Lawmaker: Y-12 Uranium Project Will Move Forward

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 21, 2014, 8:56 a.m.

A Ten­ness­ee law­maker said plans for a bomb-urani­um plant in his state would pro­ceed, des­pite a pending re­view, the Knoxville News Sen­tinel re­ports.

Rep­res­ent­at­ive Charles Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) told the news­pa­per he was con­fid­ent that plans for the Urani­um Pro­cessing Fa­cil­ity will move for­ward after dis­cuss­ing the mult­i­bil­lion-dol­lar pro­ject with En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz and House Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee mem­bers.

“There is no op­pos­i­tion to UPF be­ing built. It is go­ing to be built. The na­tion needs it, and it’s go­ing to be built in Oak Ridge,” Fleischmann said this week. The urani­um plant is slated for con­struc­tion at the Y-12 Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Com­plex in Oak Ridge, where it would as­sume the re­spons­ib­il­it­ies of the fa­cil­ity’s aging “9212” build­ing.

UPF ex­pense pro­jec­tions have in­creased over the years, and a forth­com­ing re­port would ex­am­ine op­tions for keep­ing the costs of any re­place­ment urani­um cap­ab­il­it­ies between $4.2 bil­lion and $6.5 bil­lion. That cost range is cur­rently the re­place­ment fa­cil­ity’s of­fi­cial es­tim­ated ex­pense, but oth­er pro­jec­tions for the pro­ject have ranged between $10 bil­lion and $19 bil­lion.

When asked wheth­er he op­posed al­tern­at­ive means of meet­ing U.S. urani­um needs, Fleischmann said he hopes “to see [the Urani­um Pro­cessing Fa­cil­ity] built the way that it best serves the needs of our na­tion.”

“But, as I say, there is no back­ing off from the fact that UPF is go­ing to be built,” he ad­ded.

“We have all got to be fisc­ally re­spons­ible in the way that we do this … [but] after con­sulta­tion with count­less oth­ers, [what] is clear is UPF is go­ing to be built and ful­fill its mis­sion,” the law­maker said. “Do I want that done in the most cost-ef­fect­ive way? Ob­vi­ously.”

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