Federal officials have authorized the start of construction of the three main buildings, including one for enriched uranium operations, at the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. It’s the largest federal construction project in Tennessee since World War II.
The authorization was announced Friday by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. Y-12 is an NNSA site.
The authorization came from DOE leadership, NNSA said in a press release on Friday. The authorization allows the NNSA to start construction on the Main Process Building, Salvage and Accountability Building, and Process Support Facilities subprojects, the press release said.
UPF will replace an early-Cold War plant with a modern, more efficient, and safer facility for conducting highly-enriched uranium operations at Y-12, the NNSA said. Federal officials have been saying for a while that the facility is expected to be completed by 2025 at a cost of no more than $6.5 billion.
On Friday, the NNSA said the cost and baseline for the work were approved by Dan Brouillette, deputy energy secretary and project management executive. The NNSA said UPF will help modernize the nation’s nuclear security infrastructure.
“This milestone is another important step toward delivering UPF and strengthening our nation’s nuclear security,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE under secretary for nuclear security and NNSA administrator. “I’m proud of the UPF team for keeping an acquisition project of this size and scope on budget and on schedule.”
The Main Process Building is a three-story 240,000 square foot building that will house enriched uranium operations. The other two buildings—the Salvage and Accountability Building, and the Process Support Facilities—will support operations in the Main Process Building.
“The DOE strives to excel in project management,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said. “This is a great example of our efforts to keep projects on schedule and to be good stewards of taxpayer resources.”
The UPF project is being built through a series of seven subprojects. Two were completed on time and under budget, and two were under way prior to authorization of these three buildings. The project achieved 90 percent design completion in September 2017 in advance of seeking the authorization announced Friday, the press release said.
Using a “build to budget” strategy, NNSA has committed to Congress to deliver UPF for no more than $6.5 billion by the end of 2025, assuming stable funding through the duration of the project, the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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