Uranium project achieves safety milestone

Posted: December 4, 2014 - 6:36pm

Field work to prepare the Y‑12 National Security Complex for building the Uranium Processing Facility is on schedule and under budget and has surpassed 500 days without a recordable accident or injury. Site Readiness, the first construction subproject for UPF, began in late spring 2013 and is expected to be completed in winter 2015.

"The Site Readiness subproject is setting the standard for quality UPF construction on budget," said Don Peters, federal construction manager for the National Nuclear Security Administration's UPF Project Office. "We've accomplished a lot of work in an area that stretches across an approximate five-mile linear footprint."

Work either completed or under way includes relocation of Bear Creek Road, including a new bridge; relocation of several potable water lines; rerouting of overhead electrical lines; construction of a haul road; mitigation for wetlands impacted during road construction; development of the west borrow and wet spoils areas to receive soils for later project phases; demolition of a parking lot, a decommissioned guard tower and other structures; and construction of sediment basins to protect Y‑12 natural resources from erosion and sedimentation.

To execute the work, NNSA is employing an integrated acquisition and project management strategy to ensure best use of taxpayer dollars. This strategy includes a partnership between the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC.

NNSA accessed USACE services through an interagency agreement to provide construction management for the majority of the Site Readiness work. USACE awarded a fixed-price contract to Avisco, Inc., a woman-owned business that is employing multiple subcontractors for electrical, pipeline, surveying, paving, bridge construction and geotechnical testing services. Governmental agencies supporting the work include the NNSA Production Office, the DOE Oak Ridge Operations field office, City of Oak Ridge, Environmental Protection Agency, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"Our unique partnerships have served us well by capitalizing on the core competencies of each agency and contractor," Peters said. "At the same time, the multiple interfaces require clear and continuous communication, keen attention to detail and active collaboration among all team members. The cooperation between USACE and CNS has been exceptional."

Lynn Nolan, CNS's UPF construction manager, noted that the fundamental principles of any successful construction project are safety, quality, cost and schedule. "The UPF Site Readiness team has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to these principles," he said. "Challenges to safeguard the construction workers, the plant personnel and the public have been met through planning and execution. The new bridge will segregate earthmoving equipment from plant traffic. Favorable performance with respect to safety, quality, budget and schedule are real and positive examples of an effective team."

"The dynamics of working on site at Y‑12 and the extensive collaboration among all the parties has been challenging but proven to be mutually beneficial for all those involved," said Maj. Timothy Nix, project manager-forward for USACE, Nashville District. More than 70 years ago, USACE headed up construction of the Y‑12 plant during the Manhattan Project, and the UPF Site Readiness work represents USACE's first major project at Y‑12 since that time.

The significance of Site Readiness is not lost on Nolan. "UPF is Y‑12's future, and the progress we make daily is getting us closer to that future," he said. "I like to see things getting accomplished. In the last year, we have really changed the landscape on the west end of Y‑12."

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