NNSA Release: Y-12 Deploys System to Counter Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems

  • Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 8:59 am

Y-12 is an FAA designated “No Drone Zone”

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- The Y-12 National Security Complex has deployed a system to counter all unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, over Y-12 airspace, which is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated “No Drone Zone.” FAA’s regulations on UAS and counter UAS measures can be found here.

“The National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office (NPO) is announcing this deployment and the airspace restriction to the public to minimize the threat of unauthorized UAS flights over Y-12,” said Teresa Robbins,
NPO Manager. “This will enhance our ability to effectively protect this vital national security facility.”

The Y-12 system is intended to detect, identify, and track potentially malicious UAS threats. A threat is defined by the FAA as the reasonable likelihood that a UAS or unmanned aircraft activity, if unabated, could inflict or otherwise cause physical harm to a person; inflict or otherwise cause damage to property or systems; interfere with the operational mission of a covered facility or asset; conduct unauthorized surveillance or reconnaissance; or result in unauthorized access to, or disclosure of, classified or protected information. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act provides the legal authority from Congress for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to protect its facilities through its counter UAS program.

NNSA welcomes assistance from the local community and UAS operators to help ensure the safety and protection of the Y-12 site and its personnel from unauthorized UAS activities. NNSA will educate the public about the “No Drone Zone” by installing signage around the Y-12 site perimeter notifying the public about airspace boundaries in which UAS may not be flown. UAS operators who violate the airspace restrictions at Y-12 may also be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges. NNSA and contractor officials are working closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement to coordinate any necessary enforcement actions. Advertisements and social media messages will also be issued to remind the public of these restrictions.

NPO is responsible for ensuring the safe, secure, and effective operation of Y-12 and the Pantex Plant, located near Amarillo, Texas.


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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and militarily effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.

News Media Contact: Steven Wyatt, 865.576.9918

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