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.
Over the decades, Y-12 Development’s Metallography Laboratory (Met Lab) has studied the crystallographic microstructure of metals and alloys while undergoing many changes. The Met Lab was once a multiuse laboratory where technicians performed a laborious processing step to provide microstructural data to engineers and scientists to support various programs.
“Historically, every metal, alloy, and sometimes even nonmetals in the weapons stockpile made an appearance in the lab,” said Bob Bridges, Y-12 Development.
Does the Met Lab do basic metallography these days? “Not really,” Bridges said. “There was a time when everything we looked at was new and needed to be recorded for further review.”
The Met Lab’s current work is no longer routine as it once was, and as the scope of the work grows beyond metals to ceramics, plastics, powders, coatings, and other materials, the lab must stay ahead of the curve. Bridges said, “The best part of the work is you never know what someone will bring in to look at next.”
Today, the lab’s role is to study how or why the crystallographic microstructure changed. “Every component, piece, coupon, or specimen received for evaluation changed from its original state in some way and that needs to be understood to determine if the result is life limiting or normal,” Bridges said.
The Met Lab is equipped to examine radiological, nonradiological, classified, and unclassified objects using basic cutting, grinding, and polishing techniques along with state-of-the-art digital optical microscopes. All of the microscopes are maintained with current quantitative analytical tools. Other diagnostic equipment includes hardness testers, stress-strain microprobes, and gas quenching dilatometers for measuring physical properties from specimen sections. Access to other diagnostic tools, such as electron microscopy, can be incorporated from other groups within Y-12 Development. All of these tools are important in gaining a better perspective of grain size, inclusion content and particle distribution, microstructure and phase analysis, and some mechanical property data.
“Even with great tools, determining the root cause for failure analysis is not something that can be solved in an hour like you would expect from television,” Bridges said. “However, like popular crime dramas, you must have solid evidence to support a hypothesis, and usually from multiple pieces of information.”
Some of the problems solved over the past few years involved suspect counterfeit components, service integrity of control circuit components, premature failure of administrative controls, optimal alloy selection for service, and analysis of a variety of weld joints. “The key to solving a failure analysis is to not rush to an unsupported conclusion, even if it comes from the customer,” he said.
Four Y-12 project teams were recognized as fiscal year 2017 NA 50 Excellence Award winners. The projects included demolition of Buildings 9111/9112 and 9616-10, Energy Savings Performance Contract lighting upgrades, Building 9204-2 (Beta-2) Annex demolition, and Building 9201-05 (Alpha-5) Annex encapsulation. A fifth award was given to a joint Y-12/Pantex team for Construction Work Processes Improvements.
Jim McConnell, National Nuclear Security Administration’s Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure and Operations, said, “NA-50 Excellence Award winners are recognized for outstanding accomplishments involving innovation, effectiveness, teamwork, overcoming adversity, and enabling future success. Your work in revitalizing our infrastructure will help support our missions for years to come.”
Demolition of Buildings 9111/9112 and 9616-10
Demolition work typically requires significant coordination between state and federal regulators, but the team that demoed three Y-12 buildings was able to gain regulatory approval in about 50 percent of the normal cycle times.
Kevin Lancaster, the team lead, said, “Through extraordinary teamwork, collaboration, and anticipating potential barriers, the team was able to complete the entire demolition in approximately 60 percent of the original baseline schedule and at about 75 percent of the baseline cost. We estimate the team’s actions saved approximately $1 million.”
Demolitions like these reduce overall risk for Y-12 and DOE/NNSA through eliminating the costs of managing these buildings and the associated worker safety issues they present.
Y-12 Energy Savings Performance Contract lighting upgrades
Since FY 2016, Y-12 has used energy savings performance contracts to enhance building infrastructure, including an fiscal year 2016 project to modernize 11,450 lighting fixtures in 123 facilities, currently managed by Johnson Controls Government Services. The upgrades improved lighting conditions, reduced electricity use by 36 billion Btu per year, and saved more than $538,000 annually in energy costs.
The lighting upgrades were completed to allow for minimal disruption of production and operational mission critical priorities.
“We held regular team meetings and had good communications,” team lead Anna Beard said. “An innovative lockout/tagout procedure allowed the team to perform the work safely while saving time, effort, and money.”
The team also received the Secretary of Energy’s 2017 Federal Energy and Water Management Award for work completed by NPO, CNS, and Johnson Controls, Inc. It was the only group from DOE to receive this award in 2017.
Y-12 Building 9204-2 Annex demolition
The mission work that Y-12 employees perform requires specialized equipment like Kathabar systems. These systems are needed in areas of Building 9204-2 to maintain critical temperature and humidity requirements.
Cliff Hastings, team lead, said, “We found the penthouse structure floor slab was severely degraded. So the best plan to access the floor slab for necessary repairs was to demolish the 9204-2 Annex, a concrete block building located beneath the penthouse, since the condition of the slab was expected to continue to deteriorate.”
The team completed demolition by using innovative barrier configurations to protect close, surrounding infrastructure.
“Our team worked together to ensure that numerous legacy systems were fully vetted without incident while we performed the isolation process,” Hastings said.
The project resulted in a cleared and usable surface that provides the most efficient and cost- effective means to access the underside of the penthouse. Access is allowing for much-needed inspections and repairs of the penthouse structure as required to maintain continued safe operation of mission-critical Kathabar systems.
Building 9201-05 (Alpha 5) Annex encapsulation
Creativity and innovation are two characteristics often needed when working on a team, and the Building 9201 05 Annex encapsulation team demonstrated a unique approach in handling multiple issues. They created a single cost effective solution that also reduced the risk from radiological contamination and environmental insult inside.
“The benefits of this innovative approach reduced risks associated with the facility and the co located workers,” team lead Kevin Lancaster said. “Further benefits include allowing the project a broader range of demolition strategies enabling and enhancing future project success.”