2014 Election: Interest in mayor position, mall redevelopment, better ties with BOE

Oak Ridge City Council Candidate Forum

Nine of the 10 Oak Ridge City Council candidates are pictured above. From right, they are Kelly Callison, Rick Chinn, incumbent Anne Garcia Garland, Warren Gooch, Gary Love, incumbent David Mosby, Pedro Otaduy, former Council member Ellen Smith, and Eric Tobler. Not pictured is Aditya “Doc” Savara.


A majority of the Oak Ridge City Council candidates said they would consider running for mayor or vice mayor if elected on Tuesday, and almost all supported the incentives recommended for the proposed redevelopers of the former Oak Ridge Mall.

The candidates were mixed on whether to bring back red-light cameras, and most seemed to think the city’s property tax rate is about right, in light of current budget needs.

Asked to grade the current Council as leaders, the candidates handed out grades ranging from “A” to “F.”

In a series of recent forums, the candidates generally advocated for better communication between the City Council and Oak Ridge Board of Education and, for the most part, seemed to be in favor of taking over Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge, although their approvals would hinge on factors such as cost and property restrictions.

There are 10 candidates running for four seats on the seven-member Council in Tuesday’s election. Two of the incumbents—Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby—are seeking re-election—and two others—Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller—are not.

Many consider it a critical election, with a business boom under way and major projects on the horizon, including the proposed redevelopment of the mall and the planned $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 National Security Complex.

The new Council is expected to elect a new mayor and mayor pro tem (like a vice mayor) during its next meeting after Tuesday’s election.

Here is a look at some of what the candidates said during the recent forums. [Read more…]

Garcia Garland running for re-election to City Council

Anne Garcia Garland

Anne Garcia Garland

Oak Ridge City Council member Anne Garcia Garland is running for re-election in the November 4 municipal election.

In a press release, Garcia Garland said the City Council has now begun to function like a team, the vision she had for it when she was first elected.

“The five members who have been meeting to consider policy and long-term planning have begun to realize how much more can be accomplished in this way,” Garcia Garland said. “I believe that if we can do this as a Council, then we should be able to work in a similar manner with the Board of Education and move forward together.”

Actions by the city government have shown that TIFs (tax increment financing) are useful for investing in new businesses, and the growth of the Illinois Avenue corridor is healthy, Garcia Garland said. She said Council encouraged the Kroger development by changing zoning and permitting traffic signals, and that center inspired the investment in Oak Ridge by the new mall developers. [Read more…]

Brown to remain as UPF procurement manager

Rich Brown will remain procurement manager for the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, UPF Project Director Brian Reilly said last week.

Here is an announcement that Reilly sent to the UPF team on Tuesday, October 7: [Read more…]

Safety Fest TN: ORAU, CNS experts to discuss effective safety communications

Free seminar draws upon lessons learned at Uranium Processing Facility Project

Health and safety experts from Oak Ridge Associated Universities and a communications specialist from Consolidated Nuclear Security, the new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex, will discuss effective safety communications during Safety Fest TN in Oak Ridge this week.

The ORAU experts are David Duncan and Jeffrey Miller, and the CNS communications specialist is Kathryn King.

Their seminar, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 9, informs organizations on how to improve the effectiveness of safety communications by first examining how communication breakdowns contributed to well-known safety catastrophes, like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an ORAU press release said. They will also present detailed instructions on how to develop an effective safety communications plan, methods for implementing and monitoring the plan, and techniques for measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of safety communications.

“Successful case studies will be presented including experiences from the Y-12 National Security Complex’s Uranium Processing Facility Project, where the effectiveness of safety communications has dramatically improved over a three-year period after implementing these methods,” the press release said. [Read more…]

Fleischmann touts record, Appropriations seat; Wamp willing to work across aisle

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann

Chuck Fleischmann

They’ve battled over negative ads, political endorsements, special interest money, and the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, the two-term incumbent, touts his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and, important to Oak Ridge, the Energy and Water Subcommittee.

Meanwhile, Weston Wamp, his challenger, has suggested a willingness to work across party lines to “move the country forward.”

The two men face off in a in two-man battle in the Republican primary on Thursday. It’s in part a rematch of the three-man GOP primary in Tennessee’s Third District in 2012, when Wamp and Scotty Mayfield lost to Fleischmann. [Read more…]

2014 Election: Mayoral candidates ‘bicker’ over tax hikes, lawsuits

Anderson County Mayor Debate

The three candidates for Anderson County mayor are pictured above at a debate moderated by radio talk show host Hallerin Hilton Hill, left. Starting at center, the three candidates in the August 7 mayoral election are Terry Frank, the incumbent and a Republican; Democrat Jim Hackworth; and Independent Bradley Rickett.

CLINTON—She’s attacked him over a 24-year-old tax hike. He’s blasted her over lawsuits and turmoil in the Anderson County Courthouse.

The two candidates, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and her challenger, Jim Hackworth, will face off in the August 7 election.

Frank, a Republican, was first elected mayor in a special election in August 2012. Now she is running for her first four-year term.

Hackworth, a Democrat, is a former state representative and Anderson County commissioner.

The two have battled in forums, on radio shows, and through ads and flyers. Their political squabbles have largely ignored the third candidate, Independent Bradley Rickett. [Read more…]

Letter from Prison: Y-12 protesters’ statement on second anniversary of break-in

Transform Now Plowshares

Note: This is a copy of a letter sent Monday from the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center by Sr. Megan Rice, on behalf of the Transform Now Plowshares.

We send warm greetings and many thanks to all who actively engage in the transformation of weapons of mass destruction to sustainable life-giving alternatives. Gregory Boertje-Obed (U.S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas) Michael Walli (Federal Correctional Institution McKean, Bradford, Pennsylvania), and I are sending you some of our observations and concerns on the second anniversary of our Transform Now Plowshares action.

On July 28, 2012, after thorough study of nuclear issues, and because of our deepening commitment to nonviolence, we engaged in direct action by cutting through four fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the U.S. continues to overhaul and upgrade thermonuclear warheads.

On that day, two years ago, when we reached the building where all U.S. highly enriched (bomb-grade) uranium is stored, we prayed and also wrote messages on the wall, such as “The Fruit of Justice is Peace.” (Realistically, the higher and stronger fences built as a result of our nonviolent incursion can never keep humans safe from inherently dangerous materials and weapons.) We acted humbly as “creative extremists for love,” to cite one of our most important and revered leaders, Martin Luther King Jr.

There are a number of reasons for what we did. We three were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear systems have already caused, and we realize that all life on Earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental, or technical error. [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…]

Guest column: B&W Y-12 improved Y-12, made a big difference in the community

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

By David Bradshaw

It has been almost 14 years since B&W Y-12 LLC took over operation of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

Soon a new contractor will be in charge. Thanks to the work of the B&W Y-12 team and many others, they will inherit a very different and much improved facility.

One only needs to approach Y-12 to see the changes. The first thing you will see is the New Hope Center, built as a public-private partnership and located just outside the secure gates of Y-12 to make sure public access is easy. It has conference space, an outstanding auditorium, and a museum that highlights everything from Y-12’s critical role in the Manhattan Project, to the NASA “moon box” built by Y-12, to Y-12’s role in winning the Cold War. Y-12 had always been a secret place and this space built with the public in mind was a major change.

The modernization process is even more obvious inside the gate. Y-12 completed and opened the new Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. It’s a state of the art building. The new Uranium Processing Facility will be just as impressive with design work well underway. Both facilities allow the U.S. Department of Energy to close down old buildings that date back to the Manhattan Project. With the HEUMF and UPF in place, Y-12 will be far more efficient with operations not only more secure, but centralized in one place instead of being spread out over several locations. [Read more…]

House Appropriations’ energy, water bill fully funds UPF

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann

Chuck Fleischmann

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed an appropriations bill that fully funds the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said.

Fleischmann released this statement after passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill:

“First and foremost, I am pleased to announce that this bill will effectively appropriate taxpayer dollars as well as provide strong oversight. The Energy and Water bill will strengthen our national defense and fund essential infrastructure projects while also setting federal spending levels. It fully funds the Uranium Processing Facility, a crucial component of our country’s nuclear security that will be built at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. [Read more…]

New UPF project director replaces Strock, who is retiring

Brian Reilly

Brian Reilly

Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC announced last week that Brian Reilly will become project director for the Uranium Processing Facility.

CNS is the new contractor that will manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, starting this summer.

A press release said Reilly has 34 years of commercial nuclear engineering, procurement, and construction leadership and project management experience. A Bechtel senior vice president, Reilly managed Bechtel’s global nuclear operations for six years and has led numerous nuclear projects from conceptual studies and design through all aspects of engineering, procurement, and construction. [Read more…]

Splitting UPF project into two buildings could save money, senator says

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

Money could be saved on the new Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex by splitting up the project into two buildings rather than one, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said during a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

One building could be used for high-security work, Alexander said during a hearing of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee. That high-security building would cost several times as much as a second building used for low-security work, Alexander said.

Not all of the work has to be conducted in a high-security facility, the Tennessee Republican said, and some of it could be conducted in the low-security building.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the two-building proposal is included in a so-called Red Team Review of the UPF project. That report could be made public this week. Federal officials and members of Congress have already been briefed on it. [Read more…]