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Press Release

NNSA Authorizes Start-up of Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility at Y-12
Jan 25, 2010

Project provides storage capacity for material in centralized area.



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that NNSA Administrator Thomas P. D'Agostino has authorized the start-up of the new Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF) at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The start-up of this new storage facility marks a major milestone in NNSA's efforts to create a modern, 21st Century nuclear security enterprise.

HEUMF — an ultra-secure warehouse at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.— will consolidate enriched uranium storage into a single state-of-the-art facility that reduces operating costs and improves security, efficiency and operations. The $549 million facility is Y-12's largest construction project in more than 40 years.

The enriched uranium to be stored at HEUMF will be used for maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrent and as source of fuel for the Naval Reactors program.  Other uses of the material include downblended fuel for commercial, research or medical isotope production reactors.

"Bringing HEUMF online is a prime example of the progress NNSA is making in transforming a Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century nuclear security enterprise," said Administrator D'Agostino. "I commend Y-12 for their efforts in bringing to fruition the construction and operation of a new nuclear material storage facility."

The initial transfer of much of Y-12's inventory of enriched uranium will occur within 90 days. That work initially was expected to take about 13 months. By condensing the initial move of material, Y-12 expects to save about $26 million in security costs that would have been incurred by securing multiple facilities for the longer period of time.

See: http://www.y12.doe.gov/news/report/toc.php?vn=4_1&xml=p06 off site link

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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. Visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/ for more information.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371