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, a limited liability company of which Bechtel is a majority partner.  The facility 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 reap the benefits of a new uranium processing facility and significantly lower operating and maintenance costs.

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UPF begins construction of main buildings

Construction is now underway of the main buildings of the Uranium Processing Facility complex. 

The Main Process Building will be a three-story 240,000 square foot building that will house enriched uranium operations. The other two buildings will support operations in the MPB.

The UPF project is being built through a series of seven subprojects. Two were completed on time and under budget and two were underway prior to authorization of these three buildings. The project achieved 90 percent design completion in September 2017.

Mass fill 

UPF completed concrete placement for the fill upon which the facility’s foundation will be built.  About 132,000 cubic yards of concrete and 42,000 cubic yards of engineered backfill were placed as part of "mass fill." This work required 210 concrete placements in nine lifts, and each lift was three feet deep.  

Mass fill was preceded by mass excavation, which removed more than 300,000 cubic yards of soil from the site.

All of the concrete for mass fill is being provided by UPF’s onsite concrete batch plant, which was installed in 2016. 

Economic impact

  • Estimated $1.8 billion in goods and services
  • Approximately 2,400 jobs at peak

Eight million safe working hours

UPF achieved another significant safety milestone in 2018: eight million working hours without a lost time incident. The Project’s last lost time injury was more than three years ago in January 2014.  

“Achieving eight million hours without a lost time incident is a safety accomplishment, but it’s really about people,” said UPF Project Director Brian Reilly. “It’s about people making safety a core value, people being vigilant for themselves and their colleagues, and people working together to build and maintain a strong safety culture.