Y-12 Uranium Plant's Cost Could Exceed Projection, Army Finds

A highly enriched uranium processing center planned at the Y-12 National Security Complex might cost billions of dollars more than the Tennessee site's managing contractor anticipates, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in an unreleased assessment earlier this year (see GSN, Jan. 17).

The Army branch estimated the Uranium Processing Facility would cost between $6.5 billion and $7.5 billion, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Thursday. B&W; Y-12 has said the site's price would fall between $4.2 billion and $6.5 billion.

The Army prepared an original expense projection last year when planning of the facility was 40 percent complete, and the estimate was updated in 2011 based on additional details, the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor reported last week.

Separately, Y-12 General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst in a written commentary defended the uranium facility as a necessity.

"No other facility is as essential to Y-12's missions of national security and weapons dismantlement and refurbishment," Kohlhorst wrote in the latest edition of the Y-12 Report. "Even if the nation never builds another nuclear weapon, UPF will be needed for disassembling existing nuclear weapons and reprocessing the highly enriched uranium from those weapons for peaceful purposes" (Frank Munger, Knoxville News Sentinel, July 7).

July 8, 2011
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A highly enriched uranium processing center planned at the Y-12 National Security Complex might cost billions of dollars more than the Tennessee site's managing contractor anticipates, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in an unreleased assessment earlier this year (see GSN, Jan. 17).