Y-12 garners six NNSA Sustainability Awards

Posted: May 11, 2016 - 5:14pm

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – NNSA recently recognized the Y-12 National Security Complex with six 2016 Sustainability Awards. Y-12 has a long history of being recognized for their environmental accomplishments, and this year was no exception as acknowledged by DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz.

“I want to congratulate the winners of this year’s Sustainability Awards and recognize the team effort needed to implement environmentally responsible and sustainable operations and projects,” said Klotz. “NNSA will continue to build on these successes and pursue new and creative solutions as stewards of the environment and our enduring national security mission.”

The awards recognize exemplary individual and team performance. Sites are honored for achieving sustainability objectives through innovative and effective programs and projects that increase energy and water efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases, pollution and waste. NNSA has conducted an internal environmental stewardship awards program for more than a decade. The 12 sustainability awards comprise six “Best in Class” awards and six “Environmental Stewardship” awards.

Y-12 Site Manager Bill Tindal also applauded those who helped make the awards possible. “To receive four of the six Best in Class Awards and six of the twelve total awards is huge for us. While I am excited and proud, I am not surprised because we’ve got a solid group of dedicated employees that have made this a priority for years. We’re honored to share this wealth of expertise with the rest of the enterprise and others to make our world a better place.”

Y-12’s awards include:

Best in Class Awards:

Change Agent: Terry Cothron Builds Bridges to a Bright Future at Y-12.
The change-agent category recognizes individuals who take the initiative to foster behavior change in their immediate work environment, organizational unit and/or site. Terry Cothron is a recognized statewide champion for the protection and conservation of the natural resources of the state of Tennessee and is considered a Founding Father of the Environmental Programs at Y-12.

Water: Y-12 Reduced Water Usage and Improved Water Quality.
This award category recognizes an integrated approach to water resource management, addressing all water types as potential resources (waste, storm, gray, etc.) and identifying opportunities for reuse. One major way Y-12’s success in this area is measured is in water intensity. Resource intensity is a measure of the resources (e.g., water, energy, materials) needed for the production, processing and disposal of a unit of good or service or for the completion of a process or activity; it is therefore a measure of the efficiency of resource use. Y-12 has achieved a 61.6 percent water intensity reduction with savings of more than 79 million gallons of potable water. This reduction yields annual energy savings of more than 110,000 MBTU (million British Thermal Units) and annual cost savings of more than $2.2 million.

Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention: Y-12 Perseveres to Prevent Pollution in Wastewater Treatment Operations.
This award category and selected nomination recognize innovative and effective waste-reduction programs that exceeded performance targets in the Site Sustainability Plan. Y-12 Waste Management group’s proposed strategies for operations of the West End Treatment Facility allowed processing of 718,000 gallons of production wastewater and eliminated generation of approximately 14,000 gallons of low-level radioactive waste sludge, and the need for 200 gallons of sulfuric acid, 4,000 gallons of ferric sulfate, 3,200 gallons of sodium hydroxide, and 4 gallons of polymer as treatment chemicals. Overall, approximately 130.5 metric tons of sludge generation and related materials were eliminated.

Performance-Based Contracts: Y-12 Energy Savings Performance Contracts Investing in a Sustainable Future.
This award category recognizes use of performance-based energy contracts to achieve DOE sustainability goals that support Executive Order 13693 and the President’s Performance Contracting Challenge. Y-12 has taken advantage of the energy saving opportunities provided by Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs). In the fourth period of performance, Y-12 has annual savings of 10 million kWh of electricity, 76,771 MBTU of natural gas, 55 million gallons of potable water and $2 million in energy, water and related operations and maintenance costs.

Environmental Stewardship Awards:

Greenhouse Gas Scope 1 and 2: Y-12 Steams Ahead – Wise Utilities Management.
This award category recognizes site greenhouse gas reduction strategies and management approaches and emphasize a holistic approach to greenhouse gas management. Through its Be-Wise with Energy Dollars program, Y-12 made smart changes in utilities management and created an energy renaissance at Y-12 that empowered employees and saved more than $6 million in fuel, water, and electricity costs. Beginning with FY 2014, initiatives regarding natural gas use at the site’s recently constructed steam plant saved more than 97 billion BTU in fuel and electricity, 10,800 gallons of water and $1.3 million in costs from the prior year.

Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention: Y-12 Uranium Processing Facility Sustainable Practices.
This award category recognizes innovative and effective waste-reduction programs that exceed performance targets in the Site Sustainability Plan. In Fiscal Year 2015, the Uranium Processing Facility Project diverted more than 74.4 million pounds of material from landfill disposal, and more 89.3 million pounds of materials have been diverted since FY2013. The UPF project’s sustainability efforts have resulted in a 98 percent landfill diversion rate since the start of site preparation. This project illustrates Y-12’s commitment to integrate sustainable practices into site design and operation as Y-12 transforms to support mission needs safely and securely. The UPF Project activities represent only a portion of Y-12’s waste reduction and pollution prevention efforts. In FY 2015, Y-12 implemented more than 90 pollution prevention initiatives with an anticipated reduction of more than 88 million pounds of waste and a projected cost efficiency of more than $5.7 million.


Y-12 Waste Management’s proposed strategies for operations of the West End Treatment Facility (seen here) allowed processing of 718,000 gallons of production wastewater and eliminated generation of approximately 14,000 gallons of low-level radioactive waste sludge.

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