The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, officials broke ground last Wednesday on the West End Protected Area Reduction project (WEPAR) at Y-12 National Security Complex, which, when completed, will reduce the size of the high-security protected area on the site by approximately 50%.
The project supports efforts to modernize Y-12’s high-security boundary and includes the installation of new sections on the perimeter intrusion, detection, and assessment system (PIDAS) as well as a new entry control facility, according to a CNS news release.
Reducing the PIDAS has the added benefit of removing some aging, legacy facilities from the protected area, allowing those facilities to be deactivated, decommissioned, and remediated at a significantly lower cost.
“Defense Nuclear Security (DNS) is incredibly proud of the collaboration that has occurred to facilitate today’s celebratory groundbreaking of the WEPAR project,” Jeffrey Johnson, NNSA associate administrator for Defense Nuclear Security, stated in the release.
“WEPAR is a vitally important project for NNSA, providing: security system modernization, a reduction in the secure footprint, and optimization of secure resources. This project has advanced as a result of a strong partnership among DNS, the Acquisition and Project Management Office, the NNSA Production Office, Consolidated Nuclear Security, and the Physical Security Center of Excellence, which exemplifies the tremendous accomplishments we make when we work together as a team.”
“Starting field operations is a monumental success for not only the current team members but for all those who have been involved in this effort,” Y-12 Site Manager Gene Sievers stated. “Beginning this project is a testament to everyone’s hard work and dedication.”
In addition to enhancing PIDAS, the project also includes security upgrades for key facilities and new personnel and vehicular entry control facility that will better protect personnel from severe weather and improve the efficiency of entry and exit.
“Y-12 performs specialized enriched uranium processing, manufacturing, and storage,” said Dale Christenson, Y-12 Acquisition and Project Management Office director, whose office is overseeing the project. “Advances in technology and processes have facilitated the consolidation of high-security work into a smaller area, which will lower operating costs and maintain reliability of the site’s security posture.”
Teamwork within the Nuclear Security Enterprise is also advancing WEPAR. As Geoff Beausoleil, manager of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Production Office noted in the release, “NNSA is working to standardize PIDAS design across the enterprise and established the Physical Security Center of Excellence at Sandia National Laboratories.”
The goal of this Center of Excellence is to provide a single entity to implement NNSA security standards. The Center provided the design and will provide construction management services.
“NNSA believes this process provides the best value to the government by implementing a design, bid, build methodology that ensures continuity from the design phase through construction and eventual commissioning,” Beausoleil stated.
“This project is pivotal for the cleanup projects that will transform and enable modernization at Y-12 in the years ahead,” said Jay Mullis, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. “Reducing the amount of high-security acreage will enhance access for our crews and cut cleanup costs by as much as 40%. These savings will allow us to dedicate more funds to accelerate the removal of deteriorated Manhattan Project and Cold War-era infrastructure and sources of mercury in the environment.”
WEPAR is scheduled for completion in 2025.