U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Congressman Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3) announced that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has formalized its decision to transform and downsize its infrastructure. A key part of NNSA’s plan is to continue the uranium work being performed at Y-12 and to further strengthen its mission as the Uranium Center of Excellence by moving forward with locating a Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at Y-12. This mission builds upon the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s leadership as one of the nation’s premier science and technology centers and creates hundreds of potential jobs.
“Completion of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 will help reduce the footprint of our nuclear processing operations from 150 acres to 15 acres and save $200 million a year in security costs,” Senator Alexander said. “Updating the facilities at Y-12 is both fiscally responsible and necessary for national security and it will help keep Tennessee at the forefront of leadership in science and technology.”
“I’m glad the NNSA has taken formal steps to streamline and modernize its infrastructure and especially pleased that this transformation plan reinforces Y-12 as the Uranium Center of Excellence,” said Senator Corker, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I am proud of Y-12’s role in the overall transformation of our nation’s nuclear weapons infrastructure and look forward to an end result that better serves our country's national security needs now and in the future.”
“Y-12 is a world leader in safe handling of nuclear material. Extensive analysis by independent experts has reinforced that Y-12, by far, continues to be the best possible site for the uranium mission assignment,” said Congressman Wamp. “As the Uranium Center of Excellence, Y-12 is leading NNSA in bringing our nuclear weapons complex into the 21st century.”
NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino signed a final decision this week that allows the agency to continue to modernize its aging, Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century national security enterprise. NNSA determined that uranium manufacturing and research and development will remain at Y-12 and NNSA will construct and operate a UPF there to support these activities.
This decision is the final step in a several year-long process known as “Complex Transformation,” which calls for a smaller, more secure and less expensive nuclear weapons complex that leverages scientific and technical capabilities and meets national security requirements. This consolidation would eliminate redundancies in missions, capabilities and facilities and ultimately reduce costs.