Source: Oak Ridge Today | Staff | April 15, 2016

Infrastructure improvements in Y-12’s Building 9995 include equipment upgrades for the site’s Plant Lab. The upgrades allow technicians to more safely and efficiently handle hazardous chemicals. (Credit: Y-12 National Security Complex)

Infrastructure improvements in Y-12’s Building 9995 include equipment upgrades for the site’s Plant Lab. The upgrades allow technicians to more safely and efficiently handle hazardous chemicals. (Credit: Y-12 National Security Complex)

The Y-12 National Security Complex has completed significant infrastructure upgrades to the plant’s Analytical Chemistry facility to improve mission capability and reliability. The year-long effort was completed on schedule and budget, a press release said.

Built in 1957, Building 9995 provides comprehensive analytical services in support of core missions, environmental compliance, and overall worker health and safety at the Oak Ridge facility, the press release said.

The infrastructure upgrades at 9995 included improvements to critical heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electrical system upgrades, and replacement of obsolete radiochemistry hoods. These improvements have greatly improved Building 9995’s work environment by reducing risk to operations and enabling the facility to continue to meet the extensive analytical chemistry needs for Y-12, the press release said.

The 9995 infrastructure upgrade was made possible through a $5 million investment allocated by National Nuclear Security Administration Uranium Program Manager Tim Driscoll and matched by $5 million through Consolidated Nuclear Security. Once funding was received, all the planning, procurement, and installation activities for the various improvements were planned and executed expeditiously, the release said.

“These successful efforts in Building 9995 are a great example of how NNSA and CNS are working together to effectively address near‑term needs in our aging Y-12 facilities,” Driscoll said in the release.

Y-12 scientists working in Building 9995 analyze impurity levels to ensure the materials destined for nuclear weapons components or naval reactor fuel are of suitably high quality, the release said. They also analyze soil and groundwater samples for hazardous contaminants and characterize the site’s waste output to ensure regulatory compliance.

One major beneficiary of the 9995 upgrades is the radiochemistry laboratory, which separates isotopes from uranium using concentrated levels of specific acids. The use of those acids necessitates ventilation hoods capable of meeting certain safety requirements. Until recently, only five of the lab’s nine hoods met those requirements, leaving the other four out of commission.

“This situation resulted in a very crowded work space for technicians working in this areas,” the press release said.

A portion of the $10 million funding source went toward replacing all nine hoods with lighter, shatter‑proof windows, giving each technician their own hood to safely and efficiently handle hazardous chemicals.

Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC operates Y-12 and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, under a single contract for NNSA. CNS member companies include Bechtel National Inc., Lockheed Martin, ATK Launch Services, and SOC, with Booz Allen Hamilton as a teaming subcontractor.