NNSA Production Office: Waltzer receives Gold Medal Award

AMARILLO, Texas—Karl Waltzer, acting deputy manager of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Production Office, has received the NNSA Gold Medal Award in recognition of his distinguished achievements in support of national security programs.

Waltzer was presented the award during a recent visit by NNSA Administrator and retired Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz to the Pantex Plant, located near Amarillo, Texas. Waltzer is retiring after completing 35 years of government service.

The NNSA Production Office, or NPO, oversees operations at the Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

During the ceremony at Pantex, Waltzer was recognized for his outstanding and dedicated leadership and performance, a press release said. [Read more...]

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


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...]

Spotlight: More than 480 visitors tour Y-12 during Secret City Festival

Y-12 Tour James Spicer and Matthew Sellers

Former Y-12 employee James Spicer points out the various ID badges used at the site during its 70-year history to his grandson Matthew Sellers. Spicer and Sellers joined more than 480 visitors who toured Y-12 as part of this year’s Secret City Festival. (Photos by Scott Fraker)


More than 480 visitors toured the Y-12 National Security Complex as part of this year’s Secret City Festival, which was earlier this month.

Y-12 has been giving tours of the site for almost 10 years with guests traveling from all over the world to see a piece of history and learn how the site still is ensuring our country’s security, a press release said.

Tourists from 23 states and the District of Columbia toured the site as part of Oak Ridge’s 12th annual Secret City Festival. Here are two pictures by Y-12 photographer Scott Fraker. [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...]

DOE’s Oak Ridge Office names safety, technical services manager

Mildred López-Ferré

Mildred López-Ferré (DOE photo/Lynn Freeny)

Mildred López-Ferré has been named deputy assistant manager for safety and technical services at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office.

In this position, López-Ferré will be responsible for leading the development and execution of the requirements and guidelines for environment safety and health and quality assurance for ORO and for multiple DOE site offices nationwide under the purview of the department’s Office of Science Integrated Support Center.

López-Ferré will assist ORO in all aspects of the Integrated Safety Management System, or ISMS, to ensure that DOE operations provide adequate protection to employees, the general public, the environment, and DOE property, effectively and efficiently, a press release said.

López-Ferré began her career at the DOE-ORO in 1991 as a program manager in the former Environmental Restoration Division. Since that time, she has held several leadership positions at ORO, including team leader for Y-12 National Security Complex projects, and ORO federal project director responsible for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 environmental management operations. She has also served as special projects manager in the ORO Manager’s Office, and most recently special projects assistant for the assistant manager for safety and technical services within the DOE Oak Ridge Office. [Read more...]

Congressional staffer, Marshall Space Flight Center win Corridor Champion Award

Helen Hardin Corridor Champion

Longtime Tennessee Congressional staffer Helen Hardin, right, received the Corridor Champion Award at last week’s Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit in Chattanooga. Also pictured are Gerald Boyd, chair of the TVC board, center, and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge. (Submitted photos)


CHATTANOOGA—Longtime Tennessee congressional staffer Helen Hardin and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center received the top awards given by the Tennessee Valley Corridor during the organization’s annual national summit held last week on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Hardin is senior policy advisory for Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican, and she has been involved in the TVC’s activities since the first Summit was held in Oak Ridge in 1995. Todd May, manager for NASA’s space launch system program, accepted the award on behalf of MSFC.

The Corridor Champion Award recognizes individuals and organizations that provide leadership to enhance the TVC’s national visibility, high-tech economic development, and collaborative efforts within the region.

Past Corridor Champion Award winners include Fleischmann, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, former Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission Anne Pope, the Tennessee Valley Authority, University of Tennessee, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. [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...]

Secret City Festival features something for everyone

Secret City Festival Crowd June 2012

A large crowd waits to hear music during the June 2012 festival.


Make plans to attend the 12th Annual Secret City Festival on Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14, in historic Oak Ridge. Join more than 20,000 visitors and residents to celebrate the end of World War II and the heritage of Oak Ridge from 1945 to the present.

Here’s an overview of some of the many activities and events taking place at this year’s festival: [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...]

Y-12 fulfills major milestone in fuel conversion commitment for Jamaican research reactor

Y-12 National Security Complex Aerial View

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is pictured above. (Photo courtesy B&W Y-12)

The Y-12 National Security Complex recently fulfilled its commitment to provide low-enriched uranium, or LEU, as feedstock to fuel the “Safe LOW-POwer Kritical Experiment” (SLOWPOKE) research reactor in Kingston, Jamaica.

“Our role is to produce the uranium dioxide feedstock and to manage fabrication of LEU fuel pins for the reactor core to enable conversion from highly enriched uranium, or HEU, to LEU,” said John Creasy of Y‑12’s Nuclear Nonproliferation and Global Security Programs.

The new pins, made of low enriched uranium dioxide powder, will replace those made with weapons-useable HEU, thus making the reactor fuel less desirable to terrorists. Y-12 has a long history of supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear nonproliferation activities throughout the world. This project is just one of several HEU-to-LEU conversion efforts in which Y-12 has participated in support of the Department’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative, or GTRI.

The last shipment of uranium dioxide feedstock was shipped last month to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, where it will be fabricated into fuel pins. AECL was selected because it designed the original SLOWPOKE reactor. [Read more...]

Council to consider DOE wastewater billing; lobbying, economic development contracts

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday night will consider adding a facilities charge to the U.S. Department of Energy’s monthly wastewater bill for costs related to the construction of a holding tank, or equalization basin, near the Y-12 National Security Complex.

The equalization basin on Scarboro Lane, near the intersection of Scarboro Road and South Illinois Avenue, will service wastewater coming out of the federal reservation, city officials said.

The City Council will consider converting East Madison Road, which runs behind an apartment complex near the Alexander Inn, from a one-way street to a two-way street, and members will consider a contract with federal lobbying firm The Ferguson Group LLC and economic development contracts with Ray Evans and Steve Jones.

The Oak Ridge City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday (today) in the Municipal Building Courtroom. See the agenda here.

See this story for more information.