Former Wackenhut security officer indicted for theft of public funds

KNOXVILLE—A federal grand jury in Knoxville has indicted a former security officer at a federal site in Oak Ridge for allegedly stealing U.S. government property and money laundering, officials said Thursday.

Sarah Parker, 52, of Dandridge, Tennessee, was indicted Tuesday, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a press release. Parker was employed as an officer for security contractor Wackenhut Services Inc. at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site in Oak Ridge.

She appeared in court on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley Jr. and pleaded not guilty to the charges in the three-count indictment, Killian said. She was released pending trial, which has been set for February 17, 2015, in United States District Court in Knoxville. [Read more…]

U.S. House passes Manhattan Project park bill that includes Oak Ridge

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann

Chuck Fleischmann

Note: This story was last updated at 8:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that would include Oak Ridge, federal officials said Thursday afternoon.

Passage of the bill, pursued for years by historic preservationists, was announced by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and Representative Chuck Fleischmann, both Tennessee Republicans. It was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which passed in a 300-119 vote.

The bill would designate three sites that were part of the World War II-era Manhattan Project. Besides Oak Ridge, the sites include Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. The U.S. Senate is expected to pass the 2015 NDAA legislation without amendments before adjourning for the Christmas recess, perhaps as early as next week, according to the Atomic Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that has helped lead efforts to establish the park for more than a decade.

The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs. Oak Ridge sites that would be included in the park are the Beta-3 racetracks and Alpha Calutron magnets at Y-12 National Security Complex and the K-25 Building site at the East Tennessee Technology Park. [Read more…]

DOE comment period on K-33 land transfer ends Thursday

ETTP ED11 and K-33 Notice of Document Availability Oak Ridge, TN

The public comment period for the transfer of about 136 acres at the East Tennessee Technology Park (the former K-25 site) ends Thursday, October 23.

The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed transferring the land, known as the Former K-33 Area at the ETTP Heritage Center, for mixed-use economic development purposes.

The Former K-33 area is located in the northwest portion of the Heritage Center and includes the site of the now-demolished K-33 Building. No buildings are included in the transfer. [Read more…]

DOE to begin Building K-31 demolition on Wednesday

K-31 Transite Panel Removal

Workers began removing transite paneling from the outside of the K-31 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park earlier this year. (May 2014 DOE Photo/Lynn Freeny)

 

The U.S. Department of Energy will start demolishing Building K-31 at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site, on Wednesday afternoon, and reporters have been invited to witness the beginning of the work.

The event is meant to provides participants, including senior DOE and contractor leadership, a “firsthand look at the continuing cleanup and transformation at the East Tennessee Technology Park,” a media advisory said.

The K-25 site was built to enrich uranium for atomic bombs during the top-secret Manhattan Project in World War II. It’s been shut down since the mid-1980s, and ETTP is slowly being converted into a large industrial park.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

UCOR donates $50,000 for UT faculty fellowship

UCOR UT Check Presentation

Pictured at the check presentation ceremony, from left, are J. Wesley Hines, head of the UT Department of Nuclear Engineering; Wayne Davis, dean for the UT College of Engineering; Matt Marston, UCOR chief operating officer; fellow Jason Hayward; and Jimmy Cheek, UT chancellor. (Photo courtesy UCOR)

 

UCOR, the federal government’s cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, presented the University of Tennessee with a $50,000 check this week for a faculty fellowship in the university’s College of Engineering.

This check was the latest installment of a $250,000 commitment UCOR, a partnership between URS and CH2M Hill, has made to the university, a press release said.

“As a cleanup contractor of a nuclear site, UCOR is committed to ensuring continued excellence in nuclear education,” said Matt Marston, UCOR chief operating officer. “This fellowship is an important step to fulfilling that commitment.”

The recipient of the fellowship, Jason Hayward, is an assistant fellow in the College of Engineering’s Department of Nuclear Engineering. Since arriving at the University of Tennessee in 2008, Hayward has focused on research in the areas of detector science and development of gamma ray and neutron imaging for applications in nuclear security, neutron scattering science, and medical imaging, the press release said. [Read more…]

Cain named portfolio federal project director for ETTP cleanup

Wendy Cain

Wendy Cain (Photo courtesy DOE/Lynn Freeny)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management has named Wendy Cain as its new portfolio federal project director for cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park.

As the portfolio federal project director, Cain oversees all the cleanup, demolition, waste disposal, and land transfers at the site. At the forefront, Cain is directing the removal of the K-31 and K-27 buildings, which are the final uranium enrichment facilities at ETTP. In this position, she will oversee the site’s cleanup completion estimated for 2022 and the area’s transfer to private industry.

“Wendy was selected based on her proven track record and experience with some of our largest and most complex cleanup projects,” said Sue Cange, the acting manager of the Oak Ridge Office of EM. “We look forward to continuing our outstanding progress at ETTP through her leadership.” [Read more…]

New AMSE director to start July 1, ORNL to operate museum

AMSE Sign

The American Museum of Science and Energy is on South Tulane Avenue. (Photos by Sara Wise)

 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is taking a more active role in Oak Ridge’s American Museum of Science and Energy. ORNL’s Director of Communications David Keim said the lab hopes to find better ways to tell the city’s historical story while reducing costs.

He said that the museum’s current contract with Enterprise Advisory Services Inc. would not be renewed at the end of this month, when ORNL will begin operating AMSE. He said preparations are being made to ensure a seamless transition.

Keim said that the transition was made after a team of museum professionals came to the area. After seeing many of Oak Ridge’s historical sites, such as the former K-25 site and ORNL’s first graphite reactor, they called the sites “remarkable” and the historical story “enormous,” according to Keim.

One of the professionals recommended hiring another museum professional to help with the transition period. David Moore was interviewed and hired to assess the museum as a consultant on a one-year term for ORNL, beginning April 15. [Read more…]

URS names new UCOR president, project manager

Ken Rueter

Ken Rueter

URS Corporation has named new leaders at UCOR in Oak Ridge and SRR at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

Ken Rueter has been named president and project manager of UCOR, a partnership between URS and CH2M Oak Ridge LLC. The URS-led consortium is responsible for the cleanup of the U.S. Department of Energy’s East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site, in Oak Ridge.

Rueter will become president and project manager on Aug. 1. He will replace Leo Sain, who will lead the URS Decontamination and Decommissioning and Waste Management Strategic Business Group, which is based in Oak Ridge.

“Ken’s prior leadership in UCOR’s successful deactivation and decommissioning of the K-25 facility will be invaluable as we continue the D&D of the K-27 and K-31 gaseous diffusion facilities,” said Randall A. Wotring, president of federal services for URS. “I am confident he will build on the UCOR team’s recent accomplishments as well as his previous experiences at the East Tennessee Technology Park to ensure we continue to make safe progress for our DOE client.”

In a press release, URS said Rueter has 26 years of experience in the nuclear industry focusing on high-hazard nuclear operations, project management and integration, construction, and risk management. In his new assignment, he will be the senior executive for UCOR responsible for all deactivation and decommissioning (D&D) activities at the East Tennessee Technology Park. He was previously president and project manager of Savannah River Remediation LLC, or SRR, and prior to his role there, he was the chief operating officer for UCOR. [Read more…]

UCOR recognizes eight small businesses at awards breakfast

Chuck Fleischmann at UCOR Small Business Awards

Chuck Fleischmann at the UCOR Small Business Awards breakfast. (Photo by Lynn Freeny/U.S. Department of Energy)

UCOR presented awards to eight small businesses at its second annual Small Business Awards ceremony at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge.

UCOR is a partnership between URS and CH2M Oak Ridge LLC, and it is the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor for the Oak Ridge Reservation. The company works with a variety of small businesses to perform cleanup work. During this fiscal year, 80 percent of subcontracted work, totaling $78.2 million, has gone to small businesses, a press release said.

“Small business has played an integral part in our success,” said Matt Marston, UCOR chief operating officer. “We’ve received excellent support from numerous small businesses. While it is difficult to select just a few to honor, we are pleased to recognize these particular companies who have excelled in their support of our work during the past year.”

The small business award categories and winners are: [Read more…]

Tours of Manhattan Project sites a highlight of Secret City Festival

Secret City Festival Logo

One of the highlights of the annual Secret City Festival, taking place Friday and Saturday at A.K. Bissell Park, is the series of tours that run all day both days.

Each of the four tours will depart from the American Museum of Science and Energy at scheduled times. In addition, the Secret City Scenic Excursion Train will be chugging along during the festival.

Visitors will have a unique opportunity to tour three historic Manhattan Project World War II sites. On Friday, June 13, Y-12 will host tours from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The one-hour tour will include the Y-12 History Center, Building 9731, the Chestnut Ridge Overlook, and Bear Creek Road.

Also on Friday, visitors can take the U.S. Department of Energy Facilities Bus Tour, which is included with a $1 admission to AMSE. This tour includes stops at the Y-12 New Hope Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Graphite Reactor, and a tour around the East Tennessee Technology Park. A separate tour that focuses on the X-10 Graphite Reactor is available at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday.

On Saturday, there will be four opportunities to tour the ORNL Graphite Reactor. All tours will begin at the American Museum of Science and Energy. The Secret City Scenic Excursion Train will be running three tours as well. Departure times for both tours are listed below: [Read more…]

SSAB to hear update on ETTP reindustrialization

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board will hear a status update on reindustrialization efforts at the East Tennessee Technology Park during a meeting that starts at 6 p.m.

The meeting is at the U.S. Department of Energy Information Center at 1 Science.gov Way in Oak Ridge.

DOE public bus tour begins June 2

DOE Public Bus Tour

A U.S. Department of Energy public bus tour in August 2012. (DOE photo/Lynn Freeny)

Visitors see Oak Ridge’s past and present

The U.S. Department of Energy’s 2014 Oak Ridge facilities public bus tour begins June 2 and continues through August 29. The tour offers visitors a first-hand look at the DOE’s Oak Ridge facilities and provides historical commentary on the transformation of the Oak Ridge Reservation during the past 70 years.

The reservation-wide tour is a popular attraction for tourists visiting the area. Since its inception in 1996, the DOE public tour program has attracted more than 30,000 visitors from all 50 states. The three-hour tour allows visitors to see the Oak Ridge Reservation and learn about its history. It also provides participants a chance to find out about the world-class missions underway in Oak Ridge.

Bus stops include: [Read more…]