The fallout in Oak Ridge continues as at least 10 top executives of various contractors have been fired or transferred or retired. But the real cost to the local economy may yet to be determined.
If the current contractors at Y-12 lose the franchise, new owners will likely keep things pretty much in place. But there is another contract looming that dwarfs some of the largest deals in the state.
The contract for a new uranium processing facility will be larger than Volkswagen or any three or four of the largest "gets" Tennessee has had lately. But given the turmoil at Y-12 in the wake of the "Terrorist Nun Security Breach," contractors at other DOE locations will be going after the project.
We are talking about billions of dollars to build a new facility that retrofits, repairs, and replaces nuclear weapons. The current facility dates back decades and has to be replaced.
Look for heads to roll at the Department of Energy, even in Washington, as Congress begins to hold hearings on the Y-12 security breach, when three peace activists, including an 82-year-old nun, went through three fences to paint graffiti on the walls of the most secure area in America's nuclear arsenal.