Y-12 National Security Complex, a major manufacturer in national security, is set to augment its technology development and innovate its business processes through the expertise of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The $9.5 million agreement between UT and Consolidated Nuclear Security—which operates both Y-12, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, for the National Nuclear Security Administration—will run through September 2026. The arrangement will allow both sites to access the breadth and depth of UT’s faculty, students, and research facilities.
“We have long recognized the importance of academia as a key resource in supplying creative and dedicated talent,” said Gene Sievers, Y-12 site manager. “UT, specifically because of their pool of talent, facilities, and proximity, is well positioned to be a primary partner in advancing applied science and engineering and developing innovative business approaches.”
Partnership is mutually beneficial
Historically, Y-12 has partnered with UT on various projects; however, this contract significantly streamlines the arrangement. UT is a recognized leader in research and student engagement, and Pantex and Y-12 can now access those resources—from engineering and materials science to business analytics and professional development and training.
“This partnership will provide many opportunities for us to contribute in a meaningful way to national security,” said UT Vice Chancellor for Research Deborah Crawford. “We look forward to supporting national security while providing exceptional experiences for our students and staff.”
UT’s research capabilities are strategically aligned with the mission of Y-12. Over several years, the two organizations have collaborated on more than 30 research and development programs ranging from materials research and nuclear nonproliferation and intelligence to cyber security, advanced manufacturing, and supply chain management, among other areas.
Strengthening the workforce
More than 900 UT graduates have joined Y-12—almost 300 of them since 2014. UT provides ongoing workforce development for Y-12 employees through its master’s program in systems engineering as well as professional training certificates and professional development workshops and seminars.
The goal of this latest collaboration is for UT to support Y-12 in driving the implementation of new technologies while Y-12 serves as an incubator for innovations applied to key national security mission areas. For taxpayers, the result is a more efficient use of funding to accelerate development and innovation in nuclear security.
Christie Kennedy (865-974-8674, firstname.lastname@example.org)