UCOR celebrated its first anniversary as the U.S. Department of Energy cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge this week, and the company announced that its most high-profile project, demolition of the K-25 Building, is ahead of schedule.
Demolition of most of the building’s east wing is almost complete, and more than 10,000 loads of debris have been shipped off for disposal, UCOR said in a press release.
Located in west Oak Ridge, the K-25 site was built to enrich uranium during World War II as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, but it’s been shut down since 1987.
Most of the waste from the K-25 Building is being shipped to the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility in East Bear Creek Valley. UCOR manages that facility for the U.S. Department of Energy.
“We have made great progress on the K-25 Building,” said Leo Sain, UCOR president and project manager. “We look forward to having the entire project completed in 2014.”
UCOR said it has also started preparing to demolish the K-27 Building, a K-25 “sister facility” that has severely deteriorated. The two buildings are located at what is now called the East Tennessee Technology Park, which is being converted into a massive industrial park.
UCOR said it has placed six facilities in ETTP’s Poplar Creek area into a “cold and dark” status, which involved removing all hazardous energy sources.
UCOR also completed cleanup of the K-1070-B Burial Ground, a 6.5-acre, 60-year-old landfill located near the K-25 Building. It was used from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s to dispose of items such as equipment, materials, parts, and drums. Most of this waste was disposed of at EMWMF, the release said.
While most of UCOR’s work focuses on ETTP, the company is performing cleanup work at other Oak Ridge Reservation sites.
At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UCOR removed the site’s largest source of groundwater contamination, Tank W-1A. The 4,000-gallon tank, commissioned in 1951, collected and stored liquid wastes from radiochemical separations and high-radiation analytical facilities at ORNL, the release said.
The tank was removed from service and emptied in 1986 when significant levels of soil and groundwater contamination were traced to the area surrounding it. In addition to removing the tank, UCOR also removed the contaminated soil surrounding it.
“DOE has been contending with Tank W-1A for several years,” Sain said. “UCOR is proud to have finally removed this major source of contamination, making the environment safer for those who work at the site.”