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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Y-12 National Security Complex signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Wednesday with the goal of pushing more technologies into the private sector and expanding collaborations in areas ranging from joint research to analyzing business operations. The partnership combines the leading research talents of the university with Y-12’s successful track record in technology development and application.

MOU Signing
Y-12, UT MOU SIGNING – B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst, left, and Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek sign a memorandum of understanding. Standing behind from left to right are Ted Sherry, manager, NNSA Y-12 Site Office; Kevin Greenaugh, director, Office of Military Applications and Stockpile Operations, NNSA; and Wes Hines, interim vice chancellor of the Office of Research.

“The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Y-12 already enjoy a strong partnership, and with this agreement, it will become even stronger,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “I am personally committed to bolstering this relationship and look forward to possible opportunities in the development of joint research projects, appointments and even centers for excellence.”

Cheek and Darrel Kohlhorst, president and general manager of B&W Y-12, which operates Y-12 for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) signed the MOU at the Partners in Technology Forum at the Y-12 New Hope Center.

“Research is critical to our mission and seeing this research used on the shop floor is very rewarding,” said Kohlhorst. “Y-12 and UT share that belief and are committed to investing the resources to establish real, sustainable opportunities and successes.”

UT Knoxville and Y-12 already are working together to train future scientists and engineers. The organizations started the Y-12/UT Career Advantage Program with the College of Business Administration’s MBA program in 2007. Through this program, selected students get the chance to put what they’re learning in the classroom into action at Y-12, in addition to receiving a tuition waiver and stipend. Currently there are six MBA students working on projects at Y-12, with plans have more. Undergraduates also have access to real-life work experience at Y-12 through the security complex’s co-op program.

To take advantage of the partners’ individual and joint assets and to encourage the exchange of ideas, UT Knoxville and Y-12 are preparing to start joint faculty and research appointments at both institutions beginning this fall. UT Knoxville already supports Y-12 on several Y-12 or plant-directed research and development projects. Under the MOU, the two plan to expand their partnership and are considering several jointly funded research projects and the possibility of initiating joint research institutes or centers of excellence to solve complex national security and manufacturing-related problems facing our nation.

B&W Y-12, a limited liability enterprise of the Babcock and Wilcox Company and Bechtel National Inc., was selected to operate the Y-12 National Security Complex for the National Nuclear Security Administration in 2000. Y-12 maintains and enhances the safety, security, effectiveness and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and provides expertise and training to respond to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit for more information.