From left, uranium material handler operators Rick, Dave and Randy Osborne gather near one of the X-344 Feed and Withdrawal Facility cylinder yards at the Portsmouth Site.
From left, uranium material handler operators Rick, Dave and Randy Osborne gather near one of the X-344 Feed and Withdrawal Facility cylinder yards at the Portsmouth Site.

PIKE COUNTY, Ohio – Most people may never get the opportunity to work with family members, but it’s been a harmonious family affair for a trio of brothers at the Portsmouth Site, who have worked together closely for the past 10 years.

Brothers Dave, Rick and Randy Osborne have worked side by side for the past decade as operators in Portsmouth’s X-344 Feed and Withdrawal Facility, where their responsibilities include quarterly tests of the facility’s autoclaves. Autoclaves are steam pressure vessels used to heat cylinders when transferring uranium material from thin- to thick-walled cylinders.

“It’s great working with your brothers if you get along. We learn a lot from each other, teach each other and watch out for one another. Communication is easier because the left and right hands know what is going on and everything flows together,” Dave said.

Rick and Dave previously worked in Cascade Operations together for 25 years. Cascade Operations refers to the network of buildings involved in the uranium enrichment process. Randy was hired in 2009 and worked two years in Cascade Operations with Rick and Dave before all three moved to the X-344 facility in 2012. The X-344 facility is where uranium hexafluoride (UF6) from obsolete thin-walled cylinders is transferred into thick-walled cylinders, sampled and stored for future use.

The trio grew up on a small farm in Beaver, Ohio, which is a village 12 miles east of the Portsmouth Site. They are collectively known as the “O-Team,” a nod to their last name.

“With three sets of eyes, there is less likely to be a mistake and Randy’s my ride to work, so we have to get along,” Rick mused. “We had to work together as kids to get the chores done on time so we could play sports together. It’s good to get along with both your family and your co-workers because it makes the 12-hour workday go by faster.”

As uranium material handlers, the brothers work with policies and procedures and address issues that arise.

“The job was challenging at first, but now we’re more confident, comfortable and in a routine,” Randy said. “When you’ve done a good job, you don’t have to take your worries home.”

Dave said the siblings look out for one another and speak up when something needs to be done.

“We watch after each other and get along well,” he said. “If we come across something that needs to be addressed, we stop, talk about it and listen to one another. We are truly blessed.”

Other family members have also been part of the three brothers’ working careers. Their oldest brother Mike worked in X-344 during the 1990s, and Rick’s son currently works in that facility.