Y-12, Pantex earn eight Defense Programs awards

  • Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 7:48 am

Teams recognized for contributions to national security

Consolidated Nuclear Security President and CEO Rich Tighe
Consolidated Nuclear Security President and CEO Rich Tighe addressed employees who were honored with Defense Programs Awards of Excellence at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Oak Ridge, Tenn.— The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recognized eight teams at Y-12 National Security Complex and the Pantex Plant with Defense Programs Awards of Excellence. The winning teams contributed to national security by meeting or exceeding the mission criteria established for the sites. More than 200 Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) employees were honored for their work on the team projects.

The Defense Programs Awards of Excellence were established in 1982 to recognize significant individual and team accomplishments in support of the NNSA nuclear weapons program. An executive review panel meets annually to select the winners.

At a ceremony to recognize the winners, Y-12 Site Manager Gene Sievers said, “Representatives from Defense Programs select Awards of Excellence winners from a large number of applications from across the Nuclear Security Enterprise. These folks know the positive impacts of your work, and the awards you’re receiving today are a clear recognition that you are making a difference for our nation.”

At a similar ceremony in Amarillo, Pantex Site Manager Colby Yeary said, “Because of the mission that we have been assigned to fulfill at Pantex, excellence is not an expectation, but a requirement. The recipients of these Defense Programs Awards are a prime example of meeting that requirement.”

Awards recognize significant contributions to national security

CNS President and CEO Rich Tighe said, “If we ever needed a reminder that the nuclear deterrent is the foundation of our nation’s defense, it was reiterated in October with the report of the Strategic Posture Commission showing just how significant this work is.”

Teresa Robbins, NNSA Y-12 Field Office manager, praised the honorees saying, “You’re committed to the mission. You’re committed to making things work, and you’re committed to doing it in an excellent fashion.”

“One of the values we share here is the value of continuous improvement and excellence. These awards recognize that value. I am thankful that you are here every day getting the work done to protect our nation,” Robbins added.

When presenting the awards, John Evans, NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Management, said, “We honor these teams, who through tireless work and sacrifices, have continued the standard of excellence.”

The awards recognized work that took place in 2022.

Ensuring mission delivery at Y-12

The five Y-12 projects that received awards incorporated significant productivity improvements and measures, which will ensure the site continues to deliver for national security for decades to come. Brief summaries of the projects follow:

  • The Building 9201-01 Can Shop Improvements team facilitated the successful completion of several important deliverables, including fabrication of the first complete set of can components for the W87-1 Life Extension Program.
  • Through the Advancement of Direct Cast Technology Maturation team, Y-12 will be able to meet mission requirements in the 2030s. In collaboration with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Y-12 completed the technology demonstration requirements and met all Fiscal Year 2022 program milestones.
  • In anticipation of a shortage of hardware, the Canned Subassembly Simulator Development Project was started. The team completed the project from assignment to assembly in 10 months, which is a record for this type of product.
  • Ensuring Y-12 is prepared to meet the nation’s demands requires accurate forecasts and modeling. The Strategic Process Modeling Accomplishments team helped lead the Nuclear Security Enterprise in material supply-demand and production capacity analysis.
  • The Weapons Production Machining Productivity Improvement team moved a component from a five-axis machine tool to a more modern standardized milling platform. Using off-the-shelf tooling, new programming, and more modern machines produced what may be the greatest machining improvement in the last 30 years at Y-12. A process that used to require 4 different machines and 50 hours per part now uses 1 machine and requires 4 hours per part.

New capability, more efficient training at Pantex

At Pantex, the three honored projects included standing up a new capability, tackling material demand issues, and ensuring production technicians are appropriately trained and ready to contribute more quickly. Specific information about the projects follows:

  • Pantex was able to stand up scaled production of a new explosive material for the first time since 2006 with the help of the High Explosives Pilot-Scale Manufacturing team. The group helped support milestones with manufacturing readiness of explosive material reproduction in-house at Pantex, producing quality products that are vital to the mission in a timely manner.
  • The Weapon Material Program team implemented new tools and process improvement to face material demands. The site and operations have already greatly benefited from the team’s efforts.
  • The Organizational Development and Training Support of Enhanced Training/Onboarding team created a more effective and efficient training plan for production technicians. By enriching lesson plans and reducing training times, the team’s efforts resulted in production technicians being able to start work on mission deliverables more quickly.

John Evans, National Nuclear Security Administration Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Management
John Evans, National Nuclear Security Administration Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Management, presented five Defense Programs Awards of Excellence to employees at the Y-12 National Security Complex.


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.

For more information on each site, visit www.pantex.energy.gov or www.y12.doe.gov. Follow Pantex on Facebook, X or LinkedIn. Follow Y-12 on Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.

Kathryn King, APR
Office (865) 315.5996

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