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FIRST UPF SITE PREP CONTRACTS AWARDED

Construction on the Uranium Processing Facility has yet to begin, but the first non-design contracts have been awarded to start getting the site ready for work on the big new production facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Two small businesses—AVISCO and East Tennessee Mechanical Contractors—got the first awards. Hundreds of companies have expressed interest in working on the government project, which is still in the late design stages. East Tennessee Mechanical, a small, disadvantaged business, received a subcontract from B&W Y-12—the managing contractor at Y-12—to do electrical demolition at the site. The value of the work is just under $500,000 according to B&W spokeswoman Bridget Waller. AVISCO, a small, woman-owned business, won a subcontract to establish a “spoils area” to receive excess soil at the construction site on the west side of Y-12. The value of the work is just over $100,000.

UPF is estimated to cost between $4.2 billion and $6.5 billion. It’s being billed, at least in the Oak Ridge region, as potentially the largest construction project in Tennessee history. The B&W subcontracts are just the start of what could become a spate of contract awards in coming months and years. More than $500 million has been spent so far on UPF design and planning, and there will be about $400 million in “bid opportunities” over the next year and a half, according to project officials. “Both sub-contractors are preparing their pre-mobilization plans,” Waller said of the AVISCO and East Tennessee Mechanical subcontracts. “All work is on schedule.”

Arms Corps Moving Forward With Site Prep

Steven Wyatt, public affairs chief for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Production Office, which is overseeing the work, said the federal agency approved the start of site readiness for the UPF project earlier this year. “The work under these contracts is expected to begin this spring,” Wyatt said. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is moving forward with its management of early UPF projects. The Corps of Engineers currently is reviewing contract proposals submitted for the relocation of Bear Creek Road near the UPF site, Wyatt said. Other readiness projects under the management of the Corps include the construction of a haul road extension that will be used to transport construction material and equipment to the UPF site, Wyatt said in response to questions.

The Uranium Processing Facility will replace a series of Y-12’s old production facilities, some of which date back to the plant’s work on the World War II Manhattan Project. The UPF project at its peak is expected to employ about 1,500 people. Another 6,000 jobs will support the effort, according to some of the project statistics. A design team of about 600 people has been working on the production facility. An earlier design effort had to be modified because it could not accommodate all the needed equipment and operational areas. Richard Brown, procurement manager for UPF, late last year said about 800 suppliers had expressed interest in working on the Oak Ridge project, with about half of those in Tennessee, especially in the Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga areas.


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