NNSA: President’s budget request includes $326M for UPF at Y-12

Uranium Processing Facility

The proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex is pictured above. (Submitted image)

President Barack Obama’s budget request for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 includes $326 million for the Uranium Processing Facility project at the Y-12 National Security Complex, federal officials said this week.

The president’s proposed budget, which still has to be considered by Congress, was released last week. The National Nuclear Security Administration released details on Monday.

The NNSA has also posted highlights of the president’s budget request.

“Replacing the decaying 9212 facility at the Y-12 National Security complex is a critical investment in our future, and we’re close to beginning work on the new Uranium Processing Facility,” the highlights said. “As we near 90 percent design completion, we have continued to better refine our needs, how we’ll meet them, and exactly how much it will cost.”

The proposed UPF could cost up to $6.5 billion and employ up to 1,500 workers during the peak construction period. It’s been called the largest federal capital project in Tennessee since the Manhattan Project, and construction could last another decade.

Tennessee officials recently announced they will help companies that are already in the state and interested in working on the project, and recruit out-of-state businesses, particularly in the nuclear industry.

The NNSA budget highlights released Monday said the president’s proposed budget provides $7.9 billion for weapons activities, including for life extension programs, or LEPs, and dismantlement work, science and engineering, and supercomputing. Dismantlement rates have exceeded targets three years in a row, and in Fiscal Year 2012, the NNSA said it had a 112 percent dismantlement rate.

Obama’s budget request also includes $2.1 billion for NNSA nonproliferation programs and $1.2 billion to support the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered fleet. The highlights said 10 more countries are now free of highly enriched uranium, and three more will be by the end of 2013.

The NNSA said it has modernized its contracting approach, combining the Y-12 and Pantex Plant contracts, and changed its security culture, establishing “clear lines of authority” after the July 28 security breach at Y-12.

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