Nuclear Fuel Services To Gain More Jobs

Local 9-677 in in Erwin, Tenn., will gain new members as a result of a Department of Energy (DOE) new federal contract at Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS).

The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) on Feb. 26 awarded a $57.5 million Phase 1 contract to NFS for the design and pilot demonstration of highly enriched uranium (HEU) conversion and purification services.

Pictured: Participants in the USW Atomic Energy Workers Council 2014 meeting at the Local 9-677 hall across from Nuclear Fuel Services.

“This will lead to a creation of jobs at our plant, which would grow our local membership,” said Andrew Nelson, Local 9-677 president. “While I expect it to be substantial, I don’t know have exact numbers. We are excited to get this work, and we look forward to providing our customer the best product possible in the safest manner possible.”

Normally, this work of processing weapons-grade uranium takes place at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., but the NNSA is building a modernized uranium processing facility. The NFS contract to continue this work allows for a steady supply for the Department of Defense, including its stockpile requirements for nuclear weapons material.

Depending on how well the demonstration phase goes at NFS, the NNSA will decide if it will give the contractor the Phase 2 contract—uranium purification and conversion services—during the bridge period until Y-12 begins its new production process.

NNSA said Y-12 will not see a job loss or reduction in work as a result of the NFS contract. The agency’s long-term plan is to consolidate HEU recycling and recovery at Y-12 after its new technology is in place.

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