Joint-funded project will train local, state, and national first responders

OAK RIDGE, Tennessee – Officials broke ground Oct. 28, 2021 on the Oak Ridge Enhanced Technology and Training Center (ORETTC), a novel federal and state funded concept to provide first responder training and technology demonstrations.

Kasia Mendelsohn, Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), was joined by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and senior managers from the Y-12 National Security Complex and NNSA to kick off construction.

“A key NNSA nonproliferation mission is ensuring that nuclear and radioactive material is protected from use in an act of terror,” Mendelsohn. “This facility allows us to integrate more state-of-the-art technology into our training and gives us room to expand our efforts in other areas.”

Once ready for service, ORETTC will be home to the Simulated Nuclear and Radiological Activities Facility, which will train those responsible for safeguarding nuclear and radioactive material with the latest nuclear security, detection, and nonproliferation technologies. That same facility will also train first responders and other experts in nuclear operations, safeguards, cyber, and emergency response.

“The Oak Ridge Enhanced Technology Training Center creates yet another opportunity for Tennessee to be a global leader in nuclear energy,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. “We look forward to welcoming first responders and experts to this new space and pioneering best practices for nuclear safety.”

The ORETTC also will include Tennessee’s Emergency Response Training Facility, which is being funded by the state and developed by Roane county and will provide first-responder training for state and local personnel. It will have full-time teaching staff offices, augmented reality and virtual reality rooms, as well as traditional classrooms.