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Y-12 Could Expedite Shift in Uranium Operations

An aging highly enriched uranium processing center at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee would begin phasing out activities two years sooner than previously scheduled under a shorter time line for completing the site's replacement, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Saturday (see GSN, April 5).

The transfer of operations from the "9212" site would take place from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2023 under the new proposal, which U.S. government personnel at the Y-12 plant have described as "predecisional" and declined to disclose. The Obama administration is seeking roughly $340 million to push ahead with preparation of the new Uranium Processing Facility; construction is slated to begin this year, according to earlier reporting.

The National Nuclear Security Administration is seeking details on possible funding priorities aimed at reducing the possibility of accidents at the 9215 at 9204-2E buildings, which would continue operations longer than planned to help facilitate the dilapidated 9212 site's closure.

The preliminary shorter-term UPF completion proposal would necessitate the deployment of additional systems at available Y-12 locations to ensure the complex meets its manufacturing projections (Frank Munger, Knoxville News Sentinel I, May 5).

Meanwhile, a full assessment anticipated within two months would satisfy all concerns over possible hazards incorporated in the replacement site's blueprint, NNSA Deputy Administrator Don Cook last week told the head of a federal watchdog panel (Frank Munger, Knoxville News Sentinel II, May 4).

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