The Uranium Processing Facility being built at the Y-12 National Security Complex by Consolidated Nuclear Security, a limited liability company, is on track for completion in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
According to Bechtel, a global engineering, construction, project management company and majority partner in the project, the facility will be a multi-building, state of the art complex for enriched uranium operations related to nuclear security.
At an estimated $6.5 billion, UPF is one of the Department of Energy’s largest investments in Tennessee since the Manhattan Project and one of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s largest construction projects, officials said. Modern safety standards, security and flexibility are key design attributes. Once UPF is in full operations, the U.S. will reap the benefits of a new uranium processing facility and significantly lower operating and maintenance costs.
“It will not only ensure the long-term viability, safety, and security of the enriched uranium capability in the U.S. but also support the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, the downblending of uranium to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and provide uranium for fuel for U.S. Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. Currently, these unique capabilities reside in aging World War II and Cold War-era buildings that are inefficient and costly to operate and maintain,” officials explained.
The Main Process Building will be a three-story 240,000 square foot building that will house enriched uranium operations. The other two buildings will support operations in the MPB.
The UPF project is being built through a series of seven subprojects. Two were completed on time and under budget and two were underway prior to authorization of these three buildings. The project achieved 90% design completion in September 2017.
East Tennessee Economic Development Agency reported, Consolidated Nuclear Security, the managing and operating contractor for the Y-12 site, was recently granted approval by the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration to begin nuclear construction on the facility's main processing building, salvage and accountability building, and its process support facilities.
“The go-ahead to begin construction on the three main facilities is a significant step forward for the project,” said UPF Project Director John Howanitz. “Now that we’ve received authorization to proceed, construction activity will increase dramatically and the skyline of Y-12 will truly begin changing in the coming months.”
“Together with NNSA, we have already achieved significant progress in preparing the site,” said Howanitz. “The project will dramatically increase in activity with more personnel, delivery vehicles, and material movements.”
The NNSA expects the Uranium Processing Facility will be completed in 2025, according to East Tennessee Economic Development Agency.