CNS research teams named 2015 R&D 100 Award finalists

LISe Thermal Neutron Imager Sensor Board

The LISe Thermal Neutron Imager sensor board bears the Y‑12 and UT logos. At the center is the lithium crystal that creates the images. The imager is nominated for a 2015 R&D 100 Award. (Photo by Y-12 National Security Complex)


CNS partners with universities on significant technology advances

Two teams of Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC researchers at the Y-12 National Security Complex are finalists in the 2015 R&D 100 Awards program.

The LISe Thermal Neutron Imager, or LTNI, and a sensor named ChIMES, which is short for Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing, were selected as finalists by a panel of 70 independent judges. The winners will be announced November 13 at the conference in Las Vegas.

LTNI (pronounced litany) was developed through a collaboration with three Tennessee universities—the University of Tennessee, Fisk University, and Vanderbilt University. The imager builds upon a lithium crystal that won an R&D 100 Award in 2013. Applications for the imager include research, diagnostics/medical imaging, law enforcement, and national security. [Read more…]

Record crowds: Secret City Festival was ‘tremendous success’

Secret City Festival Concert 2015

A concert crowd at the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Robert Welton)


The 2015 Oak Ridge Secret City Festival drew record attendance, despite the heat, organizers said. Concerts by the Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night attracted the highest number of spectators in festival history.

“We were ecstatic with the turnout for both concerts,” says, Marc DeRose, executive director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We knew the bands would be popular but didn’t expect to see quite so many people. It was outstanding!”

Attendances for The Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night were more than 2,200 and more than 3,500, respectively. The previous record was 2,300 for the Rick Springfield concert in 2013.

“After seeing how many tickets were sold at the gate for Friday’s Marshall Tucker concert, we decided to move the concert fences back to accommodate the expected additional 1,000-plus spectators for Three Dog Night,” DeRose said. [Read more…]

BES Technologies celebrates one million gallons of recycled water

BES Technologies Rad Waste Water Laundry Operations

BES Technologies LLC, or BEST, has reached a major milestone by recycling one million gallons of radiological waste water through its laundry operations at the East Tennessee Technology Park.

“This represents the prevention of one million gallons of water that would have gone into our environment, but instead was cleaned and re-used,” a press release said. “This recycling process not only avoids environmental insult, but also allows for savings to be passed on to customers by cleaning and reusing water.”

The press release said the laundering service uses a state-of-the-art radiological water treatment system, and it is able to reuse more than 70 percent of the water used in its process. [Read more…]

CNS donates $25K to Boys, Girls Clubs; others match the gift

CNS Donation to Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley founder and Executive Director Emeritus Lawrence Hahn, center, discusses the history of the organization with CNS President and CEO Jim Haynes, left, and the club’s Chief Volunteer Officer Gerald Boyd. (Photo courtesy CNS)


Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC has donated $25,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley, and that gift has been matched—for a total of $50,000. The money will be used for a new roof at the Oak Ridge facility.

CNS President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Haynes presented a symbolic $25,000 check to the Oak Ridge unit during a ceremony on Thursday. Representatives of some of the 16 organizations that matched the CNS donation were also present.

“On behalf of our 5,000 employees at Y-12, we are extremely pleased to contribute to an Oak Ridge organization that makes such a difference in young peoples’ lives,” Haynes said. “Y-12 employees have a long history of serving this community, and we are honored to continue that tradition. The Oak Ridge Boys and Girls Club has served the community for decades, and we are proud to contribute so that it can continue to serve for decades to come.” [Read more…]

Y-12, Pantex receive six NNSA Sustainability Awards in 2014

Y-12 National Security Complex

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is pictured above. (File photo/B&W Y-12)


The National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded six 2014 Sustainability Awards for innovation and excellence to the Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex, both operated and managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS, a press release said.

“The awards recognize exemplary individual and team performance in advancing sustainability objectives through innovative and effective programs and projects that increase energy, water and fleet efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gases, pollution, and waste,” the release said. [Read more…]

Update: Y-12 chemical spill contained; less than 10 workers in building at time of spill

Y-12 Aerial Photo June 2012

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is pictured above in June 2012. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


Note: This story was last updated at 1:12 p.m.

The Purification Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge was evacuated Tuesday morning after a chemical spill, officials said. Fewer than 10 people were in the building at the time of the spill, and none were in the immediate area.

There were no injuries, and federal officials and Y-12 staff have accounted for all workers, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.

The spilled material is acetonitrile, a liquid solvent used in chemical processing operations, said Steven Wyatt of the NNSA.

Everyone was evacuated from the building, which is on the east end of the plant, Wyatt said. The spill was reported at 10:24 a.m. Tuesday.

[Read more…]

NNSA: Field work to prepare Y-12 for UPF is on schedule, under budget

UPF Field Work at Y-12

Field work to prepare the Y-12 National Security Complex for building the Uranium Processing Facility is on schedule and under budget, federal officials said. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


Field work to prepare the Y-12 National Security Complex for building the Uranium Processing Facility, or UPF, is on schedule and under budget and has surpassed 500 days without a recordable accident or injury, a press release said.

Site Readiness, the first construction subproject for UPF, began in late spring 2013 and is expected to be completed in winter 2015.

“The Site Readiness subproject is setting the standard for quality UPF construction on budget,” said Don Peters, federal construction manager for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s UPF Project Office. “We’ve accomplished a lot of work in an area that stretches across an approximate five-mile linear footprint.”

The press release said that work either completed or under way includes relocation of Bear Creek Road, including a new bridge; relocation of several potable water lines; rerouting of overhead electrical lines; construction of a haul road; mitigation for wetlands impacted during road construction; development of the west borrow and wet spoils areas to receive soils for later project phases; demolition of a parking lot, a decommissioned guard tower, and other structures; and construction of sediment basins to protect Y-12 natural resources from erosion and sedimentation. [Read more…]

Demolition of Building 9744 completed at Y-12

Y-12 Building 9744 Demolition

The Y-12 National Security Complex completed the demolition of Building 9744 this week. The facility was a deteriorated, former utilities and maintenance facility taking up more than 9,000 square feet in Y-12’s high-security area. Despite challenges, the CNS demolition team was able to bring down the facility nearly two months ahead of schedule. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


The Y-12 National Security Complex recently celebrated another improvement in its site infrastructure with the demolition of Building 9744, a former utilities and maintenance facility occupying more than 9,000 square feet in Y-12’s Protected Area.

“This facility was in danger of collapse and posed a risk to the site’s personnel and operations,” said James McConnell, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s acting associate administrator for infrastructure and operations. “Upon realization of this risk, we were able to secure funding to stabilize the area from both a safety and environmental perspective.

The demolition proved challenging due to the deteriorating facility conditions, precluding the standard approach of entering the facility to abate hazards and remove hazardous waste prior to the structural demolition. Despite structural issues and associated waste disposal concerns, the facility was safely demolished nearly two months ahead of schedule. The demolition team collaborated with several internal and external organizations to accomplish the aggressive schedule in accordance with environmental and safety standards. [Read more…]

Uranium Processing Facility team signs partnering agreement

UPF Partnering Agreement

The Uranium Processing Facility Project Office and Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC signed a partnering agreement to move forward on delivering the UPF mission. Shown in the photo are, front row, left to right: Bill Priest, CNS; John Eschenberg, UPO; Brian Reilly, CNS; and Dale Christenson, UPO; and back row, left to right: Joe Brown, CNS; Brant Morowski, CNS; Mike Pratt, CNS; Jim Sowers, CNS; Matt Crookshanks, CNS; John Clayton, UPO; Art Haugh, UPO; Laurie Folden, UPO; and Steve Wellbaum, UPO. (Submitted photo)


Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Uranium Processing Facility Project Office and Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC recently signed a partnering agreement to create a cohesive and effective team united in accomplishment of the Uranium Processing Facility mission.

“The UPF partnering agreement is an important step to ensure our team carries out its mission to deliver a new UPF, a key infrastructure investment for our country, with Building 9212 capabilities, for not more than $6.5 billion by 2025,” said UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg.

The agreement also emphasizes a collaborative approach to problem-solving and issue resolution focused on early identification and rapid communication. [Read more…]

CNS begins managing, operating Pantex, Y-12

Pantex Plant Aerial February 2008

The Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, is pictured above. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


Two nuclear weapons facilities managed under one contract

Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC on Tuesday assumed full responsibility for managing and operating the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, and Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. The two nuclear weapons facilities perform missions vital to national security, CNS said in a press release.

The National Nuclear Security Administration awarded CNS the contract to consolidate the two facilities under a single contract. During a four-month transition that began March 3, the CNS team prepared to integrate and operate both facilities to deliver their critical missions with safety, security, quality, and cost efficiency, the press release said.

During the course of transition, CNS completed more than 3,000 scheduled actions, brought on board 7,800 employees, inspected more than 400 facilities, reviewed and approved more than 5,000 procedures, consulted with dozens of community leaders and elected officials, and established the structure and processes for managing the two sites as one enterprise, the release said. Transition activities were completed on schedule and under budget. [Read more…]

Y-12, Pantex complete transition to new contractor

Y-12 Aerial Photo June 2012

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is pictured above in June 2012. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


The National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office and Consolidated Nuclear Security have completed one of the largest and most complex contract transitions in the history of the U.S. Department of Energy.

On July 1, Consolidated Nuclear Security, or CNS, assumed the responsibility for managing and operating the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. CNS replaces B&W Y-12, which had operated Y-12 since 2000, and B&W Pantex, which also had operated Pantex since 2000. The contract includes a total annual operating budget of $1.5 billion and employment of about 8,000 in Tennessee and Texas.

Steve Erhart

Steve Erhart

“The new contract will allow NNSA to continue the safe and secure maintenance of the nuclear weapons stockpile; provide enriched uranium for naval, research, and isotope production reactors; and, support nonproliferation activities to reduce the global nuclear threat,” said Steve Erhart, NNSA Production Office manager. “The conclusion of this transition will bring much needed stability to the thousands of men and women who play an important role in our enduring national security mission. All contract transitions create some change and uncertainty. But, throughout this process, the highly skilled professionals at Pantex and Y-12 have remained focused and dedicated to the safe and secure completion of the mission.”

The consolidated contract will yield significant savings to the U.S. taxpayer over the life of the contract as NNSA and CNS develop more efficient ways of doing business, a press release said. A portion of the generated savings are to be reinvested into aging infrastructure at both sites to improve the working conditions for the Pantex and Y-12 workforce. [Read more…]

Haynes, Erhart: ‘Beginning of new era’ at Y-12, Pantex

Jim Haynes

Jim Haynes

The transition to a new federal contractor is complete at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. The new contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, began operating the sites Tuesday, July 1.

Here is a message from NNSA Production Office Manager Steve Erhart and Consolidated Nuclear Security Chief Executive Officer Jim Haynes:

Steve Erhart

Steve Erhart

Today marks the beginning of a new era for the Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex. For the first time, the two largest NNSA nuclear production sites are consolidated under one contract. Whether you are in Texas or Tennessee, we are now one team delivering our national security mission. [Read more…]