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Y-12 Operator Lashed for Uranium Plant Setback

The contract operator of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee received black marks in its latest government assessment for forcing $539 million in revisions to plans for an on-site highly enriched uranium processing center, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Monday.

Errors in an earlier blueprint would delay completion of the new Uranium Processing Facility by 13 months, the National Nuclear Security Administration said in a January report on B&W Y-12, a firm operated by Bechtel and Babcock & Wilcox.

"The project has not been able to meet key project milestones and has been late in identifying that project schedule milestones would not be achieved," the document says.

The assessment refers to several additional shortcomings in preparation of the planned $6.5 billion facility, which is intended to take over duties handled by a number of decades-old uranium facilities at the nuclear arms site.

Poor oversight contributed to "serious concerns" in a related microwave technology initiative, but B&W Y-12 succeeded in restoring trust in site protections near the end of the previous budget cycle, the paper's authors wrote.

A new contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security, will take over management of Y-12 on May 1.

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