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.
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
The number of nuclear engineering graduates increased at U.S. universities in 2015, resuming a growth trend that was interrupted by a one-year dip in 2014.
That was among the findings of an annual study conducted by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Continue reading
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.
Consolidated 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
Sara 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.
“Because she’s a girl.”
Maria Dill, who formerly worked for U.S. Reps. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., and Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, has joined the staff of U.S. Rep. Chuck Flesichmann, R-Tenn. — whose district includes Oak Ridge — as communications director. Dill is a Chattanooga native.
Micah Johnson, Sen. Bob Corker’s press secretary, has announced her departure to join Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. Continue reading
Here’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.”
A team from the Southern California Earthquake Center is using the Titan supercomputer — the nation’s most powerful science machine — to help better understand earthquake systems and do better-than-ever simutions. You can read more about it on the website of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Leadership Computing Facility.
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.
Distinguished 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