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Modern infrastructure will replace World War II-era building and ensure availability of a vital isotope to maintain the Nation’s nuclear deterrent

WASHINGTON – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has approved the conceptual design and cost range for a new lithium processing building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The Lithium Processing Facility (LPF) project will replace Y-12’s current lithium processing operations, which are located in a World War II-era building.

“We must modernize the Nuclear Security Enterprise to meet an increasingly dangerous and dynamic environment,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator. “NNSA needs modern lithium infrastructure to maintain the nuclear deterrent and LPF will ensure a vital capability for decades to come with increased processing efficiencies and reduced operating costs.”

Lithium is a non-nuclear alkali metal. NNSA uses one of its isotopes, lithium-6, for tritium production and weapon life extension programs.

The proposed 134,000-square-foot facility has an approved cost range of $955 million to $1.65 billion and is scheduled to be completed during 2031.

The former Y-12 Biology Complex, currently being prepared for demolition by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, is the preferred site for the facility.