The agreement is the first of its kind for a National Nuclear Security Administration production site.

Y-12_UT_Signing_9.2011The Y-12 National Security Complex and University of Tennessee signed an agreement that allows the formal exchange of personnel, helping both organizations to accomplish long-term technology, business and research goals

The Joint Assignment Agreement was signed at Y-12 by UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst after they spoke to about 250 Y-12 managers about the site’s partnership with UT.

“We are really excited about this relationship and building on it,” Kohlhorst said. “UT is the kind of organization with which we absolutely want to be associated. The challenges for Y-12 in the future are going to require better skills, better tools, staying up to date.”

Officials said the UT partnership will support those goals by bringing valuable expertise to Y-12 in a variety of disciplines, while providing unique educational and research opportunities for UT.

The agreement is the first of its kind for a National Nuclear Security Administration production site.

“Partnership is a key element of the University of Tennessee,” Cheek said. “This partnership is all for the betterment of students, science and the missions we both have to accomplish.”

Y-12 and UT have had a longstanding working relationship and, in April 2011, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate interactions. Y-12’s Debbie Reed was appointed as Y-12’s liaison to UT and tasked with identifying mutual areas of technical interest, highlighting unique resources and expanding the level of cooperation between the two organizations.

“My goal is for Y-12 to become involved with every college at UT when it makes good business sense,” Reed said. “UT will be a seamless extension of our resources. I see our employees coming to us with suggestions on how to partner with UT to accomplish projects. Our partnership with UT will be similar to our partnerships with other National Nuclear Security Administration sites where we borrow their resources and ask for their advice because of their technical expertise. That’s what I want UT to be to Y 12.”

Joint projects under way include:
• collaborating with the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy to determine nuclear strategy best practices;
• developing a graduate-level radiochemistry program at UT;
• demonstrating and advancing innovative design and safety methods within the planned Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12. Students and faculty will move from concepts and classroom to active design and construction sites;
• partnering on National Nuclear Security Administration-funded human reliability research;
• participating in table-top exercises to evaluate physical security systems developed by UT nuclear engineering students; and
• conducting nine Plant Directed Research, Development and Demonstration projects jointly developed by UT and Y-12 in support of Y-12’s missions.

The partnership also promotes continuing education opportunities. Y-12 hosted 16 UT interns this summer, and 19 Y-12 employees have begun a master’s program in engineering management through classes taught by UT faculty in Oak Ridge each Friday, which is Y-12’s standard day off. In addition, Y-12 is defining work scopes for UT graduate assistants to help the site in conducting research projects and improving business processes.

Source: B&W Y-12 Public Affairs
Image: B&W Y-12 Public Affairs