Oak Ridge Enhanced Training and Technology Center inaugurated
Officials on Thursday, October 28, inaugurated a federally and state-funded training center that will provide first responder training and technology demonstrations in response to nuclear emergencies.
Called Oak Ridge Enhanced Technology and Training Center, it will be built at the west end of Oak Ridge, adjacent to Oak Ridge Turnpike. It is expected to be completed by 2023, according to a press release from the National Nuclear Security Administration.
At the dedication ceremony, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee addressed the press and officials at the New Hope Center auditorium.
“The Oak Ridge Enhanced Technology Training Center creates another opportunity for Tennessee to be a world leader in nuclear power,” said Lee, who called the new center “at the cutting edge of technology.” In a press release, he said, he looked forward to welcoming first responders and experts to the new center and pioneering best practices in nuclear safety.
“We in this state want to engage in the next generation of power generation. This includes nuclear,” he said in his speech to the auditorium, which is part of the Y- national security complex. 12. He added that nuclear energy is “of increasing importance in this country”, resulting in an increased need for nuclear security training.
The governor said the center will help both the energy sector and the nuclear weapons sector.
A video released at the event said the $ 35.1 million facility is funded by state and federal governments. Congress appropriated $ 20 million, while the state of Tennessee appropriated $ 18 million. A portion of this funding – $ 2.9 million – will also help the city of Oak Ridge to establish the Science and Energy Education Meeting Center near the current United States Museum of Science and Energy. in the development of Main Street Oak Ridge, the video says.
When asked why the state had committed funds At the project, Lee told reporters he supports training for first responders, but also supports increasing tax revenues and jobs in Tennessee.
ORTTEC is expected to create more than 100 permanent jobs, $ 40 million in annual revenue and $ 2 million in sales tax revenue, according to the video. It is estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 annual visits to the center are planned, which is expected to generate “thousands” of dollars in hotel revenues and sales taxes.
The ORETTC will house the installation of simulated nuclear and radiological activities, which will train those responsible for the protection of nuclear and radioactive materials with the latest technologies in nuclear security, detection and non-proliferation. This same facility will also train first responders and other experts in nuclear operations, safeguards, cybersecurity and emergency response.
ORETTC will also include the Tennessee Emergency Response Training Center, which is state-funded and developed by Roane County. It is expected to provide first responder training for state and local personnel. It will include offices for full-time teachers, augmented reality and virtual reality rooms, as well as traditional classrooms.
Michelle Reichart, chief executive officer of Consolidated Nuclear Security, which manages the Y-12 national security complex, told reporters she expects it to host the fire departments, the military, the FBI and even foreign partners working on these types of security.
Tennessee Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, Roane County Executive Ron Woody and Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson spoke ahead of the event to “kick off” construction, which is already underway, while U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, R- Third District, spoken via video. Kasia Mendelsohn, acting deputy nuclear non-proliferation defense administrator for the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE / NNSA), also spoke at the Oak Ridge event.
“A key non-proliferation mission of the NNSA is to ensure that nuclear and radioactive materials are protected from use in an act of terror,” Mendelsohn said in a press release. “This facility allows us to incorporate more advanced technologies into our training and gives us the opportunity to expand our efforts into other areas.”
Robert Kennedy, chairman of the Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board, criticized the project for having to cut down new trees rather than choosing an already cleared site like the nearby Horizon Center.
However, Morris Hassler, senior director of Global Security & Strategic Partnership for CNS, told The Oak Ridger that the project’s budget did not allow for new land to be rented or purchased, which would have been necessary if they were located at Horizon Center.
Ben Pounds is a reporter for The Oak Ridger. Call him at (865) 441-2317, email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Bpoundsjournal.