Y-12 National Security Complex

Y-12 National Security Complex

Y-12 National Security Complex

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Description:
The Y-12 National Security Complex is a United States Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration facility located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Y-12 is managed and operated under contract by B&W Y-12 (formerly called BWXT Y-12), a partnership of Babcock and Wilcox (formerly called BWXT Technologies), and Bechtel.

History

Y-12 is the World War II code name for the electromagnetic isotope separation plant producing enriched uranium at the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as part of the Manhattan Project. Construction began in February 1943 under the management of Stone and Webster. Because of a wartime shortage of copper, the massive electromagnetic coils were made with 14,700 tons of coinage silver from U.S. government vaults at West Point. Colonel Kenneth D. Nichols met with the Under Secretary of the Treasury, Daniel W. Bell, and requested between five and ten thousand tons of silver. Bell's stunned reply was "Colonel, in the Treasury we do not speak of tons of silver; our unit is the Troy ounce." Thus the Manhattan Engineer District requested and was loaned 395 million Troy ounces of silver (13,540 short tons, 12,300 tonnes) from the West Point Depository for the duration of the Manhattan Project. Special guards and accountants were assigned to the silver, and their responsible caretaking meant that at the end of...
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