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NNSA gets DOE nod for construction of main buildings of $6.5bn UPF project

EBR Staff Writer Published 03 April 2018

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has given the green light for the construction of three main buildings of the $6.5bn Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The authorization allows the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to begin construction on the Main Process Building (MPB), Salvage & Accountability Building (SAB), and Process Support Facilities (PSF) subprojects.

As per NNSA, the three-story 240,000ft2 MPB will be used for housing enriched uranium operations. On the other hand, the SAB and PSF buildings are expected to support operations in the MPB.

Overall, the NNSA is aiming to complete UPF by the end of 2025, subject to stable funding during the duration of the project.

The US expects to modernize its nuclear security infrastructure through the UPF project. In January 2013, Consolidated Nuclear Security, a company consisting of Bechtel, Lockheed Martin Services, ATK Launch Systems, and SOC, was selected for designing and overseeing construction of the project.

According to NNSA, UPF will replace an aging plant built during the early phase of the Cold War. The UPF is anticipated to be a modern, more efficient, and safer facility compared to the existing plant for carrying out highly-enriched uranium operations at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

NNSA will be constructing the UPF project through a series of seven subprojects. While two of the subprojects were executed on time and under budget, two more were in progress prior to the authorization of the three main buildings.

Included in the subprojects that have been completed so far is a $27.5m UPF Construction Support Building. The building’s construction was completed in last November.

DOE Nuclear Security Under Secretary and NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty said: “This milestone is another important step toward delivering UPF and strengthening our Nation’s nuclear security.

“I’m proud of the UPF team for keeping an acquisition project of this size and scope on budget and on schedule.”

NNSA revealed that the project had reached 90% design completion in last September ahead of seeking construction authorization for the three facilities from DOE.