An alarm issue at Y-12’s uranium storehouse

Earlier this year, there was an issue with the criticality accident alarm system at Y-12’s Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, which may contain the world’s largest inventory of bomb-grade uranium at any one site.heumfnight-thumb-620x412-14560.jpg

With that much fissionable material on hand, any abnormal happening that involves the criticality alarm system is taken seriously. In this case, according to a recently released activity report by staff of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the Plant Shift Superintendent office at Y-12 “received an alarm indicating a problem.” This was on a Saturday, April 23.

The Plant Shift Superintendent contacted the on-call shift manager for the uranium storage facility, who investigated the scene and “discovered that a CAAS (Criticality Accident Alarm System) equipment cabinet had experienced a rise in temperature that was above the “alarm set point.” Continue reading

End of June

I just wanted to get a brief note out earlier about my plans. I wanted to announce before somebody beat me to it. You know how journalists hate to get scooped.

CNS says 507 jobs already filled

michelle reichertConsolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants, clarified some details of its hiring campaign Wednesday and said about 500 of the new jobs — out of a total of 1,150 — are being filled at the Oak Ridge plant.

In a message to employees, Michelle Reichert, the contractor’s deputy enterprise manager, said CNS has already filled a total of 507 jobs at the two sites and plans to hire 300 more in the next three months.

According to Reichert, the new hires are needed to meet the additional workload at the two weapons plants. Continue reading

Young and empowered

IMG_5490Sara Speth makes a point with her 10-year-old daughter, Rebecca, while waiting to vote Tuesday morning at Farragut High School. (KNS/Munger photos)

It was about a 40-minute wait to vote this morning at Farragut High School, and Sara Speth used part of that time to give a civics lesson to her 10-year-old daughter, Rebecca. She talked to Rebecca about the voting process, the history of women gaining the right to vote, and the importance of voting.

Rebecca said the presidential primary has been a topic of discussion among her schoolmates at Farragut Intermediate, where she’s a fourth grader.

So, if Rebecca could vote, who would she have voted for?

“Hillary,” she said.

Why?

“Because she’s a girl.”

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Fleischmann comments on Omnibus Bill

fleischmanncut-thumb-234x189-27278.jpgHere’s a comment released from U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., whose congressional district includes Oak Ridge and the federal operations there.

“Today we passed a bill that in addition to keeping our government open and functioning will properly fund our military, rein in the IRS and lift the ban on American oil exports.  This bill is good for our economy and good for East Tennessee.  The Chickamauga Lock will move forward and the vital national security work done in Oak Ridge will continue.  As we move into a new year, with new House leadership, I am hopeful that we will continue to advance strong conservative principles.”

93.166%

The enrichment level of the uranium shipped in July from Y-12 to Mirion Technologies in July was 93.166 percent, according to Department of Transportation records. That level of U-235 is extremely high. As noted in previous posts, the shipment was flawed, with 10 times the intended amount being shipped to the New York company, violating multiple DOT regulations.

Richard Rhodes to speak

rhodesDistinguished historian and author Richard Rhodes, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other honors for “The Making of the Atomic Bomb,” will be in town later this week and speak at three events.

His upcoming appearances have generated a pitch of excitement unusual for visiting writers, likely because of his authoritative voice on topics so intertwined with the Oak Ridge A-bomb legacy and the ongoing research and production activities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, and other government operations. Continue reading