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Excess Titanium from NNSA’s Y-12 Plant to be Used by the Army for New Generation of Protective Body Armor for Combat Troops

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that excess titanium at its Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee will be used by the U.S. Army to develop a new generation of lightweight protective body armor for combat soldiers.

Titanium spongeThe material, which was originally intended for use at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., facility, has been provided to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (ARDEC) at Picatinney Arsenal, N.J. The high strength, lightweight material is also being considered by ARDEC for use in breech assemblies on field artillery to improve maintenance and reliability.

“As we work to transform a Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century nuclear security enterprise, NNSA is committed to finding new ways to reuse unwanted material that save taxpayers money,” said Randal S. Scott, Deputy Associate Administrator for Infrastructure and Environment. “The fact that this excess titanium will be used to protect our soldiers in combat makes this accomplishment even more rewarding, and is one more example of our investment in nuclear security paying dividends in other areas.”

The titanium, valued at about $10,000, was processed and transferred to ARDEC at a cost to the Army of $2,500. The transfer saved Y-12 $12,000 in waste characterization and disposal costs. This cooperative effort between NNSA, Y-12 and ARDEC resulted in a net benefit to the government of $19,500. Based on the success of this effort, Y-12 is considering this business model to dispose of additional excess materials.

This marks the second successful transfer of materials from Y-12 to the Picatinney Arsenal. In October 2009, Y-12 transferred a large quantity of stainless steel that was used for various military support and production activities at the New Jersey site.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized 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, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.