Final transition to Pine Ridge substation signals power shift for Y-12

The Pine Ridge substation now serves the Y-12 site, including the Uranium Processing Facility.

Oak Ridge, Tenn.— Y-12 flipped the switch on a new era as crews finalized the process of moving the entire site’s electrical supply to the new Pine Ridge substation.

In June, the Building 9204-02 (Beta 2) and Building 9201-01 (Alpha 1) electrical feeds were disconnected from the Elza-1 substation, marking the final load transition to Pine Ridge.

The new substation was constructed as one of seven Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) Project subprojects. Designed and built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Pine Ridge substation construction began in 2017 and was completed in 2020 at a cost of $60 million. The project team received the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary’s Project Management Achievement Award for finishing $13 million under budget and six months ahead of schedule. It is a 70-MVA (mega volt amp) facility and includes:

•   161-kilovolt (kv) switchyard,

•   13.8-kv power transformers,

•   TVA switch house,

•   DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) power distribution center, and

•   161-kv transmission lines.

New substation will serve Y-12, UPF

The Pine Ridge substation now fully services both Y-12 and the UPF project. UPF is one of DOE’s largest construction projects and investments in Tennessee since the Manhattan Project.

“This is a huge win for Y-12,” said Tim Hutson, director of Y-12 Utilities Management. “It positions us well, from an electrical distribution perspective, to serve the people and the mission of Y-12 for the next two to three decades.”

The original Elza-1 was completed in 1952. Then, it was responsible for providing uninterrupted power to operate the site. As the main power feed for Y-12, it was rebuilt in the 1990s.

“The Elza-1 substation was oversized for the current Y-12 mission,” Hutson said. “Elza-1 is a 300‑MVA substation. Pine Ridge is 70 MVA.”

The smaller substation is a win-win for the site, according to Hutson. “In addition to cost- and risk-reduction advantages, there is an approximate $30 million reduction in deferred costs, as well as significant decreased environmental and safety risks.”

End of an era approaching

The final phase of the transition is quickly approaching.

“We can see the end of this effort in the next few months,” Hutson said. “This will mark the end of an era for the Elza-1 substation. It will be cold and dark by October, when TVA begins the process of transitioning the Bull Run feed from Elza-1 to Pine Ridge.”

“Looking back, this has been a huge effort,” Hutson said. “It has taken a lot of people to make this happen, involving multiple organizations including Mission Engineering, the Project organization, our subcontract partners, federal customers, the UPF project, and TVA. This has been an exciting time.”

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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