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Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor

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First Glimpse of Revamped UPF Provided by Contractor

Todd Jacobson
NS&D Monitor

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Uranium Processing Facility project officials provided the first glimpse of the new approach
on the revamped multi-billion-dollar project this week, revealing that the structure will consist of three main
buildings. The approach represents a departure from the “big box” strategy that was scrapped earlier this year
because of massive cost overruns on the project, but officials hadn’t previously said how the new facility would
look. “It’s on the right trajectory, the things that we’re doing now,” UPF Project Director Brian Reilly said at the
Energy, Technology and Environmental Business Association’s annual meeting Nov. 20, held here.

According to Reilly, the facility will consist of a Main Process Building where uranium production will occur as well
as a Mechanical/Electrical Building and a Salvage and Accountability Building. In total, the facility will be about
500,000 square feet, Reilly said, which is a decrease from the 600,000 square foot “big box” version of the facility.
Additional existing facilities at Y-12 will also be used to help meet mission requirements. Along with a scaled back
approach to the project, that was one of the recommendations of a Red Team that examined the project earlier this

Reilly: ‘Tailoring’ Requirements Can Lead to Cost Savings

The new approach also enables significant cost savings and efficiencies over the previous strategy, Reilly said. He
said previously the Mechanical/Electrical Building and a Salvage and Accountability Building were part of the large
facility, which had to be designed to the highest safety and security requirements. Now, only the Main Process
Building will be built to those standards. “So by tailoring requirements we’re able to lower the overall costs of the
facility,” Reilly said.

He also said the approach will allow the project to be more efficient, both during design and construction. “It opens
up a number of different work fronts,” he said. “In construction we can work on multiple buildings in parallel and it
even opens up work front in the engineering phase, because on a project this complex you’re going to hit barriers,
you’re going to hit hurdles, big challenges to what you’re trying to do. We’re going to be able to redirect our
workforce and put them on other pieces and parts of the project because there is a little bit of independence
between the work activities of the buildings.”

New Approach Can Provide More Subcontracting Opportunities

Splitting the project into small buildings is also likely to mean more opportunities for subcontractors to build pieces
of the facility. While the Main Process Building will be poured concrete, the other two main buildings are likely to
be made of structural steel, UPF Procurement Manager Rich Brown said at the meeting. “We’re looking for
contractors who can actually do a build of each of these buildings; we’re looking at them as separate contracts,” he
said. “Because of this layout we now have, this is work we can accelerate, so we’re looking at early contracting
opportunities here.”

‘It’s Going to Come Like a Freight Train’

In all, Brown said project officials were expecting to use 10,000 tons of rebar, 2 million pounds of embed plates,
17,000 tons of structural steel, 500,000 square feet of fireproofing, 60,000 feet of fire protection, 100,000 feet of
pipes, 6,500 valves, 3 million feet of write and cable, and 200,000 cubic yards of concrete. Another 150 gloveboxes
and 250-300 process skids will also be needed, Brown said. He predicted that procurements would be picking up
considerably in the near future. “It’s going to come like a freight train,” he said. “Once we ramp up it’s going to
ramp up very, very fast.”

While Reilly did not provide a timeline for the various pieces of the project, Brown said work on the Main Process
Building is slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2018 and be wrapped up by the end of FY 2022. The
Mechanical/Electrical Building (MEB) and Salvage and Accountability Building (SAB) will start sooner, with
construction expected to begin on the MEB in FY 2017 and construction to start on the SAB in FY 2018.

Reilly said he was confident the facility would remain under $6.5 billion and be completed by 2025, though he did
not commit to any firm timelines for the start of construction. “We’re still talking about exactly when we’ll be in the
field,” he said. “We have a plan right now that gets us to 2025. That’s why I keep saying I’m highly confident. We
have a really good plan. We have all the right things in the schedule that we need in order to feel confident that
we’re going to meet 2025.” Work to reroute Bear Creek Road and build a haul road are underway and proceeding
smoothly, Reilly said.

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