The National Nuclear Security Administration has granted a 45-day discussion period for a project to build a new electrical substation at the Y-12 National Security Complex that could include logging work on top of Pine Ridge.
Oak Ridge officials had requested a 30-day delay of the logging work. City officials have raised concerns about that part of the project because they said they didn’t know about it until a week or two before logging operations were scheduled to start, there has been no public input, and cutting down trees and replacing them with transmission towers on top of the ridge would affect the view in that part of the city, including from two residential neighborhoods, Scarboro and Groves Park Commons. Pine Ridge is between Y-12 and the center of the city.
Oak Ridge officials have also said they don’t know what other options were considered, besides installing the high-voltage power lines on top of Pine Ridge.
The 161-kilovolt power lines will provide electricity to a new electrical substation that will service all of Y-12, but it is being built as a subproject of the Uranium Processing Facility. It would be near UPF on the west side of Y-12. UPF is the largest federal construction project in Tennessee since World War II, and it is expected to be completed by 2025 at a cost of no more than $6.5 billion.
Oak Ridge officials have emphasized that they support the project, but they don’t think the city has been treated as an equal partner on the electrical substation and power line portion of the project.
In a press release Tuesday, the City of Oak Ridge said the electrical substation project would involve clear-cutting 2.1 miles of mature trees along the top of Pine Ridge. The NNSA has delayed that project for 45 days, although some logging activity will still occur during that time. [Read more…]