Purchase of the LeMond Carbon Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee will help Y-12 overcome aging facilities challenge

WASHINGTON – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) completed its acquisition of the LeMond Carbon Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near the Y-12 National Security Complex on December 15. The acquisition marks NNSA’s successful conclusion of a first-ever Option to Purchase Agreement, which gives NNSA the opportunity to obtain flexible production development space.

NNSA’s use of an Option to Purchase Agreement provides infrastructure modernization without the need for new construction. With this novel approach, NNSA is accelerating delivery of modern facilities while providing the time necessary to complete federally mandated due diligence by securing the rights to purchase the facility.

After addressing required environmental, title review, and other requirements, NNSA purchased the existing facility to house Y-12’s Development activities that are currently conducted in facilities built in the 1940s. Providing new space for the essential work of tackling production modernization will allow the development of new technologies to meet future requirements and support the global security mission. The purchase of the LeMond facility is an important step in safely and efficiently housing the necessary research equipment and instrumentation, providing modern laboratory facilities to attract and retain top scientists and engineers, and adapting to a changing mission.

Traditionally, federal agencies in need of new or upgraded facilities will either design and build them or choose to lease existing facilities. Buying an existing facility can be a lengthy process to accomplish given the necessary due diligence tasks, a problem in the fast-moving commercial real estate industry. With an option-to-purchase for the Lemond Facility, NNSA was able to secure the needed development space early and then perform required due diligence during the option period.

“This acquisition is not just a milestone accomplishment for NNSA, but a solution to a known challenge for Y-12 that makes our overall Nuclear Security Enterprise mission safer, more secure, and ultimately more effective,” said Jim McConnell, Associate Administrator of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations. “NNSA was reviewing various options with Y-12 for upgrading capabilities that currently exist in the aging Development facility. This is one of the oldest facilities at Y-12 and represented a risk to our national security missions because of significant degradation of the facility needed to perform activities in the facility.”

Almost 60 percent of NNSA’s facilities are more than 40 years old, with many dating to the Manhattan Project and early Cold War era. NNSA is pursuing innovative strategies that address its aging infrastructure to improve the reliability, efficiency, and capabilities to meet core mission requirements critical national security demands.

Learn more about NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations.