University of Tennessee, Texas A&M offer joint bid to manage operations at Y-12, Pantex

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee and Texas A&M University have put in a joint management-and-operations contact for Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Pantex Plant in Texas.

The National Nuclear Security Administration made the decision not to extend its contract with current operator Consolidated Nuclear Security in June. The contract is set to expire in September 2021.

“Partnering with Texas A&M to explore ways in which our university systems can further serve the U.S. Department of Energy at Y-12 and Pantex is a no-brainer,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “Both institutions bring experience in M&O contracting, broad workforce and talent development programs, and a commitment to serve our students, states and the nation.”

UT already partners with Battelle to manage the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The two have managed the site since 2000. Texas A&M is part of Triad National Security, which has managed Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2018

“The drive to serve our nation and provide workforce training for the nation’s nuclear security enterprise are woven into our DNA at the Texas A&M System,” Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M System said. “We are eager to work with the University of Tennessee System to serve these two important federal facilities.”

Y-12 and Pantex represent key nuclear production capabilities in the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Y-12 is the nation’s only source of enriched uranium nuclear weapons components and provides enriched uranium for the Navy.  Y-12 also performs materials science and precision manufacturing, stores enriched uranium and supports efforts to reduce nuclear proliferation risk.

Pantex, near Amarillo, is responsible for maintaining the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. Work performed at Pantex includes support of the nuclear weapons life extension programs; nuclear weapons assembly and dismantlement; the development, testing and fabrication of high explosive components; and interim storage and surveillance of plutonium pits.

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