Source: Oak Ridge Today | John Huotari | March 23, 2018

A rendering of the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex. (Image from May 2017 courtesy of NNSA)

Federal officials have authorized the start of construction of the three main buildings, including one for enriched uranium operations, at the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. It’s the largest federal construction project in Tennessee since World War II.

The authorization was announced Friday by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. Y-12 is an NNSA site.

The authorization came from DOE leadership, NNSA said in a press release on Friday. The authorization allows the NNSA to start construction on the Main Process Building, Salvage and Accountability Building, and Process Support Facilities subprojects, the press release said.

UPF will replace an early-Cold War plant with a modern, more efficient, and safer facility for conducting highly-enriched uranium operations at Y-12, the NNSA said. Federal officials have been saying for a while that the facility is expected to be completed by 2025 at a cost of no more than $6.5 billion.

On Friday, the NNSA said the cost and baseline for the work were approved by Dan Brouillette, deputy energy secretary and project management executive. The NNSA said UPF will help modernize the nation’s nuclear security infrastructure.

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