Highway should be renamed Oak Ridge Corridor, Alexander says

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

The highway that runs from Oak Ridge to the Knoxville airport should be renamed the Oak Ridge Corridor, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said Thursday.

The highway starts in Oak Ridge as South Illinois Avenue, and it turns into Pellissippi Parkway.

Alexander, a former Tennessee governor, said he wants to give the area a signature like Research Triangle in North Carolina or Silicon Valley in California.

“I can think of no better calling card for a job recruiter than to be able to go anywhere in the world and say, ‘I’m from the Oak Ridge Corridor,'” the Tennessee Republican said in a press release after speaking to Rotary members at the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge. “In Anderson, Roane, and Knox counties, more than 40,000 people have graduate or professional degrees. This includes 1,600 scientists and engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, more than 1,000 PhDs at the University of Tennessee, and hundreds of engineers at Tennessee Valley Authority and at Y-12 National Security Complex. We are in the middle of one of our country’s most formidable concentrations of brainpower.” [Read more…]

Three years after break-in, protesters return to Y-12

Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed at Y-12

The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex and vandalized a uranium storage building three years ago returned to the nuclear weapons plant during a march in Oak Ridge on Saturday. The three protesters—from left, they are Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed—object to nuclear weapons and the planned Uranium Processing Facility. Here they are pictured on Scarboro Road across from Y-12. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 8:30 a.m. August 9.

The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex and vandalized a uranium storage building three years ago returned to the nuclear weapons plant during a march in Oak Ridge on Saturday.

The march and rally were organized by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance as part of a series of events that commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, near the end of World War II. Uranium for the first bomb, the Little Boy atomic bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, was enriched at Y-12.

The three protesters—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli—were convicted on two felony charges on May 8, 2013, in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. But their conviction on the more serious felony sabotage charge was overturned two years later, on May 8, 2015, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli were released on May 16 and have a re-sentencing hearing on September 15 in Knoxville. [Read more…]

Three Y-12 protesters will discuss Oak Ridge action in first public reunion since prison

Y-12 Plowshares Protesters

Pictured above are the three anti-nuclear weapons protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28, 2012, and vandalized a uranium storage building. From left, they are Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed. (File photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex three years ago and vandalized the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility will discuss their Oak Ridge action in their first public reunion since they were released from prison in May.

Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli will speak at the Church of the Savior (UCC) in Knoxville at 7 p.m. today (Friday, August 7).

Their sabotage conviction from the July 28, 2012, incident was overturned earlier this year. Since their release from prison in May, the three protesters, who are described as nonviolent peace activists, have appeared on national and international news programs, organizers said. [Read more…]

Y-12 raises $13,759 for Anderson County Relay for Life

Joe Marshall

Joe Marshall is one of Y-12’s cancer survivors who took his victory lap at the Anderson County Relay for Life. (Photo by Y-12)

Employees at Y-12 National Security Complex raised $13,759 for Anderson County Relay for Life, which raises money to help fight cancer.

Here is more information from Y-12:

Joe Marshall is one of Y-12’s cancer survivors who took his victory lap at the Anderson County Relay for Life.

What do relays, races, and regattas have in common? They’re all ways Y‑12 employees stay active and support the community.

After hours, Y‑12ers are all about staying active and supporting their communities. Here’s a roundup of the activities: [Read more…]

Alexander: Bill raises Office of Science funding to highest-ever, includes UPF, supercomputing, cleanup funding

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

A bill approved by a U.S. Senate subcommittee on Tuesday would give $5.144 billion to the federal agency that oversees work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It’s the highest level of funding ever for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which oversees 10 national labs, including ORNL, federal officials said.

The bill would also provide $430 million for the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, which will “continue to keep this project on time and on budget,” according to a press release from the office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.

Alexander’s office also said the legislation would provide funding for:

  • a new mercury treatment plant in Oak Ridge,
  • cleanup of nuclear facilities that are no longer in service,
  • nuclear infrastructure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and
  • advanced computing, which supports the new Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The bill was unanimously approved on a voice vote by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development on Tuesday afternoon. Alexander is chair of that subcommittee, and he said the approval shows that there is bipartisan support for energy research, waterways, and national security. [Read more…]

Eschenberg, UPF federal project director, retiring from federal service May 30

John Eschenberg

John Eschenberg

Note: This story was last updated at 1:19 p.m.

John Eschenberg, federal project director for the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, announced Monday that he’s retiring from federal service on May 30.

Eschenberg said his decision to leave federal service is driven by a desire to “focus on new career opportunities in the private sector and to further my focus on serving nonprofit organizations.” Eschenberg said he is heavily involved with the Emory Valley Center (an institution for the developmentally and intellectually disabled) and its plan to start construction of a new facility in Oak Ridge later this fall.

Eschenberg has been the federal project director of the Uranium Processing Facility for almost three years, and he has been in Oak Ridge nearly six. He has served under six different U.S. Department of Energy secretaries, in five different states, and in all of its major programs, Eschenberg said in an email announcement obtained by Oak Ridge Today. [Read more…]

Youth to demonstrate in Oak Ridge, say ‘no’ to ‘bomb plant’

OREPA Spring Demonstration at Y-12

Members of Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and supporters gather across from the Y-12 National Security Complex to protest the plant’s proposed Uranium Processing Facility in April 2013. (File photo)

 

Young people from Knoxville and Maryville have planned a peace rally, demonstration, and march in Oak Ridge on Saturday to protest the proposed Uranium Processing Facility, which they call a “bomb plant,” at Y-12 National Security Complex, a press release said.

The peace rally and demonstration is called Action for Peace and Disarmament, and it starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at Alvin K. Bissell Park with a bring-your-own-picnic lunch, a press release said. It will be followed by a youth led program at 1 p.m. and a march to the Y-12 at 2 p.m.

“While young people will provide the leadership, the event is open to people of all ages,” organizers said in the press release. [Read more…]

Big day: Main Street Oak Ridge, Manhattan Project Park on Thursday’s agenda

Main Street Oak Ridge Presentation

Pictured above during a presentation on Main Street Oak Ridge last week are Crosland Southeast partner James Downs, right; Barry James, Crosland Southeast senior vice president, center; and Houston E. Daugherty, Cannon and Cannon vice president.

 

A vote that could help Main Street Oak Ridge, the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall, is on Thursday’s agenda. So is an open house on the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

They are among two of the biggest projects in Oak Ridge in years, and both are considered key parts of an economic renaissance that also includes new business development along Oak Ridge Turnpike and South Illinois Avenue, a new Kroger Marketplace shopping center, the proposed multi-billion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, and the announcement by metal powder manufacturing company CVMR this month that it will move its operations from Toronto to Oak Ridge, investing $313 million and adding 620 jobs.

A rezoning has been requested for Main Street Oak Ridge. It will be considered by the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission during a meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. The Planning Commission will also consider a planned unit development, or PUD, master plan for the project. [Read more…]

Officials celebrate new bridge, road relocation, haul road for UPF at Y-12

Bear Creek Road Extension and Bridge

Pictured above is the new Bear Creek Road extension and bridge on the west side of the Y-12 National Security Complex.

 

They called it their first major milestone: the completion of site readiness work, delivered on time and under budget. The work included the relocation of Bear Creek Road, a new bridge, and construction of a haul road.

It’s part of the project to build a Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex. UPF could replace World War II-era buildings at Y-12. The project has been capped at $6.5 billion, and it’s expected to be completed by 2025.

Federal officials and contractors celebrated the completion of the site readiness subproject in a Friday morning ceremony at Y-12. [Read more…]

Federal, contractor officials celebrate UPF site readiness work on Friday

Frank Klotz

Frank Klotz

Federal officials and contractors will celebrate the completion of site readiness work for the multi-billion dollar Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex on Friday morning.

The UPF site readiness work includes a Bear Creek Road extension and the creation of a haul road.

“Site readiness is the first major step for UPF, a project essential for supporting our nation’s uranium mission,” a media advisory said. “Completion of this stage of the field work to prepare for building UPF signifies a move forward toward the National Nuclear Security Administration’s commitment to complete UPF and move out of the aging 9212 facility.”

The Friday morning celebration starts at 10 a.m. The media has been invited to attend. [Read more…]

Gov. Haslam, state to make ‘significant’ economic announcement in OR Friday

Bill Haslam during Presidential Visit at Pellissippi State

Governor Bill Haslam is pictured above during a visit by President Barack Obama at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, January 9. (File photo by Rob Welton)

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and the state will make a significant economic development announcement in Oak Ridge on Friday afternoon, officials said.

The announcement—which will also include other federal, state, and local officials—is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, March 13, at the former Theragenics Building at Horizon Center.

Details of the announcement have not been released. [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…]