E. TN mayors on board with Y-12's mission

Oak Ridge (WVLT) -- Changes are coming at Y-12 in Oak Ridge.

With thousands of jobs at stake, mayors from five area cities are coming together to send a strong message to federal nuclear authorities.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt has more on what this may mean to the area economy.

Several cities around the country are bracing for the worst, as the national nuclear security administration announces plans to transform the industry.

Local mayors are asking the feds to let Y-12 continue its important mission.

Y-12 has been an economic lifeblood for over 60 years.

Donald Miller moved here when his dad got a job at Y-12 in 1944.

With the federal government planning to reorganize the nuclear program, Miller is one of many here worried about the future.

Miller says, "I must say I'm not all that confident, but I am hopeful, and it certainly makes sense for Y-12 to remain one of the major parts of the nuclear program in defense of the country."

Y-12 means over 8 thousand jobs across the region.

That's why mayors from Knoxville, Farragut, Kingston, and Clinton are joining Oak Ridge in presenting a unified front.

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam says, "I think one of the things the Federal Government looks at, no matter what the issue is, is what's the local community support for it."

The five mayors signed a letter, asking the feds to make Y-12 a Center of Excellence.

That should guarantee Y-12's place in the nuclear future.

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan says, "I'm very confident that we're going to prevail, but I think we need to be very strong and very loud about the fact that this is very important."

Former Y-12 employee Rebecca Carroll says, "What's at stake for me is my husband's job, he's worked there 31 years, so we would like for it to keep going strong, and I used to work there, and we have a house for sale in Oak Ridge and we certainly hope the economy stays strong so someone will buy our house."

The mayors' letter will be presented to the National Nuclear Security Administration at a meeting Tuesday.

The public hearing will be held in two parts:

11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Y-12 New Hope Center in Oak Ridge.

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