Y-12 completes $10M upgrades to Analytical Chemistry facility

  • Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2016, 12:02 pm

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The Y-12 National Security Complex has completed significant infrastructure upgrades to the plant’s Analytical Chemistry facility to improve mission capability and reliability. The year-long effort was completed on schedule and budget.

Built in 1957, Building 9995 provides comprehensive analytical services in support of core missions, environmental compliance and overall worker health and safety at the Oak Ridge facility.

The infrastructure upgrades at 9995 included improvements to critical heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electrical system upgrades, and replacement of obsolete radiochemistry hoods. These improvements have greatly improved Building 9995’s work environment by reducing risk to operations and enabling the facility to continue to meet the extensive analytical chemistry needs for Y-12.

The 9995 infrastructure upgrade was made possible through a $5M investment by the NNSA Uranium Program Manager Tim Driscoll and matched by $5M through Consolidated Nuclear Security. Once funding was received, all the planning, procurement and installation activities for the various improvements were planned and executed expeditiously. Driscoll said, “These successful efforts in Building 9995 are a great example of how NNSA and CNS are working together to effectively address near term needs in our aging Y-12 facilities.”

Y-12 scientists working in Building 9995 analyze impurity levels to ensure the materials destined for nuclear weapons components or naval reactor fuel are of suitably high quality. They also analyze soil and groundwater samples for hazardous contaminants and characterize the site’s waste output to ensure regulatory compliance.

One major beneficiary of the 9995 upgrades is the radiochemistry laboratory, which separates isotopes from uranium using concentrated levels of specific acids. The use of those acids necessitates ventilation hoods capable of meeting certain safety requirements. Until recently, only five of the lab’s nine hoods met those requirements, leaving the other four out of commission. This situation resulted in a very crowded work space for technicians working in this areas. A portion of the $10 million funding source went toward replacing all nine hoods with lighter, shatter proof windows, giving each technician their own hood to safely and efficiently handle hazardous chemicals.

The Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas and Y-12 are operated by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) under a single contract for NNSA, with a focus on the absolute priorities of safety, security, quality, mission delivery and cost efficiency. CNS member companies include Bechtel National, Inc., Lockheed Martin, ATK Launch Services, and SOC, with Booz Allen Hamilton as a teaming subcontractor.

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 without explosive nuclear testing; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. NNSA homepage: http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/index.htm

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