EPA recognizes Y-12 for pollution prevention
Oak Ridge, Tenn. — The Y‑12 National Security Complex was recently awarded a Pollution Prevention, or P2, Recognition Award from Region 4 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), which manages and operates Y‑12 for the National Nuclear Security Administration, was among five companies nationwide to be honored this year.
EPA defines P2 as any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source before recycling, treatment, or disposal. Y‑12 was recognized for replacing mineral oil in its electrical transformers with a biobased product, which reduces costs, ensures regulatory compliance, and lessens carbon dioxide emissions.
Y‑12 commitment to pollution prevention
“Our site is committed to advancing the procurement and use of biobased products through integration into contractual requirements and the P2/Sustainable Acquisition Program’s site‑wide efforts to promote the use of biobased products,” said Jan Jackson, CNS’s Sustainability and Stewardship manager at Y‑12.
David Turner, CNS’s vice president of Operations Support, praised Jackson for “setting the standard every day” as she manages this program that has yielded substantial results.
Saving the environment, helping the bottom line
Retrofilling 20 transformers with approximately 17,120 gallons of biobased transformer fluid provided many advantages to site operations, including:
- a 20% increase in electrical load capacity,
- nearly 20,000 gallons of recycled transformer fluid (19,673 gallons),
- a 56‑fold reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and
- an 8‑fold extension of transformer insulation life.
Additionally, using a less‑flammable fluid both decreases the fire risk and increases power system reliability significantly. The retrofill has also reduced the level of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in the transformers to undetectable.
Long history of sustainability efforts
Y‑12 has had a sustainability program since 1993. In those 30 years, the program has completed more than 2,220 P2 projects, including ongoing recycling projects that have eliminated about 3.17 billion pounds of waste with an estimated cost efficiency of $121 million.
The site’s efforts toward sustainable purchasing do not end with transformer fluid. In the last 3 years, Y‑12 has spent more than $1.4 million on biobased products.
“I’m proud of the team’s efforts in driving the site’s sustainability progress,” said Andy Huff, CNS’s senior director of Y‑12 Infrastructure. “The team members are good stewards of the environment and of taxpayersf’ dollars, and it’s gratifying to see their work recognized by the EPA.”
Sustainability efforts support operational efficiency as Y‑12 delivers on its overall mission for the nation, which is to maintain the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; reduce the global threat posed by nuclear proliferation and terrorism; and provide feedstock to fuel the U.S. nuclear navy.
Y-12’s Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Acquisition Program was honored with a Pollution Prevention Recognition Award from Region 4 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (Click for larger image)
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC operates the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. Bechtel National, Inc. is the lead member of CNS; minority members include Leidos, Inc.; ATK Launch Systems, LLC; and SOC LLC. Pantex and Y-12 are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on performance excellence and the imperatives of safety, security, zero defects, and delivery as promised.
Kathryn King, APR
Office (865) 315.5996