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Thursday, June 5, 2014

UPF at Y-12 is Officially Dead

'Red Team' Proposals to Guide Warhead Plant's Overhaul
June 5, 2014
Global Security Newswire

The U.S. government has decided to go with an alternative plan for updating uranium-processing activities at one of its key nuclear weapon facilities.

Frank Klotz, who heads the National Nuclear Security Administration, told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Wednesday that the agency intends to use a strategy recently developed by an independent "Red Team" as a starting point for how to rethink efforts to modernize uranium-processing work at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee.

The previous strategy to construct a massive Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 fell into disfavor after the projected cost of the project rose from more than $1.1 billion to more than six times that amount by one estimate, and to nearly $19 billion by another estimate. The alternative approach put together by the Red Team proposes splitting up the work that would have been done by the new UPF complex into existing buildings and into a few smaller buildings that would need to be built. The plan envisions spending no more than $6.5 billion.

"I think there's almost nothing in that report that we disagree with," Klotz said in an interview.

The NNSA head said a "working group" is drafting a more specific plan for turning the recommendations of the Red Team into action orders that would "actually put in numbers, schedule, dates, [and] ferret out the contractual issues that have to be dealt with," Klotz said.

"That's on a pretty fast pace. I can't give you a prediction on when we'll have finished that process. But it's one of some urgency," he said.

Among its recommendations, the Red Team plan advises that new uranium-processing techniques be utilized that require a smaller amount of space. Another proposal is to potentially lower the quantity of scrap enriched uranium that is recycled through an expensive chemical process to obtain a comparatively small amount of reusable material.


Anonymous said...

$6.5B is the initial estimate? You can count on one hand the number of DOE projects that have cost less than twice the initial estimate!

Anonymous said...

Why not build it at LANL at 100-times the cost? Everything costs more at LANL including Charlie "GQ" McMillan's clothes and belts.

Anonymous said...

Everything costs more at LANL including Charlie "GQ" McMillan's clothes and belts.

June 6, 2014 at 7:42 AM

Really?? You're jealous of his wardrobe? You've got to be kidding. I guess he should put all his money in his mattress like everyone else in Los Alamos.

Anonymous said...

It's really sad to see LANL go from a western shirt, bolo tie, cowboy boots, and Wrangler jeans in the good ole days to Gucci suits, alligator wing-tipped Armani shoes, Bottega Veneta Intrecciato belts, Chanel gold chains, etc. These guys look like pimps on the nuclear weapon market; I mean come on!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Y-12 got the money without having to deliver anything useful. Maybe they learned that little trick from our friends at NIF.

Anonymous said...

June 6, 2014 at 12:24 PM:

"LANL" hasn't gone "from" anything "to" anything. Maybe a few high-profile, high-salary folks who didn't grow up in New Mexico and couldn't care less about "cowboy" anything, have finally moved into 21st century fashion.

Anonymous said...

We seem to have one commenter that is especially interested and expert in fashion. It's telling that (s)he knows the hot brand names for everything (fortuitously leaving out the undies). Scooby, why don't you start up a special thread for LANL fashionistas?

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that we still have so many folks at LLNS/LANS that have their heads so far up McMillan's, Goldstein's, and Knapp's asses (i.e. following the money) that they can't see the light-of-day.

Anonymous said...

"...and to nearly $19 billion by another estimate"

The gold-bricking at the NNSA facilities is amazing to behold. Centers of Excellence in that one area.
The transfer of the NNSA to for-profit construction companies like Bechtel and others has driven costs to astronomic new highs.


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