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Dismantlements, Security, Productivity Highlight Y-12’s Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2011

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., successfully met and exceeded Defense Program goals during Fiscal Year 2011 (FY 2011).

Y-12’s success in maintaining weapons and also disassembling weapons no longer in use ranked atop a list of FY 2011 accomplishments that also included leadership in counterterrorism, site security, productivity, technology and safety.

While the specific goals and numbers are classified, Y-12’s work on the W76-1 Life Extension Program reduced individual unit costs by 15 percent and completed five percent more units within its existing budget.

Y-12 dismantlement operations used about $2 million in efficiencies to disassemble more than the planned total number of units, continuing a trend begun in 2006. The Last Dismantled Unit on the W70 (Lance) program was completed, removing another full weapon system from the stockpile. Y-12 also successfully initiated dismantlement of the B53 and B83 systems, both of which present challenges because of their size and the materials used.

Y-12 executed 400 percent more surveillance work, a quality stockpile assessment requirement, than in FY 2010 and realized more than $4 million in efficiencies, using the savings to procure critical equipment for future work.

The Knowledge Preservation Management program, recognized by NNSA as a Nuclear Security Enterprise center of excellence, not only captured taped interviews of experienced staff as they retired, but developed a process for integrating such interviews with procedures, production specifications and films of operating processes.

“Despite having a full workload in a tough budget environment, we had tremendous success this fiscal year. I am very pleased with the work that Y-12’s men and women do each day to help us to meet our missions, transform the site and to be effective stewards of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Ted Sherry, NNSA’s Y-12 Site Manager.

B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst credited the expertise of Y 12’s work force for continued success in its weapons work and other areas of plant operations.

“Y-12 has a long tradition of finding a way to do the work our nation needs,” said Kohlhorst. “Whether we were exceeding expectations in weapons work, adopting the highest standards in nuclear quality, or changing our business model to get the job done more efficiently, Y-12 sets the example in the Nuclear Security Enterprise.”

The work done at Y-12 helps to assure that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to the nation’s allies.

Other notable Y-12 accomplishments for FY 2011 include:

Increasing productivity
Validated 370 initiatives and $71.8 million in efficiencies and cost avoidances against an aggressive goal of $55 million, exceeding all prior years’ performance. In the past four years, Y-12 has delivered more than $225 million in efficiencies and cost avoidances.

Transforming the site
Demolished approximately 250,000 square feet of buildings, disposed of two million cubic feet of waste material, and reduced the security footprint. Y-12 also consolidated 68 percent of all highly enriched uranium into the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.

Enhancing security
Minimized staff increases in Protective Forces and achieved effective security against an adversary two to three times more capable by integrating advanced information systems, force-multiplier technology, and security features and tactics.

Strengthening global security
Supplied safe and secure materials to fuel foreign research reactors; trained more than 1,000 professionals responsible for counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and nuclear threat response; established a center to accelerate R&D in uranium detection; developed the nation’s uranium forensics archive; and provided quality material to fuel the Navy’s propulsion reactors.

Working safely
Y-12 employees achieved nine months and almost seven million hours without a lost-time injury. ARRA projects reached a milestone of two million safe hours worked in a nontraditional, high-risk work environment.

Managing nuclear quality
Y-12 became the first NNSA site to implement the American Society of Mechanical Engineers NQA-1-2008 quality standard for nuclear facilities.

Deploying new technologies
Deployed High Energy Digital Radiography (HEDR) to certify weapon subassemblies for the first time at Y-12, eliminating film processing and the associated chemicals and reducing set-up and operation cycle time. Y-12 also deployed two smart technologies in production: the Facility Management Enterprise System and wireless sensors.

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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 in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the 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 U.S. and abroad.