How often do you think about the items you purchase and use daily — everything from paper to coffee to cleaning supplies? Where do they come from? How are they made? Are they good for the environment?
The Department of Energy’s Sustainable Acquisition Program is committed to “green purchasing,” giving preference to products that are energy and water efficient, made from biobased or recycled content, are nontoxic or less toxic than conventional alternatives, release nonozone depleting chemicals, and support the overall use of alternative fuels and fuel efficient products.
A broader focus
Pantex and Y-12 are recognized across the Nuclear Security Enterprise as sustainability champions. Now the company is poised for broader efforts at both sites to evaluate purchases to ensure they meet or exceed federally required sustainability criteria.
“We do a significant amount of recycling our different materials streams to keep them from becoming waste streams,” said Sherith Colverson of Sustainability and Stewardship Programs. “Now, we’re going to take the next step. My focus will be on helping organizations purchase green products to begin with.”
Colverson’s role is to provide oversight and assistance to CNS employees, which includes interpreting and implementing all facets of DOE’s Sustainable Acquisition Program. She will help organizations comply with Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements as well as Executive Order 13834.
“The Sustainable Acquisition Program simply ensures that our federal government leads by example in protecting the health of our shared environment and reducing environmental impact through the purchase of sustainable products, as well as services,” Colverson said. “It is an activity that spans all organizations. It is part of our contracts, cafeteria service, construction and remodeling of buildings, custodial operations, vehicle fleet, grounds and facility maintenance, operations and office environments, and information technology.”
One of the ways CNS can lead by example is by purchasing biobased products. Biobased products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials and provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products. Products include lubricants, cleaning agents, inks, fertilizers, and bioplastics. Some of these products, such as hand soaps and hand sanitizers, are already used throughout Pantex and Y-12.
“I look forward to learning more about how both sites are operating, building, and providing maintenance with current products,” Colverson said. “I’m here to work with all organizations to find those sustainable and biobased products or services that could potentially help increase efficiency, optimize performance, reduce environmental impacts, and cut costs.”
The NBL Center was officially opened June 11, with about 50 representatives from the Nuclear Security Enterprise and Y‑12 in attendance.
The newly formed NBL Program Office ensures the reliability of the nation’s supply of special nuclear certified reference materials to provide measurement proficiency samples and technical expertise and support to U.S. programs in the areas of nonproliferation, safeguards, and other national security programs.
“This is very important work that helps ensure stability around the globe,” said Morgan Smith, CNS president and chief executive officer. “We envision this new facility operating sort of like an Amazon fulfillment center but for very unique and very small orders of nuclear samples — things you definitely can’t get on Amazon. This small facility footprint and small, as-needed operating crew will reduce the time and cost required for customers to receive radiological materials. New missions don’t come to Y‑12 by chance. They come thanks to our employees’ dedication, expertise, and patriotism in all things uranium established over our proud history of vital nuclear security work.”
The new facility is operational and made its first shipment in April. By the end of FY 2019, the center will house 8800 Certified Reference Materials. The Office of Science funded Y‑12 to establish a new center, and Y‑12 is taking on the storage and distribution mission for the NNSA.
See the opening of the NBL Center video.
Y-12’s 75th Anniversary recently received some significant attention close to home and in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), whose district includes Y-12, recognized Y-12 June 8, in the nation’s capital, and at a recent Oak Ridge City Council session, a proclamation was read for Y-12.
Fleischmann recognized Y-12’s 75th anniversary in the June 8 edition of the Congressional Record and a flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of the occasion.
“Seventy five years ago, the men and women of the Y-12 plant worked tirelessly to protect our national interests and help us win World War II …,” Fleischmann said. “The 75th anniversary of the Y-12 National Security Complex is an occasion to reflect on this proud history and celebrate the people of the complex for their contributions.”
A proclamation recognizing Y-12’s 75th anniversary was unanimously passed by the Oak Ridge City Council in May. Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch presented a copy of the proclamation to Y-12 Site Manager Bill Tindal and Gene Patterson of CNS Communications.
“As a Y-12 employee, I can say with confidence that we are proud to carry on the heritage of making the world a safer place, and our dedication to securing the nation’s future is unwavering,” Tindal told the audience and council members.
In April, Lt. Governor Randy McNally sponsored a state proclamation along with State Senator Ken Yager and State Representative Richard Briggs, honoring the 75 year history of Y-12 and its current mission.
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and members of the Anderson County Commission also celebrated Y-12’s 75th anniversary in March with a proclamation of appreciation that highlighted Y-12’s history and importance to Anderson County and the region.
Almost 200 people representing 120 businesses attended a Partners in Excellence Forum hosted by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC.
The forum provided information about more than $500 million in upcoming construction-related work at Y-12, including mechanical; deactivation and decommissioning; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; electrical; piping, excavation; concrete and paving.
Steve Laggis, senior director of Infrastructure Programs, noted that the opportunities for partnerships are significant and sustained, with $80 to 100 million in procurement over the next seven years.
An integrated team worked to successfully demolish the Building 9201-5 (Alpha-5) Annex on time and on budget. In the coming weeks, a new slab will be poured to properly contour the remaining area to ensure the correct restoration for storm water draining and run off, and construction crews will demobilize the area.
Alan James of Y-12 Projects Management noted that the job was tricky because they had to tear down the annex without damaging the adjacent structure, yet the work was competed flawlessly and with no safety incidents. The project directly supports the reduction of risk for the Alpha-5 complex as well as the West End Protected Area Reduction project that will reduce the high-security area of the plant by approximately 50 percent.