Huge OR Project Salvaged

Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is getting kudos for saving a $6.5 billion construction project for neighboring Y-12. Mason's Red Team was charged with finding a solution to build the new Uranium Processing Facility, which has been mired in cost overruns and drawing the ire of Congress.

Details were not released after Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited Oak Ridge last week for a briefing, but we understand the plan involves building two buildings to upgrade uranium re-processing, refurbishing one other building, and tearing down two others.

Moniz planned to brief officials in Washington this week. Congress is likely to approve the plan if it stays at the $6.5 billion level since processing bomb-grade uranium is a matter of national security.

The project is believed to be the most expensive construction project—and payroll—in state history.