Still on: AFORR annual meeting today to feature well-known photographer

Ron McConathy

Ron McConathy

Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation will hold its annual meeting in the Social Room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center at 7 p.m. today (Thursday, February 26). The featured speaker is Ron McConathy, a well-known local photographer.

Organizers rescheduled the meeting from last week because of weather. Virginia Dale of AFORR confirmed today that the meeting will proceed tonight.

Snow across East Tennessee on Wednesday night and Thursday morning postponed many events again on Thursday, and local school systems were closed. But main roads and many side streets in Oak Ridge appeared to be in good condition by early Thursday afternoon.

During tonight’s meeting, McConathy will present a slide presentation of nature at its finest, with emphasis on the flora and fauna found on the Oak Ridge Reservation, a press release said. The event will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the opportunities and challenges facing conservation on the Oak Ridge Reservation, which has more than 20,000 acres.


Anderson government closed; Y-12, Oak Ridge, UCOR, DOE, ORAU start late

Snow in Oak Ridge on Feb. 26, 2015

Several inches of snow fell in Oak Ridge and across East Tennessee overnight. (Photo by Bruce Phillips)


Note: This story was last updated at 9:23 a.m.

Several inches of snow fell in East Tennessee overnight, and there are more closings and delays because of weather and road conditions.

The Y-12 National Security Complex is still clearing some areas at the site. Non-essential employees should delay arrival at the site until 11 a.m. UPF Offsite Offices also should delay until 11 a.m. Personnel are urged to use caution when driving and walking throughout the site and to use designated snow routes.

Anderson County government offices will be closed Thursday. The Roane County Courthouse is also closed. [Read more…]


NNSA finishes upgrades at Y-12 enriched uranium buildings ahead of schedule, under budget

Y-12 Building 9212 Stack 110

At Building 9212, Stacks 110 and 43 were combined, which eliminated use of one exhaust stack. Further improvements on the project at the Y-12 National Security Complex included the old bag filtration system being replaced with a new cartridge dust collector, shown here. (Photos courtesy NNSA)


Project provides critical infrastructure upgrades in Building 9212

The National Nuclear Security Administration has completed a major capital improvement project that has resulted in critical infrastructure upgrades to two key production buildings at the Y-12 National Security Complex. The $75.7 million project was completed nearly 11 months ahead of the construction completion schedule and approximately $5.6 million under budget.

The Nuclear Facilities Risk Reduction, or NFRR, project included upgrades to mechanical, electrical, ventilation, and heating/cooling systems for enriched uranium operations in Buildings 9212 and 9204-2E. The project began in 2008, when 10 tasks were identified and undertaken to make those facilities safer for operations. The project was originally scheduled for completion in 2016.

Improvements include major portions of a 40‑year‑old ventilation system being replaced, and 11 steam stations being consolidated into seven with improved function and maintainability. Several upgrades, replacements, and modifications have been made to electrical switchgear and motor control center systems, and a Kathabar system was replaced with a more environmentally friendly brine chiller. [Read more…]



Friday: OR Schools closed; AC Courthouse, Y-12 open at 8

Note: This story was updated at 10:02 p.m.

Oak Ridge Schools will be closed Friday, and the Anderson County Courthouse and Y-12 National Security Complex will open at 8 a.m.

The offices of the Anderson County Clerk and Trustee will not open until 10 a.m.

“County officials still urge that Anderson County citizens stay safe and use extreme caution if citizens must be out and about,” a statement said. “County officials will continue monitoring the weather, and if it worsens earlier than anticipated on Friday, the Courthouse and other county government offices will be closed early.” [Read more…]

Updated: Thursday closings—schools, Y-12, Roane State, AC Courthouse

Oak Ridge Turnpike and Bus Terminal Road Snow on Feb. 18, 2015

Schools and many offices remained closed Thursday after a icy winter storm on Monday followed by this snow on Wednesday morning.


Note: This story was updated at 10:21 a.m. Feb. 19.

The temperature the next few days is expected to be brutally cold, and schools and some government offices and contractors have announced they’ll be closed Thursday, or for the rest of the week, because of the weather and road conditions.

Schools in Oak Ridge, Anderson County, Clinton, and Roane County will all be closed Thursday. Roane State Community College will also be closed.

Schools in Clinton and Anderson and Roane counties will also be closed Friday. The Central Office in Anderson County will be closed for the rest of the week, and the Central Office in Roane County will not report Thursday. [Read more…]

Updated: More closures, delays Wednesday as snow falls, temperatures drop

Winter Weather Advisory

Image courtesy National Weather Service in Morristown


Note: This story was last updated at 12:56 p.m.

Many offices and schools will remain closed on Wednesday because of the weather and road conditions, and some will open late. The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a winter weather advisory for snow on Wednesday and a wind chill watch for Wednesday night.

Schools in Oak Ridge and Clinton and Anderson and Roane counties will be closed again Wednesday. So will Roane State Community College campuses. Pellissippi State Community College will also be closed.

Anderson County Schools will be closed the rest of the week, officials said Wednesday, and the Central Office is closed as well.

Anderson County government offices and all courts will be closed Wednesday.

City of Oak Ridge offices will open at 9 a.m. City Hall in Rocky Top will close at noon Wednesday for deteriorating weather conditions. [Read more…]

Wanted: ‘Calutron Girls’

Y-12 Calutron Girls

The famous “Calutron Girls” photograph by Manhattan Project photographer Ed Westcott that prompted Denise Kiernan to write the best-seller “The Girls of Atomic City.”



Wanted! “Calutron Girls” who worked at Y-12 during the Manhattan Project.

The Japanese Public Broadcasting Corporation wants to produce a documentary film to commemorate the end of World War II. Their program director representative has contacted Y-12 National Security Complex Historian D. Ray Smith and wants to interview some women who worked on the calutrons at Y-12. [Read more…]

New DOE landfill could cost $1 billion, including construction, operations

Oak Ridge Reservation with Bear Creek Valley

But it could also save $1 billion through on-site disposal, officials say

A new landfill that would hold waste from cleanup work at federal sites in Oak Ridge could cost $1 billion, a project manager said Wednesday. That start-to-finish estimate includes construction and 23 years of operations.

But federal officials said the new landfill could save $1 billion in on-site versus off-site costs. That’s because the waste would be disposed on site and wouldn’t have to be shipped out of town, possibly to other states such as Nevada and Utah.

Saving money through on-site disposal could, in turn, accelerate the cleanup work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, said Laura Wilkerson, federal project director for the Y-12 National Security Complex in the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management.

The new landfill, the Environmental Management Disposal Facility, would be built on Bear Creek Road west of the Y-12 National Security Complex near another landfill that is already in use and has been operating since 2002. [Read more…]

DOE proposal to build new waste facility subject of Wednesday meeting

Oak Ridge Reservation Waste Disposal


The U.S. Department of Energy has made great strides in cleaning up the Oak Ridge Reservation of outdated and contaminated buildings and soils. But since more work has been added to the original cleanup scope, additional landfill space is needed to handle the additional waste.

DOE has proposed an area near the current low-level waste landfill on Bear Creek Road near the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Join us for a presentation on DOE’s proposal to build a new facility that will handle all waste expected to be generated by the remaining cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation. [Read more…]

Vietnam vet performs ‘Buffalo Soldiers of American West’ at ORAU Thursday

Buffalo Soldiers of the American West at ORAU

A Vietnam veteran will perform “The Buffalo Soldiers of the American West” at ORAU’s Pollard Auditorium on Thursday.

The public is invited to this free event, which celebrates Black History Month, a press release said.

The performance will be presented by William “Bill” Valentine. He is a Vietnam veteran who served in South East Asia for one of his four years in the United States Air Force.

The show will provide an entertaining lecture on the first African American soldiers to serve during the peacetime that followed the Civil War, the press release said. [Read more…]

DOE East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl at Roane State on Feb. 7

U.S. Department of Energy Logo

The fifth annual U.S. Department of Energy’s East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl will be hosted on Saturday, February 7, at the Roane State Community College campus in Oak Ridge. It starts at 9 a.m.

Students from 12 local middle schools will participate in a fast-paced academic competition offering students the opportunity to match their wits in math and science, a press release said.

This year 16 teams are registered for the competition. Each team includes four student competitors, an alternate, and a coach. The competition covers numerous disciplines including astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, general science, mathematics, and physics, the press release said. [Read more…]

Fleischmann to host first House Nuclear Cleanup Caucus meeting

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann

Chuck Fleischmann

The House Nuclear Cleanup Caucus, chaired by representatives Chuck Fleischmann and Ben Lujan, will host its first meeting of the 114th Congress on Thursday, February 12.

The Cleanup Caucus is a bipartisan group supporting the largest environmental cleanup program in the world, a press release said. The legacy of the Manhattan Project and the 50 years of government nuclear weapons development affects communities throughout our nation. The caucus’ primary mission is to raise awareness of these issues throughout the halls of Congress and around the nation. [Read more…]