Construction recently celebrated more than two million work hours without a lost-time injury. That’s a pretty impressive achievement for the more than three hundred people representing 11 crafts.
“We have very good craftspeople in Construction, professionals who know their jobs, know how to do dangerous work safely, and how to help others do that work safely. Those who are more senior take care of the newer ones. It’s a requirement of all our crafts: we all look out for each other,” said Monica Lewis, Craft Safety Team Lead.
Lewis indicated the four-person team’s work begins at 6:30 a.m. as they make the rounds of active projects. They deliver personal protective equipment and walk down the sites looking for hazards. “We interact with the craft on the job to see if they have any issues we can help get resolved, and, if there are concerns, we take them to management if we cannot resolve the issues. Management is very supportive of the craft safety team.”
The team credits a sense of family among crews, good safety practices and programs and a strong Y-12 Construction safety culture for the impressive safety record. The workers concur, noting that there are no stupid questions and crediting the safety tem with helping them work safely.
The continuous focus on safety can be a bit of an adjustment for some. “It’s just a different culture,” said Lewis. “Then they work here and it becomes natural.”
That “natural culture” produced more than two million hours of safe work for Construction. Lewis concluded, “We did it ‘cause we care about each other. No one wants to see someone get hurt.”
For more information about how Construction works safely, watch this brief video.
Consolidated Nuclear Security employees at the Y-12 National Security Complex recently shared their time and personal resources to make the holidays brighter for many in surrounding communities.
About 250 children in Morgan, Anderson, Loudon, Monroe, Scott, and Roane counties will receive gifts this season through Y-12’s Angel Tree program. Employees bought and wrapped clothing, shoes, and toys for their “adopted angels.”
Employees also provided gently used coats, toboggans, scarves, and gloves to those served by the Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) in Knoxville. In addition to cold-weather gear, employees provided dental and toiletry supplies to help stock the VMC’s free dental clinic. About 30 large bags of items were collected. The VMC, a United Way recipient agency, works to prevent and end homelessness in East Tennessee.
“We are blessed to work in a place that provides so generously for each other and for our community in need,” said Anita Hazlewood, 2018 United Way campaign chair at Y-12.
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, manages and operates the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Y-12 has three missions: maintaining the U.S nuclear deterrent, reducing global nuclear threats, and fueling the nuclear Navy.
The Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) is placing concrete twice per week for the structural foundation of the Main Process Building (MPB). The placements began on Sept. 11.
“These are not the first concrete placements on project, but they’re the first structural concrete for MPB,” said MPB Area Lead Matt Nuckols. “MPB is the heart of UPF and will provide casting and special oxide production capabilities to support NNSA’s defense and nonproliferation missions.”
The largest of UPF’s three buildings at 252,000 square feet, MPB is also the highest hazard and highest security building being constructed as part of the facility.
The concrete placement on Sept. 11 was the first of 32 similar placements for MPB’s structural foundation that will occur two times per week through March 2019. The full slab will be nine feet deep, which includes a 7-1/2-foot base slab and an 18-inch top slab.
“This is a significant step in concrete placement and a major milestone for the project,” Nuckols said. “It starts the steady drumbeat of concrete placement that will last several months for the foundation and more than a year for the entire building.”
The team incorporated lessons learned from earlier concrete placements on the Mechanical Electrical Building and Personnel Support Building.
“Thorough preparation and incorporating lessons learned from earlier placements is going to help the team complete these placements smoothly and efficiently,” Nuckols said.
M. C. Wiest has been at the plant almost since its inception. When Mick Wiest retires later this year, it will be the first time the name M. C. Wiest will no longer be in the Y-12 directory.
As those of you doing the math may have surmised, M. C. Wiest isn’t just one longterm employee. The original M. C. Wiest was hired in May 1944 to work at Y-12 by Tennessee Eastman Corp. He had just graduated at the top of his class with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of North Dakota and was considering a job offer at Columbia University, but he was also offered a “war job” in Tennessee that would support the country’s World War II effort.
He and his wife, Marie, left North Dakota and moved sight unseen to the Clinton Engineer Works more than 1,200 miles away.
M. C.’s official name was Merritt, but was known as “Red,” and he ended up spending his entire career at Y-12, mostly with the Product Engineering Department. During part of that time, Red was a key liaison working special projects between Y-12 and the weapon design labs in the western U.S. and the United Kingdom.
Dubbed by a Y-12 plant manager as “the guru of complex devices,” his mechanical skills also helped him with his lifelong hobby of gunsmithing. As people learned of his abilities to fix guns, he opened a gun shop next to his Oak Ridge home in 1947. That business grew into a family operated firearms business and indoor range called Guncraft Sports Inc. that operated until 2005 when the business was sold to Coal Creek Armory.
Red and Marie were blessed with five children, all born in Oak Ridge. The third son was named after their father, and M. C. Wiest Jr. never went by Merritt either. Instead, he was dubbed Mickey at birth.
Mickey, now Mick, Wiest was hired to work in the Y-12 Environmental Compliance Department in March 1988, and, for approximately one year, worked with his father at Y-12. Mick said, “This caused confusion more than once, but the most notable time was when a mix up of our security clearance numbers caused an immediate re-investigation of me, but the problem was eventually worked out.”
On November 1, Mick will retire from the Environmental Compliance Department after 30 years of service, thus ending the “M. C. Wiest era” at Y-12.
“I’m proud of the work my father and thousands of other Y-12ers did in helping to bring WW II to a close, and for their major contribution to winning the Cold War,” said Mick. “I’d also like to point out that the work Y-12 does today is equally important, and I am proud to have been a part of it.”
Mick’s strong interest in history has helped Y-12 work toward compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, while also performing his primary duties related to the Clean Water Act. But his contributions to local history won’t stop there, despite his retirement.
Mick and his wife Teri, a semi-retired teacher and Mick’s high school sweetheart, will stay in Oak Ridge and remain active in the community. As a founding member of the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association, Mick plans to continue preserving and sharing Oak Ridge history. ORHPA recently opened the Oak Ridge History Museum at their headquarters in the Midtown Community Center on 102 Robertsville Road.
When asked about leaving Y-12 during its 75th anniversary, he said, “These occasions are a good time to reflect on our important role in United States and world history. I hope the interest in our history does not fade because there is still the need to preserve historic buildings, such as Beta 3 and 9731, which will help tell our remarkable history for years to come.” #y12turns75
Y-12 recently completed installation and startup testing of a new dual-stage paper disintegrator to better support site information security and sustainability practices. Now, 100 percent of Y-12’s sensitive and nonsensitive office paper is disintegrated on-site and available for recycling into compressed paper products.
Processing this paper on site reduces potential security risks. “The new disintegrator allows for expanded control of unclassified workrelated paper, ensuring all paper is properly destroyed,” said Marcia Baird, manager of Information Security.
Moreover, the new disintegrator system produces paper briquettes to be used by off-site recycling vendors to make compressed paper products, such as egg cartons. “Our old disintegrator cut paper into such small pieces that the paper fibers weren’t long enough to go through the recycling process,” said Jan Jackson, program manager for Sustainability and Stewardship. “The new dual-stage disintegrator system first shreds, then fine cuts paper, and finally compresses the disintegrated paper into recyclable briquettes.”
Y-12’s new disintegrator replaces equipment that had exceeded its design life and was no longer a reliable, cost-efficient option. The new disintegrator will process more than 300,000 pounds of paper annually, nearly doubling the quantity previously processed on-site.