A key official said his team has reached “strong consensus” on a potential substitute for a planned bomb-uranium plant, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason said his “Red Team” of roughly two dozen specialists would put forward a single alternate proposal for housing operations now slated for transfer to the still-unbuilt Uranium Processing Facility, or “UPF” for short.
“Now whether or not it’s better, that will be the judgment of the [National Nuclear Security Administration],” he told the News Sentinel on Monday. The uranium plant has been slated for construction at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee, but the site’s projected price tag has risen dramatically over the atomic agency’s initial estimate from a decade ago.
“The UPF concept had a lot of attractive options in terms of the maximum consolidation [of uranium operations], minimum footprint, operational flexibility from getting everything in one facility. And, in some of those dimensions, almost anything else is going to be less optimum,” Mason said.
He added, though, that his group saw a need for “urgency” in moving sensitive bomb-processing operations out of the Y-12 facility’s aging “9212” building, where they risk delays if the site encounters problems. Mason’s team is expected to present a proposal that could be executed by 2025, at a cost not exceeding $6.5 billion.
“Part of the challenge with the UPF as it’s currently configured is it’s large and expensive. Because of that, it takes a long time. You have to keep in the [existing facilities] for longer than you like,” Mason said.
The official said his group would spend the coming two weeks preparing a summary of its proposal for submission to NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held. He stressed that further work would be necessary to flesh out the findings.
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The Signal app is fast becoming the new favorite among those who are obsessed with the security and untraceabilty of their messaging. Just ask the Democratic National Committee. Or Edward Snowden. As Vanity Fair reports, before news ever broke that the DNC's servers had been hacked, word went out among the organization that the word "Trump" should never be used in their emails, lest it attract hackers' attention. Not long after, all Trump-related messages, especially disparaging ones, would need to be encrypted via the Snowden-approved Signal.
The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.
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According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.
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