Nevada announces settlement with DOE over non-compliant waste from Y-12

The sign at the main entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex is pictured above on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (File photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

On Thursday, Nevada announced details of the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy over low-level radioactive waste that was incorrectly identified and shipped from Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge to DOE’s Nevada National Security Site northwest of Las Vegas between 2013 and 2018.

Oak Ridge Today first reported about the settlement agreement on Wednesday. The Nevada announcement on Thursday provided additional information.

Here is Nevada’s announcement:

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DOE names deputy cleanup manager in Oak Ridge

Laura Wilkerson

Laura Wilkerson


The U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday named a deputy cleanup manager in Oak Ridge.

The new deputy manager, Laura Wilkerson, has been selected as the deputy manager of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or OREM. That’s the program responsible for cleanup projects at federal sites in Oak Ridge, including the East Tennessee Technology Park (the former K-25 site), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Y-12 National Security Complex.

Wilkerson previously served as the director of OREM’s Planning and Execution Division, a press release said. She has more than 25 years of federal service. [Read more…]

Navarro Research, Engineering buys Tech 2020 building


Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. acquired the Tech 2020 building late last week, the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce said Monday, July 25, 2016. The purchase of the building will allow the company’s corporate headquarters to remain in Oak Ridge, retaining more than 100 jobs in the community. The board of directors for Technology 2020 voted Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, to wind down operations after more than two decades of operations. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. acquired the Tech 2020 building in Oak Ridge late last week. The purchase of the building will allow the company’s corporate headquarters to remain in Oak Ridge, retaining more than 100 jobs in the community, a press release said.

The Tech 2020 building was placed on the market following the January 2016 announcement that the organization would be winding down operations. Tech 2020 was a nonprofit organization that had focused on technology-based entrepreneurial support and access to capital. The organization contributed to the success of several area start-ups.

“We are pleased that Navarro has found a new home in the Tech 2020 building,” said Phil Andrews, chief financial officer of Oak Ridge Associated Universities and chair of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors. “It’s a win for the community to be able to keep the company and employees in Oak Ridge. The fact that the company has purchased a building, rather than leasing or renting one, shows the kind of commitment Navarro has to the city.” [Read more…]

DOE director’s presentation to include discussion of proposed landfill near Y-12

Laura Wilkerson

Laura Wilkerson

A Tuesday presentation by federal official Laura Wilkerson will include information on the proposed new Environmental Management Disposal Facility, a landfill that would be on the west side of the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Laura Wilkerson is a portfolio federal project director for the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. She will be the guest speaker at Lunch with the League at noon Tuesday, November 17, in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Her presentation will focus on environmental management and waste management in Oak Ridge.

Lunch with the League is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge. In a press release, the League said it has a position on waste disposal that addresses full disclosure of intent and public participation in the decision-making process.

“The League position is to protect the health of the community and environment,” the press release said. [Read more…]

Cange named cleanup manager at DOE Oak Ridge

Gov. Bill Haslam Visits ETTP/K-25

During a March 2014 tour, Sue Cange, center, gives Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, right, an update on the then-almost completed demolition of the K-25 Building, which was once used to enrich uranium in west Oak Ridge. (File photo)


The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that Sue Cange will serve as the new manager for DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann said.

“Sue has a strong background in environmental management and has done a great job as acting manager,” said Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican. “I look forward to continuing to work with her on nuclear cleanup in Oak Ridge.”

Fleischmann is chair of the Nuclear Cleanup Caucus, a group of lawmakers who have U.S. Department of Energy cleanup sites in their districts. Fleischmann’s district includes Oak Ridge. [Read more…]

Letter: Smith informed, intelligent, civil, sensible

To the Editor:

Oak Ridgers are fortunate in having a candidate of the caliber of Ellen Smith willing to once again serve on City Council, where, between 2007 and 2012, we benefited greatly from her wise, intelligent, and highly informed voice.

In addition to her service on Council, Ellen has long been involved in community affairs, and has participated in local government. This, plus her professional background, has made her a strong and consistent advocate for protecting the environmental values of lands and waters of the city and of the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Her activities have also given her a broad understanding of governmental matters additional to the diverse environmental issues and concerns that face Oak Ridge. She is committed to be part of a community leadership that recognizes the challenges we face and makes choices that maximize our assets and opportunities. [Read more…]

Demolition of Building 9744 completed at Y-12

Y-12 Building 9744 Demolition

The Y-12 National Security Complex completed the demolition of Building 9744 this week. The facility was a deteriorated, former utilities and maintenance facility taking up more than 9,000 square feet in Y-12’s high-security area. Despite challenges, the CNS demolition team was able to bring down the facility nearly two months ahead of schedule. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


The Y-12 National Security Complex recently celebrated another improvement in its site infrastructure with the demolition of Building 9744, a former utilities and maintenance facility occupying more than 9,000 square feet in Y-12’s Protected Area.

“This facility was in danger of collapse and posed a risk to the site’s personnel and operations,” said James McConnell, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s acting associate administrator for infrastructure and operations. “Upon realization of this risk, we were able to secure funding to stabilize the area from both a safety and environmental perspective.

The demolition proved challenging due to the deteriorating facility conditions, precluding the standard approach of entering the facility to abate hazards and remove hazardous waste prior to the structural demolition. Despite structural issues and associated waste disposal concerns, the facility was safely demolished nearly two months ahead of schedule. The demolition team collaborated with several internal and external organizations to accomplish the aggressive schedule in accordance with environmental and safety standards. [Read more…]

Suspects used stolen pickup truck, Bobcat in attempted theft of ATM safe

Bobcat and ATM Safe from Y-12 Federal Credit Union

Authorities said unknown suspects used this stolen Bobcat in a Christmas morning plot to steal a safe from a standalone ATM in east Oak Ridge. The attempted heist appears to have gone awry after the Bobcat tipped over on its side in a small culvert next to Bogola Road.

Note: This story was last updated at 12:45 p.m.

A stolen pickup truck and Bobcat were used in the unsuccessful Christmas morning plot to steal the safe from a standalone ATM in east Oak Ridge, authorities said.

The Oak Ridge Police Department said the unknown suspects used the truck, stolen from the nearby Waste Connections convenience center, to try to knock the automated teller machine off the concrete pad. When that didn’t work, they allegedly used the Bobcat, which was also stolen from Waste Connections.

The Bobcat demolished the ATM and hauled the ATM several hundred feet away before flipping over in a small culvert next to Bogola Road, which is the Oak Ridge Turnpike entrance to the convenience center. [Read more…]

Y-12 evaluation: Some excellent ratings, but unsatisfactory on security, UPF

Y-12 National Security Complex

Y-12 National Security Complex (Submitted photo)

Although it received excellent and very good ratings in some areas, the contractor that manages and operates the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge was stung by unsatisfactory marks for its performance before and during the July 28 security breach and the redesign of the new Uranium Processing Facility.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said the UPF redesign could add $539 million to the project cost and extend its schedule by 13 months. The UPF has been estimated to cost up to $6.5 billion, and plans have called for it to start operating as early as 2023.

The NNSA also said the Y-12 security system and protective force completely failed when three anti-nuclear weapons activists penetrated a high-security Protected Area before dawn on July 28. The three protesters were able to avoid detection and cut through three fences inside Y-12 before spraying paint and splashing human blood on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored.

But federal officials awarded “excellent” or “very good” ratings to the contractor, Babcock and Wilcox Y-12 Technical Services LLC, or B&W Y-12, for operations in areas that include environmental and waste management activities, infrastructure improvements, risk reduction initiatives, cyber security, and stockpile and nuclear nonproliferation work.

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Ferri retires, UCOR organization changing

Mark Ferri

Mark Ferri

Jeff Bradford

Jeff Bradford

Mark Ferri, who has led the safe, successful deactivation and demolition work at K-25 since UCOR arrived in Oak Ridge in August 2011, has announced that he will retire from the company at the end of February and will accept a CH2M Hill corporate opportunity in the United Kingdom.

Ferri was part of UCOR’s original, handpicked leadership team. His selection proved a wise one, as progress under his leadership has been stellar. Workers have demolished more than two million square feet of the old gaseous diffusion facility, and more than 15,000 loads of waste have been shipped under the “pack as you go” philosophy that he and his counterpart, Waste Management Manager Jeff Bradford, installed as part of the UCOR way of doing business.

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