Ensuring the future of America's nuclear security mission
The Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) is being built at the Y-12 National Security Complex by Consolidated Nuclear Security, an LLC of which Bechtel is a majority partner. The design and construction is subcontracted to Bechtel’s U.S. government services company and will be a multi-building, state of the art complex for enriched uranium operations related to nuclear security. It will not only ensure the long-term viability, safety, and security of the enriched uranium capability in the U.S. but also support the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, the downblending of uranium to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and provide uranium for fuel for U.S. Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. Currently, these unique capabilities reside in aging World War II and Cold War-era buildings that are inefficient and costly to operate and maintain.
At an estimated $6.5 billion, UPF is one of the Department of Energy’s largest investments in Tennessee since the Manhattan Project and one of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s largest construction projects. Modern safety standards, security and flexibility are key design attributes. Once UPF is in full operations, the U.S. will not only reap the benefits of a new uranium processing facility, it will also save millions every year by significantly lowering operating and maintenance costs.
Site readiness completed safely on time, under budget
The Uranium Processing Facility Site Readiness Project was completed on time, under budget, and surpassed 600 days without a recordable accident or injury. The completion of site readiness work supported the start of site infrastructure and services work, which includes demolition of an existing building, hillside excavation, construction of a sediment basin, installation of a vehicle arresting system gate, construction of a new portal, establishment of a concrete batch plant and building the construction support facility.
Image: Officials cut ribbon to celebrate the completion of the Site Readiness Project for the Uranium Processing Facility. (L to R) UPF Project Office Construction and Environmental, Safety and Health Director, Don Peters; Lt. Col. John Hudson, commander of the Nashville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); NNSA Administrator General Frank Klotz; Congressman Chuck Fleischmann; UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg; UPF Project Director Brian Reilly; and UPF Site Readiness Federal Project Director, Eric Thompson.
Site readiness stats
- 0 accidents
- 15 support subcontractors
- 200+ people supporting site readiness
- 8,000 feet of potable/fire water line installed
- 6,500 cubic yards of mulch created from trees cleared and grubbed and used for erosion control
- 115,000 linear feet of electrical cable installed
- 6 wetlands created (~2.5 acres)
- 4 sediment basins created
- 22,000 tons of aggregate placed
- 100 pieces of earthmoving equipment used
- 250,000 cubic yards of soil excavated and placed
Vital to national security
UPF is needed as the U.S. reduces its stockpile of nuclear weapons because it helps ensure the remaining weapons are safe, secure, and effective in the absence of full-scale testing, which stopped in 1992. It also ensures our capacity to dismantle weapons and reprocess uranium for peacetime uses, such as commercial power reactors, research reactors and medical isotopes.
Image: Artist's rendering of Uranium Processing Facility buildings.
The Uranium Processing Facility's economic impact
- Estimated $1.8 billion in goods and services
- Approximately 2,400 jobs at peak
- Approximately 8,000 supporting jobs in surrounding community
For more information, see the University of Tennessee Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy study.
Image 1: The new haul road will segregate construction and passenger traffic during UPF construction.
Image 2: UPF site readiness included mitigation of wetlands.
Image 3: Demolition of a guard tower was part of UPF site readiness work.
Image 4: Site readiness work completed for the UPF site includes relocation of Bear Creek Road, including a new bridge.
Image 5: Artist's rendering of future UPF complex.