Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant


Location  Special Exposure Cohort Employees (SEC):
Oak Ridge, Tennessee  March 1, 1943 – December 31, 1957
Eligible classes of employees from the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant in Tennessee, and their loved ones, have an increased chance of successfully pursuing their Part B or Part E claim with the Department of Labor because generally they will be eligible for potential compensation from the EEOICPA fund if the worker was employed at the Y-12 Plant, or other designated SEC facilities, for at least 250 days during the SEC period listed above and later developed one of 22 specified cancers.  Workers whose employment occurred outside of the SEC class period can of course still file a claim for benefits under Part B or Part E of the EEOICPA, though they may have to wait for NIOSH to complete a dose reconstruction for their case.

Built in a rural section of East Tennessee, the Oak Ridge Y-12 National Security Complex, previously known as the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant, was part of the Manhattan Project. Its job was to process uranium for the first atomic bomb. Construction of Y-12 started in February 1943; enriched uranium production started in November of the same year. Construction, however, was not entirely finished until 1945.The first site mission was the separation of uranium-235 from natural uranium by the electromagnetic separation process. The magnetic separators were taken out of commission at the end of 1946 when gaseous diffusion became the accepted process for enriching uranium.

Since World War II, the number of buildings at Y-12 has doubled. Its missions have included uranium enrichment, lithium enrichment, isotope separation and component fabrication. For more than 50 years, Y-12 has been one of the DOE weapons complex’s premier manufacturing facilities. Every weapon in the stockpile has some components manufactured at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Throughout the course of its operations, the potential for beryllium exposure existed at this site, due to beryllium use, residual contamination, and decontamination activities.

Below find a Department of Labor graph for the total EEOICPA benefits paid for claims at Y-12.

Y-12 data