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Major project underway at Y-12 to reduce high security area by 50%

The WEPAR project will also provide security upgrades to the new perimeter.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — A major project is underway at the Y-12 National Security Complex to improve security.

Officials with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, broke ground on the West End Protected Area Reduction project (WEPAR) this week.

Its goal is to reduce the high-security protected area around the facility by 50 percent and to modernize security measures on the new perimeter.

“Y-12 performs specialized enriched uranium processing, manufacturing, and storage," said Dale Christenson, Y-12 Acquisition and Project Management Office director, whose office is overseeing the project. “Advances in technology and processes have facilitated the consolidation of high-security work into a smaller area, which will lower operating costs and maintain reliability of the site’s security posture.”

In addition, the reduction of the security perimeter will allow for the removal of some aging buildings that are currently in the secured area. This will allow the buildings to be deactivated, decommissioned, and remediated at a significantly lower cost. 

“Defense Nuclear Security (DNS) is incredibly proud of the collaboration that has occurred to facilitate today’s celebratory groundbreaking of the WEPAR project,” said Jeffrey Johnson, NNSA Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security. “WEPAR is a vitally important project for NNSA, providing: security system modernization, a reduction in the secure footprint, and optimization of secure resources.  This project has advanced as a result of a strong partnership among DNS, the Acquisition and Project Management Office, the NNSA Production Office, Consolidated Nuclear Security, and the Physical Security Center of Excellence, which exemplifies the tremendous accomplishments we make when we work together as a team.” 

“Starting field operations is a monumental success for not only the current team members but for all those who have been involved in this effort,” said Y-12 Site Manager Gene Sievers. “Beginning this project is a testament to everyone’s hard work and dedication.”

The project also includes security upgrades for key facilities and new personnel and vehicular entry control facility that will better protect personnel from severe weather and improve the efficiency of entry and exit.

WEPAR is scheduled for completion in 2025.