Public input on future of Y-12

Oak Ridge (WVLT) -- Thousands of local jobs are at stake as the federal government makes decisions about the future of Y-12.

People are speaking out at a pair of public hearings in Oak Ridge.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt spent the day at Y-12 and has more.

We do know that Y-12 will have to change.

The real question, will it get new, more efficient facilities, allowing it to keep most employees in place?

Or will the next decade be spent closing down and cleaning up?

92 people sign up to speak to the National Nuclear Security Agency at the first of two hearings today.

Fred Crowner has worked at Y-12 for ten years.

Crowner says, "There's a good reason for this facility in our national security. I feel that we need to maintain that and I'm proud to be a part of that."

There are several options of the table as the feds decide how to reorganize the nuclear weapons complex. Under the leading plan, they are looking for a...

Ted Sherry says, "Smaller, more efficient, more effective operation here at Y-12. In fact, that is the option that is being referred to as the preferred alternative."

Even the preferred alternative would mean shrinking the size of Y-12 from 150 acres to 15.

Weapons employees would be reduced by 30 percent over the next decade.

Y-12 says other jobs could offset those cuts.

If Y-12 as not chosen as the center of excellence, the uranium program here would be completely phased out over the next decade.

That sounds fine to Amy Nicholson who traveled here from Middle Tennessee.

Nicholson says, "We should not be having a growth economy built on death."

But those running the meeting make it clear, this process is not about determining how many nuclear weapons to make, just where to make them.

The man conducting hearings like these at 19 sites around the country admits Y-12 has a lot going for it.

Ted Wyka says, "Let's face it. In this area, we have a very dedicated and highly talented workforce that's producing. Y-12 is already doing a lot, they're leading the way in a lot of our transformation efforts."

Another public hearing begins at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night at Y-12's New Hope Center on Scarboro Road.

You can also share your opinion online by clicking the link below.

A final decision is expected in October.

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  • by MB Location: Lenoir City on Feb 27, 2008 at 09:09 PM
    Keeping Y12 in Oak Ridge is really the right choice considering the money spent and improvements made recently. What really needs to be done is the upper managment team needs to be revamped with people who have the whole plant population in mind when making decisions and not just a select few, I know it made me (and others) move on to greener fields a few years ago and nothing has really changed. Good luck everyone.
  • by Michael Location: Oliver Springs, Tennessee on Feb 26, 2008 at 06:38 PM
    I am for keeping the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge for several viable reasons: 1) Oak Ridge already has a highly trained workforce 2) Oak Ridge already has undergone millions of dollars of improvements with the HUMF building, etc. 3) If the facility were moved all that is stored at Oak Ridge would have to be moved at an unknown yet very expensive price to the taxpayer 4) To go along with the previous 2 statements the taxpayer has already paid for much in Oak Ridge and it would be a great disservice to them to pull out thereby wasting all the money that has been poured into this site 5) Oak Ridge and actually a large part of East TN rely on the revenue generated from Y-12 6) Historically it has been here since it's inception and should stay here 7) I am proud to work at Y-12 and I have chosen to live in East TN it is my hope that my future stays where it is.
  • by Darrell Location: oak ridge on Feb 26, 2008 at 06:31 PM
    It would be crazy for the feds to close y-12. they would be playing right into the hands of the terrorist of this world.


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