Oak Ridge Reservation’s emergency sectors to change

TEMA realigns boundaries to improve response

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will issue revised emergency sectors for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation on Wednesday. These sectors, labeled A-Y, determine which areas should take action if an event occurs at one of DOE’s sites locally. The new sector boundaries have improved correlation with roads, waterways, and recognizable landmarks.

“Knowing their emergency sectors will help residents better understand what to do when directed to take action by state or local emergency officials. Instructions pertaining to their safety will be issued by sector,” said Jim Bassham, TEMA director. “Periodic updates to emergency plans, like these changes, are part of TEMA’s normal review process.”

DOE and TEMA have been partners in a public information campaign aimed at the more than 50,000 people that live or work within a five-mile radius of Oak Ridge’s three main sites: the Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and East Tennessee Technology Park. An updated version of a joint publication, “What to do if an emergency occurs on the Oak Ridge Reservation,” will be available on March 12. The booklet will be on DOE’s website for area residents to read and reference at http://science.energy.gov/isc/emergency-information/. [Read more...]

Spotlight: Y-12 dietician conducts educational tour of local grocery store

Karen Lacey, Amy Hinkel, and Vickie at Food City

Karen Lacey, LiveWise dietician at the Y-12 National Security Complex, explains how to read the nutrition facts from the label on a loaf of gluten-free bread as Amy Hinkel and her mom Vickie listen. Lacey has been advising Y-12 employees for the past three years on how to make good food choices. She recently led a field trip to Oak Ridge’s Food City to educate employees and their families on making good choices when shopping.

 

Karen Lacey, LiveWise dietician at the Y-12 National Security Complex, recently led a field trip to Oak Ridge’s Food City to educate employees and their families on making good choices when shopping. Lacey has been advising Y-12 employees for the past three years on how to make good food choices. [Read more...]

New Y-12, Pantex contractor website includes employment information

Jim Haynes

Jim Haynes

The transition website for the new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Pantex Plant was posted online on Thursday afternoon. The new website for Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC is available at http://www.cnstransition.com.

CNS is the new managing and operating contractor at Y-12 in Oak Ridge and Pantex in Amarillo, Texas. The contract award, worth up to about $23 billion over 10 years, was first announced in January 2013 but delayed by a series of protests. The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and final protest on Thursday, Feb. 27. On Monday, officials at the National Nuclear Security Administration said the transition to the new contractor had started and was expected to last four months.

On Thursday, CNS spokesman Jason Bohne said the company would be adding much more information to the transition website during the next few weeks and months, including more details on the senior management team, proposed organization, messages to employees, and more.

The transition website includes a message from CNS President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Haynes, who has been senior vice president and deputy general manager for the current Y-12 contractor, B&W Y-12. Other members of the CNS leadership team include Michael Jones, transformation; Darrell Graddy, mission support; and Carl Strock, project director for the Uranium Processing Facility. [Read more...]

Consolidated Nuclear Security resuming contract transition at Pantex, Y-12

Y-12 National Security Complex Aerial View

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is pictured above.

Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC has been authorized by the National Nuclear Security Administration to resume its transition to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, the company announced Thursday.

The announcement comes one week after the U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and possibly final protest by one of the two teams that unsuccessfully bid on the $22 billion contract to manage the two nuclear weapons plants. The protests had been filed by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, a team led by The Babcock and Wilcox Co., which is currently the lead contractor at Y-12 and Pantex.

The decision to award the consolidated contract to CNS, first announced in January 2013, has now been upheld by the NNSA and GAO, the company said. The five-year contract with the NNSA includes options that could allow the contract to be extended for up to five more years, based upon performance.

“The CNS team submitted a very strong and credible solution for managing and operating the Pantex and Y-12 sites, and we are eager to begin implementing our proposal together with the dedicated employees of Pantex and Y-12,” said Jim Haynes, CNS chief executive officer. “We look forward to partnering with the communities of Amarillo and Oak Ridge.” [Read more...]

NNSA budget request includes slight spending increase for UPF

Uranium Processing Facility

Pictured above is the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, with the administrative area in the front and the fortified section of the building in the rear. (Submitted image)

The budget request announced this week for the National Nuclear Security Administration includes a slight increase in spending for the proposed multi-billion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

The $335 million request for UPF in Fiscal Year 2015, which starts Oct. 1, is up slightly from $326 million in FY14. That’s roughly a 2.8 percent increase.

The UPF project, which has an official cost estimate of up to $6.5 billion, is part of a broader effort to modernize Y-12, including its production facilities. The 811-acre plant was built during World War II to help enrich uranium for the world’s first atomic weapons.

But questions have been raised about rising cost projections and a redesign of the UPF. In February 2013, the NNSA said the redesign could add $539 million to the project cost and extend its schedule.

During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held said the agency wants to get workers out of Building 9212 at Y-12 by 2025. [Read more...]

Transition to new contractor under way at Y-12, Pantex

Y-12 National Security Complex Aerial View

The transition to a new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex, pictured above, and Pantex Plant in Texas is already under way and could be completed in four months.

Note: This story was last updated at 10:22 a.m. March 4.

The transition to a new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Texas is already under way and could be completed in four months, federal officials said Monday.

The transition to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va., had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 2013, but it was delayed by three rounds of protests. The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and possibly final protest by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, of Lynchburg, Va., on Thursday.

On Monday, the National Nuclear Security Administration said CNS will start managing and operating the weapons production plants at Y-12 and Pantex at the end of the four-month transition period. [Read more...]

Rock to Bach Music Festival at New Hope Center

The fourth annual Oak Ridge Rock to Bach Music Festival is from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the New Hope Center.

The New Hope Center is on Scarboro Road near the main entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex, just across from the intersection with Union Valley Road.

Rock to Bach is an all-day music festival presented by the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association as a benefit for ORCMA music organizations, such as the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the world-class Chamber Music Series.

Eighteen groups will perform this Saturday, playing pop, rock, blues, bluegrass, folk, jazz, Celtic, patriotic, Dixieland, swing, klezmer, and classical music. [Read more...]

DOE awards contract to small business for mercury project at Y-12

Y-12 Water Treatment Plant Announcement

In May 2013, state and federal officials announce a plant to treat mercury-contaminated water at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Pictured from left are Mark Whitney, Robert Martineau, Lamar Alexander, Dave Huizenga, and Stan Meiburg.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or EM, awarded the task order to Strata-G in Knoxville on Wednesday. The company will collect data and perform characterization at Outfall 200 at Y-12.

The task order is the first project in a five-year, multi-phase contract estimated at $15 million, DOE said in a press release Friday. The contract uses a bidding process among three small businesses for various characterization projects at EM’s cleanup sites in Oak Ridge. [Read more...]

GAO denies third protest of $22 billion contract to manage Y-12, Pantex

Y-12 National Security Complex Aerial View

Federal officials have denied the third protest by one of the two teams that unsuccessfully bid on a $22 billion contract to manage the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, pictured above, and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.

Note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m.

Federal officials have denied the third protest by one of the two teams that unsuccessfully bid on a $22 billion contract to manage the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.

In the protest, Nuclear Production Partners LLC of Lynchburg, Va., had challenged a November decision by the National Nuclear Security Administration to reaffirm its earlier decision, announced in January 2013, to award the consolidated contract to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va.

On Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office announced that it had denied the third protest. It’s the final GAO protest, but the case could be appealed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.

Statistically, that’s not likely; the GAO hears 2,500 protests per year, and the court has about 84. But there is a large amount of money at stake with this contract.

The GAO had upheld one part of an earlier NP2 protest and denied or dismissed three elements of a second. [Read more...]

UT hosts top nuclear engineering students, who meet Oak Ridge reps

KNOXVILLE—Some of the best and brightest undergraduate students from around the United States gathered at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville recently for the chance to meet top experts in the field of nuclear engineering, including representatives from federal sites in Oak Ridge.

“This area really is the birthplace of a lot of activities related to nuclear engineering,” said Wesley Hines, head of UT’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, which sponsors the annual event. “Some of these kids don’t realize all of the nuclear-related opportunities that exist here until they do this program. What we hope to achieve is to let people see all that is possible, all that is already in place when they come here.”

The sessions gave prospective graduate students a chance to mingle with some of the biggest names in nuclear research and energy, including from the Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the UCOR facilities at the East Tennessee Technology Park, and Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as with UT faculty and students.  [Read more...]

U.S. attorney: Y-12 security compromises will be vigorously prosecuted

Bill Killian

William C. “Bill” Killian

U.S. Attorney William C. “Bill” Killian commended the sentences given to the three Y-12 protesters on Tuesday, and he said he hoped it would send a strong message.

“The Y-12 National Security Complex plays a critical role in our country’s national defense,” Killian said in a Wednesday statement. “People cannot take the law into their own hands and unlawfully intrude upon sensitive government facilities. Those who violate the law and compromise the security of the Y-12 National Security Complex will be vigorously prosecuted.”

The three anti-nuclear weapons activists were convicted of sabotage in May 2013 for breaking into Y-12 on July 28, 2012, cutting through high-security fences, and splashing blood and spray-painting slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. The fortress-like HEUMF stores most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium. [Read more...]

Y-12 protesters: Nun sentenced to three years, men receive five

Bill Quigley, Michele Naar-Obed, and Chris Irwin

Defense attorney Bill Quigley, left; Michele Naar-Obed, wife of Y-12 protester Greg Boertje-Obed; and defense attorney Chris Irwin, center right, after a sentencing hearing in Knoxville on Tuesday.

Note: This story was last updated at 10:20 a.m. Feb. 19.

KNOXVILLE—The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July 2012 and splashed human blood and spray-painted slogans on a uranium storage building were sentenced to three to five years in prison on Tuesday.

Megan Rice, an 84-year old Catholic nun who last lived in Washington, D.C., received the shortest sentence. She was sentenced to 35 months, or just under three years. Rice is the oldest of the three anti-nuclear weapons activists. She also has the least extensive criminal history, Judge Amul R. Thapar said during a 4.5-hour sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon.

The other two protesters, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, both were sentenced to 62 months, or a little more than five years. They have more extensive prior records. Boertje-Obed is a 58-year-old house painter from Duluth, Minn., and Walli is a 64-year-old Catholic worker and Vietnam veteran from Washington, D.C. Thapar said Boertje-Obed has 40 arrests and more than 20 convictions, and he has previously served time in prison. So has Walli. He was released on Jan. 5, 2012—about six months before the break-in—after an eight-month federal sentence for an earlier trespassing incident at Y-12.

“What do I do when eight months didn’t deter him?” Thapar asked defense attorney Chris Irwin. “It’s getting worse, not better.” [Read more...]