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Research Doors Open for B&W Y-12, ORAU with MOU Signing

May 21, 2008

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—B&W Y-12, the contractor operating the Y-12 National Security Complex, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of 121 doctoral-granting institutions, signed a memorandum of understanding today that will allow the two institutions to engage in a number of collaborative research partnerships.

As part of its pursuit to transform into a more responsive and affordable enterprise that supports a broader national security mission, Y-12 has taken its recent designation by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as the Uranium Center of Excellence (UCE) and begun aggressively pursuing innovative ways to support NNSA’s transformation plans. A central part of the UCE business and technology strategy is to form mutually beneficial and long-term alliances with institutions having similar interests.

"ORAU has exceptional capabilities and experience in developing the type of partnerships we envision," said Darrel Kohlhorst, president and general manager of B&W Y-12. "What Y-12 offers are resources that not only include researchers, engineers and other technical staff, but we also have unique facilities and materials that cannot be found any place else."

Townsend & Darrel Kohlhorst

ORAU President Ron Townsend and B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst signed a memorandum of understanding today that will allow the two institutions to engage in a number of collaborative research partnerships. High-resolution version of photo

"The ultimate goal of this agreement is to build enduring partnerships between Y‑12 and premier universities that will enable the Uranium Center of Excellence to leverage the cutting-edge research being conducted at universities," said Ron Townsend, president and CEO of ORAU. "Universities will benefit from the opportunity to focus research on critical problems requiring advanced scientific and technological solutions."

The MOU signing occurred during a two-day workshop that included ORAU and representatives from 15 of its member universities meeting with representatives of Y-12’s UCE. The workshop was held to communicate both parties’ priorities and needs and develop a framework for bridging those needs and creating a plan for future collaboration.

"We envision engaging key universities in a variety of ways, such as postdoctoral positions, undergraduate research, joint faculty appointments, loan of personnel, collaborative research partnerships, and contract research," said Randy Spickard, vice president and executive director of B&W Y-12’s Science, Technologies and Partnerships organization. "The end goal is to form collaborations with universities that meet their needs as research and teaching institutions and to support Y-12’s drive to implement new technologies that support the transformation of the Nuclear Weapons Complex."

B&W Y-12 operates the Y-12 National Security Complex for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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