The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) announced a major milestone in dispositioning over 100 facilities at its Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.
“For years now, we’ve been strategically removing legacy equipment and materials, packaging and shipping contaminated waste, and demolishing outdated facilities,” said Jim McConnell, Associate Administrator for NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations. “Disposition means far more than just demolition, and this milestone represents NNSA’s commitment to legacy risk reduction and modernization.”
It’s high-complexity, high-consequence work. Most of the facilities were dangerously degraded and contained industrial hazards such as mercury, asbestos, and beryllium. The majority were located inside the sites’ protected areas, close to occupied facilities that run essential missions. With each completed disposition project, the NNSA team reduces both the risks inherent in excess facilities and the costs of maintaining them.
“Collectively, these 100-plus facility dispositions address our sites’ 75-year legacies: reducing risk and improving safety today; and clearing the way for tomorrow’s projects and operations,” said Teresa Robbins, Manager of the NPO Production Office. “This effort is key to transforming our sites into agile, responsive national assets for the next 75 years.”
Almost 60 percent of NNSA’s facilities are more than 40 years old, with many dating to the Manhattan Project. To meet critical national security demands, NNSA has been steadily working to revitalize the Nuclear Security Enterprise by dispositioning aged facilities, recapitalizing what can be fixed, and streamlining construction processes to save time and money.
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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and militarily effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.