April 16, 2003
Beryllium Oxide Operations at the Y-12 National Security Complex
Much of the manufacturing equipment and facilities used for beryllium oxide operations were spread across the Y-12 site and, in some cases, co-located with other Y-12 operations. This situation led to increased manufacturing time and costs, and exacerbated the health hazards associated with the use of beryllium. For example, when material is moved from one location to another, laboratory samples are taken to ensure that a contaminated item is not carried outside of the contained area. However, our review showed that if beryllium oxide operations were consolidated, Y-12 could reduce the number of laboratory samples by over 50 percent. Also, exposure to beryllium hazards for workers in other Y-12 operations could be reduced if beryllium oxide activities were isolated, rather than commingled with the other operations.