Partnership combines strengths to train future workforce, solve national challenges
A memorandum of understanding signed Thursday by Consolidated Nuclear Security and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville will expand collaborations while making the country safer and more secure. CNS and the university collaborate in areas ranging from joint research to analyzing business operations and pushing more technologies into the private sector.
The partnership between the university and the Y-12 National Security Complex, which began in 2011, combines the leading research talents of the university with Y-12’s successful track record in technology development and application that bolsters national security. Through CNS, the agreement now also incorporates the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.
CNS manages and operates Y-12 and the Pantex Plant for the National Nuclear Security Administration.
“By combining the talents and resources of UT and Y-12, we’ve developed new technologies that are benefitting us inside the plant and have the potential to help manufacturers and others outside of Y-12,” said Jim Haynes, CNS president and chief executive officer. “We will continue to work with some of the university’s brightest students as interns and grads to help us meet our important national security mission. We are also working together to develop a program that’s preparing suppliers for opportunities with the new Uranium Processing Facility, one of the most important projects for Y-12 and the nation.”
Haynes and UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek signed the MOU during a Thursday afternoon ceremony at the Y-12 New Hope Center.
“Our longstanding relationship with Y-12 has enriched our students’ hands-on learning experiences while developing technology that solves problems like long wait times at the doctor or the detection of IEDs (improvised explosive devices),” Cheek said. “I look forward to the expansion of this partnership and the big ideas that will come from it.”
The university and Y-12 have worked together training future scientists and engineers for decades through co-op and intern programs. The Haslam College of Business’ MBA program has integrated with Y-12 since 2007 by having students work on projects at the site.
While the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration strongly advocate close collaborations between universities and its sites, typically such agreements are between the national laboratories and universities. Y-12 and UT broke that mold by forming a relationship between an NNSA production site and a major research university.
This MOU also incorporates another Joint Agreement that leveraged both partners’ individual and joint assets and allowed staff members of each to participate in activities at each other’s sites.
UT already supports Y-12 on several Y-12 or plant-directed research and development projects. Under the new MOU, Y-12, Pantex and UT plan to expand their collaborations on several jointly funded research projects.