Industrial-Strength UPF

Posted: July 22, 2013 - 3:17pm | Y-12 Report | Volume 10, Issue 1 | 2013

UPF is an excellent opportunity to rebuild the supply chain for new nuclear facility construction in the Tennessee Valley Corridor and beyond.

The Uranium Processing Facility is the Department of Energy’s single largest capital investment in Tennessee since World War II and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s largest-ever construction project. UPF will consolidate and replace the hub of the nation’s uranium processing operations, Y‑12’s Building 9212 and other decades-old facilities.

To maximize return on this once-in-a-lifetime capital investment and to rejuvenate industrial supply chains, a partnership consisting of UPF, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Tennessee Valley Authority was formed in April.

“Big projects live and die by their supply chain,” UPF’s Federal Project Director John Eschenberg said, and it is important to develop strategic partnerships with suppliers.

A supply chain consists of raw-materials vendors, manufacturers and distributors — the business bucket brigade behind the delivery of a product to a customer.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Haggerty said his focus is to ensure Tennessee puts its best foot forward in leveraging capabilities in Tennessee as well as attracting new business to the state. Construction of UPF, he said, can be the catalyst for growth that propels the state to its next level of competitiveness, supporting federal power and advanced manufacturing sectors.

According to UPF Procurement Manager Richard Brown, the nuclear supply chain has diminished since the 1970s and 1980s in the U.S., whereas the foreign nuclear supply chain has grown. The three parties in this new partnership want to rebuild the nuclear supply chain in a mutually beneficial way that supports and expands regional industry.

The partnership hopes to attract highly qualified suppliers to the state, build relationships with equally qualified out-of- state suppliers and work with existing suppliers to develop the skills they need to perform nuclear-quality work.

Ultimately, Brown said, the partnership wants to “build a robust, durable manufacturing infrastructure to support the Southeast region with suppliers that can work in a number of high-performance industries.”

UPF is an excellent springboard for building a regional supply base in the Tennessee Valley Corridor and beyond. Suppliers that can meet UPF standards will be able to compete for work in the pharmaceutical, aerospace and defense industries or in any industry that demands high levels of reliability, safety and quality. For instance, two nuclear power reactors are under construction in the Southeast, and others are planned.

UPF has established a directory of companies interested in serving as suppliers or subcontractors for the project. Other interested parties may contact the UPF procurement team at