Review team develops UPF alternative, sends report to NNSA

Thom Mason

Thom Mason

The projected cost had passed $10 billion and the completion date pushed back to 2038, so federal officials were looking for an alternative approach to the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Earlier this year, the National Nuclear Security Administration asked Thom Mason, Oak Ridge National Laboratory director, to lead a team—a so-called “Red Team”—that would develop an alternative approach.

The team’s task was to find a faster, more efficient solution, NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held told a House subcommittee on April 3.

On Tuesday, the deadline for submitting a report, Mason said the team has identified a possible alternative and provided information on how the proposal could be implemented if the NNSA adopts it. The next step will be up to the NNSA. Y-12 is an NNSA site.

The goal is to still allow workers to get out of Y-12’s aging Building 9212 by 2025 and keep the cost within an approved range of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion, Mason said late Tuesday afternoon, when the report was being polished before transmittal. [Read more...]

Obituary: Derrell Malcolm Shores

Derrell Malcolm Shores

Derrell Malcolm Shores

Derrell Malcolm Shores, age 77, of Clinton, and formerly of Cocoa Beach, Fla., passed away Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at the Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge.

He was born May 1, 1936, in Nocatee, Fla., the son of Corine Shores. After graduation from high school, he entered the United States Air Force, where he served until 1963.

He retired from Publix Grocery Store in Cocoa Beach, Fla., where he was store manager. He had worked with Publix Grocery Stores in many locations for 36 years.

He and his wife, Judy Hillis King Shores, came to Oak Ridge from Cocoa Beach, Fla., eight years ago. They would have celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary on May 18. After his retirement, he began playing golf, a sport he learned to love passionately. He was also an avid reader. [Read more...]

USEC centrifuge agreement extended, but future uncertain as workers receive WARN notices

Centrifuge Machine Manufacturing

In Oak Ridge, USEC workers take part in centrifuge operations, testing, and manufacturing for the American Centrifuge Project. (Photos courtesy USEC)

Note: This story was last updated at 11:11 a.m.

The American Centrifuge Project, a program that would enrich uranium for commercial nuclear power plants and has operations in Oak Ridge, got a little extra time this week.

Several billions have already been spent and funding was set to expire April 15, but USEC announced Tuesday morning that the research, development, and demonstration agreement was extended through April 30. That was done at no additional cost to the taxpayer through “prudent management of existing program funds by USEC,” the company said in a press release.

In the meantime, USEC said it continues its discussions with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which could take over the management of the project for national security purposes. The DOE takeover was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing earlier this month.

The future of the project is not clear and several hundred workers have received notices that they could be laid off. On Friday, USEC Inc. spokesperson Paul Jacobson said the 60-day notices, which were effective March 19, were sent to 174 USEC employees in the Oak Ridge area and a total of 400 workers. Most of the other workers are in Piketon, Ohio, but there are also a few at USEC headquarters in Bethseda, Md. [Read more...]

Lee keeps seat on housing board despite Council member’s removal request

Anne Garcia Garland, Trina Baughn, and Chuck Hope

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday rejected a request to remove resident Joe Lee from a city housing board. Pictured above at left is Council member Anne Garcia Garland, who made the request. Also pictured are Council members Trina Baughn and Chuck Hope.

Note: This story was last updated at 11:20 p.m.

Those who wanted to remove Joe Lee from a municipal housing board said he had shown contempt for Oak Ridge City Council members, insulted traffic camera critics, embarrassed the city, and bullied others.

But those who wanted to keep him on the board said Lee ought to be given a second chance. They said he had performed well on the board—the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals—particularly when considering the city’s code violation cases against the Applewood Apartments.

On Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council rejected the request to remove Lee from the board. The proposal failed in a 2-4 vote.

Voting in favor of the removal were Council members Anne Garcia Garland and Trina Baughn. Voting against it were Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller and Council members Charlie Hensley, Chuck Hope, and David Mosby. [Read more...]

Council approves stoplight project at SR 95, Bethel Valley Road

Highway 95 and Bethel Valley Road Stoplight

Note: This story was updated at 11:30 p.m. March 14.

Hoping to improve safety, state officials plan to install a stoplight west of Oak Ridge National Laboratory at the intersection of State Route 95 and Bethel Valley Road.

The stoplight and other geometric improvements have been endorsed by Johnny O. Moore, U.S. Department of Energy manager at the ORNL Site Office.

“This intersection poses safety problems for the general public, as well as employees of ORNL, and these proposed improvements would be greatly appreciated,” Moore said in a Feb. 6 letter to Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson.

The project could cost $200,000. The Tennessee Department of Transportation would fund it through the Federal Highway Administration Highway Safety Project. Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd said this type of project qualifies for 100 percent federal funding.

On Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council approved an agreement that would make the city responsible for maintenance after the stoplight is built. The annual maintenance cost for the city is expected to be about $1,500. [Read more...]

Photos: Oak Ridge Egg Hunt on Saturday

Oak Ridge Egg Hunt

Hundreds of children hunt about 15,000 eggs during the annual Egg Hunt at Alvin K. Bissell Park in Oak Ridge on Saturday.

Hundreds of children hunted about 15,000 eggs during the annual Egg Hunt at Alvin K. Bissell Park in Oak Ridge on Saturday. Here are a half-dozen pictures.

[Read more...]

ORPD officer resigns to focus on campaign for sheriff

Randy Myers

Randy Myers

Note: This story was updated at 3:48 p.m. April 11.

Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Randy Myers is resigning so he can focus on campaigning full-time for sheriff.

His last day on the job will officially be Tuesday, April 15.

“We’re campaigning full-steam,” Myers said Thursday. “We’re fully committed.”

Myers, 48, started with the ORPD in 2007. He is a Republican candidate for Anderson County sheriff in the May 6 primary election, where he has one opponent, Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper Anthony Lay. The primary winner will face the incumbent, Sheriff Paul White, a Democrat, in the Aug. 7 county general election.

[Read more...]

Board orders demolition of five homes in Highland View

117 Wade Lane Home

A city board on Thursday declared this home at 117 Wade Lane to be unfit for human habitation and ordered it demolished within 90 days.

Note: This story was updated at 11:40 p.m.

From the outside, the homes look they’re in decent shape and not the worst in the neighborhood.

But inside and underneath, problems range from collapsing floors and settling foundations to leaking roofs and tens of thousands worth of mold damage.

On Thursday, a city board declared the five vacant homes to be unfit for human habitation, and members ordered them demolished within 90 days. The city could use federal money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to buy and demolish the homes. [Read more...]

Retired Air Force general confirmed as NNSA administrator

Retired Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz of the U.S. Air Force is pictured above in a Sept. 16, 2009, speech. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Retired Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz of the U.S. Air Force is pictured above in a Sept. 16, 2009, speech. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Acting Administrator Bruce Held returns to associate deputy secretary position

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed a retired U.S. Air Force general as the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the nuclear weapons work at the Y-12 National Security Complex and other federal sites.

Retired Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz is also the Energy Department’s under secretary for nuclear security.

Acting NNSA Administrator Bruce Held will return to his position as associate deputy secretary, a press release said.

“Lt. Gen. Klotz’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. “His breadth of military and national security leadership experience makes him uniquely suited to lead the NNSA, fulfilling its commitments to the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, naval reactor programs, and nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness efforts. [Read more...]

ASAP helps Anderson County students ‘Kick Butts’

ASAP of Anderson County Kick Butts Day

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up, and seize control against tobacco. This year, national Kick Butts Day was March 19, which Anderson County students celebrated the week of March 24 due to Spring Break.

Through partnerships between Anderson County Coordinated School Health, Clinton City Coordinated School Health, Oak Ridge Coordinated School Health, the Anderson County Health Department, and Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County, this Kick Butts Day was an amazing success, a press release said.

“We were very excited to partner with other school systems and organizations for Kick Butts Day,” said Kim Guinn, ACS coordinated school health director. “By working together, we were able to make a larger impact on our community. We all want to accomplish the same goal and see our students choose not to use tobacco.” [Read more...]

Oak Ridge loses first Battle of Solway Bridge, but coach vows victory next year

Hardin Valley High Jump

Hardin Valley won the trophy in the Battle of the Solway Bridge with Oak Ridge on Tuesday, but Oak Ridge Coach Allen Etheridge is already planning a victory next year.

Oak Ridge coach vows victory next year; Tuesday’s results posted below

Hardin Valley Academy won the trophy at the first Battle of the Solway Bridge track meet in Oak Ridge on Tuesday, but Wildcats Coach Allen Etheridge is already planning a victory at the second annual event.

“We’re planning two victory laps at HVA next year!” Etheridge joked in a Wednesday morning e-mail.

The Battle of the Solway Bridge at Ben Martin Track on Tuesday pitted two track powers against each other one-on-one.

“We will line up our best people in our best events against theirs,” Etheridge said before the meet. On Tuesday, Etheridge said dual meets like the Battle of the Solway Bridge are unusual. Most track meets feature five to 25 teams and sometimes more. [Read more...]

Republican forum: Issues range from jobs, retail to drug courts, trial experience

Anderson County Republican Party Forum

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, center, gives an opening statement during a Tuesday night candidate forum for Republican Party candidates. Also pictured are Anderson County Commissioner Zach Bates, left, who is challenging Frank in the May 6 GOP primary, and Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Randy Myers, one of two Republican candidates for sheriff.

Note: This story was last updated at 11:45 a.m.

The starkest differences between any candidates at a Tuesday night Republican Party forum might have emerged in the race for Anderson County chancellor, where candidates Michael Farley and Nicki Cantrell clashed on questions of trial experience and whether the Chancery Court should ever be used to hear criminal cases.

In the race for sheriff, Republican candidates Anthony Lay and Randy Myers agreed on one key question: No federal inmates should be housed at the Anderson County jail.

In the race for mayor, Terry Frank, the incumbent, said she had presided over one of the few—and possibly the only—tax cut in Anderson County history, while her opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates, said the county’s biggest economic challenge is “retail leakage.” [Read more...]