NNSA Breaks Ground on New Fire Station in Tennessee

Source: NNSA | Release | April 29, 2021

State-of-the-art facilities being built at Y-12 as part of NNSA pilot project to reduce costs and enhance capabilities

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and Consolidated Nuclear Security officials broke ground on a new fire station at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on April 27.

An artist's rendering of what the new Y-12 fire station will look like.
An artist’s rendering of what the new Y-12 fire station will look like.

That facility and an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) already under construction a few blocks away at Y-12 represent two pilot projects designed to streamline efficiency and delivery of specific construction projects under $50 million.

“Our world-class workforce requires state-of-the-art facilities not only for mission success, but because they are our number one asset and they deserve modern infrastructure,” said James McConnell, NNSA Associate Administrator for Infrastructure and Operations. “This pilot helps NNSA achieve that modern infrastructure in a timely and cost-efficient manner.”

The fire station replaces one built in 1947, and the EOC will be the home of the site’s Operations Center, which is currently located in a World War II-era building. “Together, these new facilities will replace two outdated buildings and enhance our emergency response capabilities,” said Gene Sievers, Y-12 site manager.

The new fire station will resolve several needs according to Y-12 Fire Chief Scott Vowell. The existing fire station has high maintenance and utility costs, and the building’s condition and configuration do not meet current National Fire Protection Association requirements.

“A new fire station at Y-12 National Security Complex is long overdue,” said Sheila Feddis, NNSA Director of Infrastructure Operations and Modernization. “This new fire station will provide long-term emergency management response at the site. Relocation of the fire station away from Y-12’s hazardous material facilities is necessary so that fire department personnel can respond safely and effectively to all emergencies.”

Design of the new fire station was completed earlier this year and construction will officially begin in May. The total project cost is expected to be $33.8 million, with an estimated operational date of December 2022. The new fire hall will be located on the east end of Y-12.

Y-12 firefighters hold their hands over their hearts during the ceremony.

Firefighter Lori Pierotti-Callahan is enthusiastic about the new facility and the opportunity the larger training space will provide. “We will have ample space to work with our training props, specialty equipment, and conduct exercises that more closely resemble real-life emergency incidents,” she said.

“This new state-of-the-art facility will help the Y-12 Fire Department build on Y-12’s legacy of protecting those who protect our Nation,” said Division Chief Loyd Williams.

Site preparation on the new EOC began in February. With a projected cost of $34.4 million and anticipated start of operations in January 2023, this building will replace the current operations center. All plant systems monitoring done by the current center will be moved to the new facility.

The new EOC will support 24/7 operations as well as emergency responders, should an incident occur.

“The new EOC will consolidate emergency operations management, communications, and response technical support into one location to streamline emergency management,” said McConnell. “It will meet requirements for continuous operation for an extended period of time during an emergency event, and is designed to survive various severe events, such as earthquakes and high winds.”

NNSA Production Office Manager Teresa Robbins
NNSA Production Office Manager Teresa Robbins

Like the new fire station, the EOC will be built through adoption of commercial practices where possible. The construction of both facilities should proceed similar to ones in a municipal environment, saving taxpayers’ money and serving as an example for other NNSA projects.

NNSA Production Office Manager Teresa Robbins summarized transformation at Y-12. “We are in the midst of a major modernization effort at Y-12 and across the Enterprise,” she said. “The future is bright, and our Nation will be safer as a result.”

Learn more about NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations.