Thank you, Teresa, for that introduction. Good morning, everyone. It’s great to be back at Y-12 and to see all of you.

As I’ve said countless times, one of the greatest challenges, and opportunities, facing NNSA is our infrastructure. Infrastructure serves as the foundation of our enterprise since it provides the tools and facilities that we need to deliver our mission. Unfortunately, our present infrastructure assets are not fully capable of meeting our future mission requirements. As you may know, almost 60 percent of NNSA facilities are beyond their life expectancy with some buildings, including many here at Y-12, date back to the Manhattan project. Although perhaps overdue, I am pleased to say we are now making significant infrastructure investment that give us the opportunity to create the flexible, adaptive, and resilient capability we need for the 21st century. And as importantly, to create the kind of space you deserve to work in.

So, I’m pleased to be here at today’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Y-12 Fire Station and Emergency Operations Center to celebrate the latest example of our commitment to rebuild. The $68 million investment in these two new facilities that replace two severely outdated buildings, allows us to reduce deferred maintenance cost while enhancing Y-12’s already superior emergency response. To say a little more, the new fire station behind me will replace Building 9710-2, which was first built in 1947. The old building was determined to be partly uninhabitable and had high maintenance and utility costs. Furthermore, its location near high-hazard facilities within the Y-12 protected area didn’t make a lot of sense. Likewise, the new Emergency Operations Center will replace the current Plant Shift Superintendent building which has been in operation since 1944, making it about as old as Y-12 is. 

These new facilities will serve Y-12, and the local community, for decades to come. Both facilities are structured to support 24/7/365 operations and will provide a significantly improved work environment for the personnel that work in them. Additionally, the new fire station will enhance our existing mutual aid support activities with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the City of Oak Ridge, and Anderson County.

I’d also like to briefly touch on how these buildings came about because it reflects another key NNSA philosophy: innovate, collaborate, deliver. The new fire station and emergency operations center are two of four NNSA pilot projects aimed at streamlining construction requirements by approaching project execution in a more commercial manner.  Because of these commercial-like standards, this approach saves time and taxpayer dollars. Both projects got started in early 2021, and here we are just two years later with them ready to go. This method is a model for future NNSA projects and would not have been possible without our Acting Associate Administrator for Infrastructure Ken Sheely and his team who spearheaded the approach.  Thank you, Ken.

Overall, these two new facilities along with other larger projects like the Lithium Processing Facility and Uranium Processing Facility demonstrate the huge transformation underway at Y-12 as we reinvigorate one of our nation’s earliest nuclear sites into a modern complex ready to help NNSA deliver on its important national security missions.  I can’t wait to complete those facilities and make additional investments at Y-12 in the coming years.  Thank you for inviting me today and I look forward to our next ribbon cutting.