Y-12 Blog

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 5:21pm

Women dressed as the World War II icon Rosie the Riveter tour Y‑12 during the Secret City Festival.Women dressed as the World War II icon Rosie the Riveter tour Y‑12 during the Secret City Festival.

Tours of Y-12 brought almost 400 people to the site as part of Oak Ridge’s 14th annual Secret City Festival. The visitors from 18 states included a group of women dressed as Rosie the Riveter, complete with lunch pails, from the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Like Y-12, Willow Run was vital to the U.S. war effort in World War II.

The Rosies toured Y‑12 and learned about its current crucial missions, its role in the Manhattan Project and on‑going historical preservation efforts through discussions with Y‑12 historian Ray Smith and members of the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. The group, familiar with Denise Kiernan’s The Girls of Atomic City, also had a chance to meet some of Y‑12’s version of the Rosies — the “Calutron Girls” — during the Secret City Festival.

While newcomers toured Y‑12, some who call the site home during the workweek participated with the Oak Ridge Amateur Radio Club at its demonstration of World War II‑era military radio communications, including the SCR‑284 — the same type as used in Oak Ridge during the war. Approximately 200 people visited the exhibit, which, along with live, on‑the‑air radio operations, featured replays of historic broadcasts, such as news programs from World War II, including the announcement of the existence of Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project.

The group also hosted communications as part of the National Parks on the Air Program, celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service and the newly established Manhattan Project National Historical Park. More than 270 contacts were made as part of NPOTA, including stations on five continents.

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 2:59pm

Y-12 panelists share their education background and career experiences as science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals with local teachers.Y-12 panelists share their education background and career experiences as science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals with local teachers.

Embrace the nerd. CNS’s Anita Hazelwood did, and she’s never looked back. Hazelwood, a chemical engineer at Y-12, described coming to work in Oak Ridge in 2010 as part of the New Engineer Rotational Development program or NERD. Today the program is known as Career ONE.

“The program was a great opportunity for me to learn and gain work experience,” she said with a laugh. “I’m pretty sure I was the first member of NERD.”

Hazelwood recounted her story to area science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers who were visiting Y-12 for an in-service day. The group of about 20 teachers and administrators were welcomed to Y-12 by Deputy Site Manager Gene Sievers, who explained the mission of Y-12, the site’s importance to national security and how CNS needs talented engineers and other STEM graduates today and in the future. “The workplace is changing, and workers’ skillsets must keep pace with employers’ needs,” said Sievers.

Sievers also participated in a panel discussion along with Hazelwood, Production manager Abe Mathews, Specialty Engineering functional manager Michael Ellis and Uranium Processing Facility Deputy Project Director Valerie McCain.

Best advice for students? “Accountability,” said McCain. “Teach your students to be accountable for their actions.” Mathews agreed and added, “It’s okay to say, ‘I don’t know.’”

Ellis urged the teachers to help students “get work experience,” because it will pay off down the road.

Haley Holt, STEM Facilitator for Knox County Schools coordinated the event with CNS’s Kristin Waldschlager. Holt says STEM is about more than just teaching math and science. “We want teachers to see connections with their instruction and the job opportunities available to their students,” she said.

Holly Cross, Director of Career Technical Education for Oak Ridge Schools also attended the in-service and agreed with Holt. “We want teachers to be able to help kids see options and prepare for employment in the future,” Cross said.

Reaching out to today’s STEM-embedded professionals at Y-12 was a way for the teachers to better understand those options.

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 2:51pm

Tactical Response Force 1 Class 3-16.Tactical Response Force 1 Class 3-16.

“Family ties” makes a fitting theme for Tactical Response Force 1 Class 3-16’s graduation ceremony.

Three kinds of family attended the graduation at New Hope Center: graduates’ proud parents, spouses and children; CNS employees watching their children or other relatives graduate; and the graduates themselves, who said that their classmates and training officers are family now.

Eric Belcher, Director of Protective Force Operations and Training, echoed that thought in his commencement address after he thanked family members for attending.

“As your loved one begins this journey with the Y-12 Protective Force team, you are also now part of our family,” Belcher said.

The class of 30 included one woman and 29 men who successfully completed the 9 ½ week, paramilitary force training course that included classroom work as well as: handgun and rifle marksmanship, rules of engagement, use of force, civil disturbance operations, emergency vehicle operations, close quarter battle, tactical obstacle course, mechanical breaching and use of night-vision devices.

“The mission that these graduates are about to be part of is a critical mission that has worldwide, national and local importance,” Belcher said. “We secure some of the nation’s most precious and valuable assets, and the American people depend on us to do it professionally, correctly and without hesitation. I know each and every one of you is up to the challenge.”

The class boasted an overall academic average of 96.47 percent and weapons qualifications of 90 percent. The Top Gun marksmanship award went to Mark Shivers, who scored 615 out of a possible 620. The former South Carolina police officer and firearms instructor said he “had a lot of time behind a gun — lots of bullets.”

Two graduates, Brian Ford and Matthew Smith, shared the Academic Award with a tied overall percentage of 97.91.

“Needless to say this class did exceptionally well in all areas and worked extremely hard to develop their skills,” Belcher said.

Special guests from the National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office included: Assistant Manager for Safeguards and Security Arnold Guevara as well as Deputy Assistant Manager for Safeguards and Security Steve Crowe. Representing Y-12/CNS were Deputy Site Manager Gene Sievers and several representatives of Safeguards, Security and Emergency Services: Vice President Ken Freeman, Senior Director Tom Hayden as well as Deputy Director Anthony Mendez.

As she waited to hear husband Chad Reiman’s name called, Amber Reiman said she was glad to be back home in East Tennessee. Her husband recently retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years, 21 of those as a Ranger.

Chad Reiman looks forward to his next mission, protecting Y-12, as well as having more time at home with his wife and three children. His classmates and instructors are “just a bunch of class acts. Whatever I do here, I know I’ll be on a great team.”

The Army was like family to the Reimans for two decades.

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 2:36pm

Machinist Apprentice Michael Lovelady operates a lathe in Building 9201-1 graphite shop.Machinist Apprentice Michael Lovelady operates a lathe in Building 9201-1 graphite shop.

Michael Lovelady has always been a tinkerer. So, after a stint in the Army National Guard and 10 years as a Y-12 security police officer, he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Y-12 Apprentice Program. "It was a chance to get back to working with my hands,” he said. “I really enjoy designing and making things.”

Lovelady knew almost nothing about machining when he applied for the program in 2012 but has quickly learned the trade. After more than three years of coursework, an associate’s degree from Pellissippi State Community College and four years of on the job training with journey machinists, Lovelady and nine other apprentices will complete the program this August.

“I’d really like to thank CNS and the Machinist Union for giving me this chance. This program has been a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and grow as an employee,” Lovelady said. “I’m able to join many different skills together and the end result is a beautiful product.”

The products Lovelady makes include not only the parts Y-12 needs to meet its mission but also unique tools designed to solve problems he encounters. For example, part of his job with Fabrication Operations is to machine graphite casting molds. To accurately machine these cylindrical parts, machinists must manually set the cutting tool to the exact center of the rough part. While any number of commercially available levelers can be used to find the center of the part’s outer diameter, none work for the inner diameter, leaving that up to manual measurements and calculations — or, as Lovelady saw it, opportunities for error.

“I wondered if we could get a leveler that would work for the inner diameters of our parts but realized there weren’t any products designed for that,” Lovelady said. “So I got to looking at it a bit and came up with an idea for a new leveler.”

But he didn’t just come up with the idea. After consulting with some fellow machinists, Lovelady drew a rough sketch, modeled the sketch in SolidWorks design software, converted the model to a design drawing, manually plotted the program onto a machine and then machined the prototype himself.

“It’s a relatively simple Y shaped device with a sight glass leveling vial,” Lovelady said of his invention. “The two points of the Y contact the part’s contours, allowing the tool to slide along the outer or inner diameter until the sight glass bubble is centered.”

This simple tool not only eliminates guesswork, calculations and opportunities for errors but also increases productivity by reducing the time spent establishing tool height or switching between leveling tools. Lovelady shared his innovation with CNS’s Technology Transfer organization, which researched the market and determined that the unique design and capabilities of Lovelady’s device made it a great candidate for a patent. They submitted an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in September of 2015 and hope to hear more before the end of the year.

“This is an awesome accomplishment. I love seeing our employees thinking differently and finding innovative ways to get the job done and then using their skills and commitment to make it happen,” said Susan Baker, Fabrication Operations Production manager. “Mike embodies the principle of continuous improvement and the mindset we should apply daily to our work.”
Indeed, he’s still tinkering.

“We’ve been using the leveler for more than a year, but I’m still thinking of improvements,” Lovelady said. “We could reduce the distance between the contact points so it can be used on smaller parts, or fabricate it out of different materials.”

As he continues to machine new parts and chats with other employees, Lovelady sees numerous opportunities to design and fabricate solutions to issues around the plant. “That’s the fun part, designing new stuff,” he said. “I hate when people say we can’t do something. I always wonder, ‘Well, why not?’”

Posted: Monday, July 25, 2016 - 5:26pm

CNS Supply Chain Manager Skip Skelton addresses Blount Partnership members at New Hope Center.CNS Supply Chain Manager Skip Skelton addresses Blount Partnership members at New Hope Center.

Members of the Blount Partnership Chamber of Commerce toured the Y-12 National Security Complex. For most, it was their first time on the site.

“What a great opportunity for our Chamber VIP members to learn about and see the Y-12 property,” said Tammi Ford, vice president of the Blount Partnership.

The tour, which was attended by 27 business men and women, was sponsored by CNS and the Blount Partnership. As part of their visit, the members also received information on how they might do business at Y-12.

CNS Vice President for Operations Support Darrell Graddy told the VIPs about the enduring importance of Y-12’s national security mission and how local business can help and profit.

“The opportunities for small business are enormous,” Graddy said to the group.

The VIPs also heard from CNS Director of Supply Chain Management Skip Skelton and Uranium Processing Facility Acquisition Services Manager Rich Brown. Skelton talked about how to do business with CNS and Y-12; and Brown discussed the business opportunities surrounding the $6.5-billion UPF project.

“We were enlightened on the history, the future plans of the site and the opportunities available for small business,” said Ford. “It was a great relationship building event and our hope is to do an expanded tour in the future.”