Y-12 workers talk about the plant's future

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Anderson County (WVLT) - By the end of this year, we'll know the future of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. Will a new uranium processing plant be built on the site, or will all operations shut down?

Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone has more on talk about what's at stake here.

We're talking potentially about 8,000 jobs. Between the workers at Y-12 and the agencies contracted with the facility, there are big decisions to be made by the end of the summer.

Hundreds of Y-12 workers are wearing these green stickers in support to keep the national security complex thriving.

"We have the best, most skilled workforce in the nation. You know we've been doing this work for 65 years. Our workers do it everyday. We already have people who are trained to work with these new processes," said Garry Whitley, president of the Atomic Trades and Labor Council.

This is one of many hearings nationwide to voice support and opposition to reorganzing our country's nuclear program. In Oak Ridge there are two major proposals being discussed on how to transform the Y-12 complex for the future. The first, that Y-12 become a distributed centers of excellence and continue it's uranium mission by building a new processing plant. The second, that all nuclear facilities across the country become consolidated at one location.

"Y-12 is one of five candidate sites for that. If Y-12 was not selected, would cease at that point. However the preferred alternative we're going with is the distributed centers of excellence, said Ted Wyka, the NNSA Document Manager.

The National Nuclear Security Agency prefers the first choice which would keep more than 8,000 jobs in our region. The NNSA will continue hearings across the country for the next eight months.

The NNSA will conduct a total of 19 hearings by the end of the summer and make a decision on the future of Y-12 by October.