DOE transfers former machine shop property to CROET

DOE Land Transfer at ETTP to CROET

From left during Wednesday’s land transfer ceremony are U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann; Mark Whitney, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management; Lawrence Young, CROET president and CEO; and David Klaus, DOE’s deputy undersecretary for management and performance.

 

Roughly 25 acres of land that once housed a machine shop and supporting buildings at Heritage Center has been transferred to an economic development organization that finds new uses for former federal property.

The property transfer from the U.S. Department of Energy to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee was celebrated in a Wednesday afternoon ceremony. It’s the 12th transfer from DOE to CROET, and the two dozen acres were signed over to CROET for private-sector use.

Among the speakers at Wednesday’s ceremony were U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge, and David Klaus, DOE’s deputy undersecretary for management and performance.

“The reindustrialization program in Oak Ridge has not only been an economic development catalyst for the region, it is saving tax payers millions of dollars as the federal government transfers underutilized assets to the private sector,” Fleischmann said.

The transfers of the parcels, officially known as ED-11 and ED-12, have been in the works for at least a few years. Lawrence Young, CROET president and chief executive officer, said there will some infrastructure improvements to make the property ready for development. Part of the property once housed Building 1401, an old machine shop that has now been demolished. [Read more...]

DOE to transfer 25 acres to CROET

Heritage Center

The main entrance to the Heritage Center, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge, is pictured above. (Photo courtesy CROET)

The U.S. Department of Energy will transfer 25 acres at East Tennessee Technology Park’s Heritage Center to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, and officials have planned a Wednesday afternoon ceremony.

The speakers will include Mark Whitney, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, and Lawrence Young, CROET president and chief executive officer.

Special guests will include U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and David Klaus, DOE deputy undersecretary for management and performance.

Whitney, cleanup manager in Oak Ridge, takes new job at DOE

Mark Whitney

Mark Whitney

Mark Whitney, manager of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management for the U.S. Department of Energy, has accepted a new job as a principal deputy assistant secretary in Washington, D.C.

The official start date for the new position is May 18. Whitney, who has led cleanup work at the three federal sites in Oak Ridge, will be principal deputy assistant secretary for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management. The change was announced Thursday by Acting Assistant Secretary Dave Huizenga.

Whitney’s appointment as assistant manager for environmental management in Oak Ridge was announced about two years ago. [Read more...]

Field work complete, cleanup projects used $751 million in Recovery Act funding

Building K-33

Building K-33 at the East Tennessee Technology Park, also known as the former K-25 site, before demolition. (DOE photo)

 

Note: This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.

The field work is complete on 27 cleanup projects at three federal sites in Oak Ridge that used $751 million in Recovery Act funds.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or EM, announced the end of the field work on Thursday.

“We’re done knocking down buildings and with all the work in the field,” said Mike Koentop, executive officer in Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. “We have paperwork left to do to close out projects.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the Recovery Act or stimulus bill, was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in February 2009. It was meant to help stimulate an economic recovery during the depths of the Great Recession, and it was intended to address long-neglected infrastructure projects and programs.

In Oak Ridge, the Recovery Act funding paid for several demolition projects such as the demolition of the 1.4-million-square-foot K-33 Building at the East Tennessee Technology Park and other projects ranging from mercury reduction at the Y-12 National Security Complex to transuranic waste processing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. [Read more...]

DOE awards contract to small business for mercury project at Y-12

Y-12 Water Treatment Plant Announcement

In May 2013, state and federal officials announce a plant to treat mercury-contaminated water at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Pictured from left are Mark Whitney, Robert Martineau, Lamar Alexander, Dave Huizenga, and Stan Meiburg.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or EM, awarded the task order to Strata-G in Knoxville on Wednesday. The company will collect data and perform characterization at Outfall 200 at Y-12.

The task order is the first project in a five-year, multi-phase contract estimated at $15 million, DOE said in a press release Friday. The contract uses a bidding process among three small businesses for various characterization projects at EM’s cleanup sites in Oak Ridge. [Read more...]

Federal spending bill includes money for Y-12 water plant, reduces UPF spending

Y-12 Water Treatment Plant Announcement

In May 2013, state and federal officials announce a plant to treat mercury-contaminated water at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Pictured from left are Mark Whitney, Robert Martineau, Lamar Alexander, Dave Huizenga, and Stan Meiburg.

The $1 trillion federal spending bill passed by Congress last week provides money for a water treatment plant that would help reduce mercury contamination in Oak Ridge, and it includes less money for the Uranium Processing Facility than President Obama had requested, Sen. Lamar Alexander said Thursday.

The U.S. Senate approved the spending bill in a 72-26 vote after the House passed it 359-67. Alexander and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann voted for it, while Sen. Bob Corker voted against it. All are Tennessee Republicans, and Fleischmann’s district includes Oak Ridge.

Alexander said the spending bill provides $16 million less than Obama had requested in his budget for the UPF, a multi-billion-dollar building that would replace old buildings at the Y-12 National Security Complex as part of a years-long effort to update the 811-acre site, consolidate operations, and cut the plant’s high-security “footprint” from 150 acres to 15. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation names new director

Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation Jenna Whitney and Lila Metcalf

Lila Metcalf, left, former director of the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, welcomes the new foundation director, Jenna Whitney. (Submitted photo)

The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation has named a new director.

Jenna Whitney started Jan. 1, the foundation’s board of directors announced this week. Whitney has more than 15 years of general management experience in the professional services industry and the U.S. government.

Whitney replaces the foundation’s first director, Lila Metcalf, who has announced that she is leaving the position after almost 10 years with the foundation. She will return full-time to her nursing career.

Whitney recently served as a program manager at a defense contracting firm with oversight of more than $59 million in U.S. government contracts, and she has directed a portfolio of engineering and technical support contracts, a press release said. She has worked overseas for the U.S. State Department, managing financial operations and leading strategic and technical initiatives. [Read more...]

TVC Summit next week includes House majority leader

Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor

Submitted

Business, community, and political leaders and senior decision-makers will convene at the 2013 Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit next week to discuss issues that are critical to the economic engine of the Tennessee Valley, a press release said.

Hosted by Third District Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, the two-day meeting themed “Securing America’s Future” will focus on energy and environment, innovation and entrepreneurism, public and private partnerships, and advanced manufacturing, the release said.

The Summit will be held at the Y-12 National Security Complex’s New Hope Center in Oak Ridge on May 29-30. [Read more...]

Cleanup work shifts to mercury as new Y-12 water treatment plant announced

Y-12 Water Treatment Plant Announcement

State and federal officials announce a plant to treat mercury-contaminated water at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Pictured from left are Mark Whitney, Robert Martineau, Lamar Alexander, Dave Huizenga, and Stan Meiburg.

Cleanup work in Oak Ridge could shift from radiological contamination to mercury contamination, and a new $120 million water treatment plant at the Y-12 National Security Complex will help reduce mercury as workers tear down four contaminated buildings that were used to make nuclear weapons in the 1950s and 1960s, officials announced Friday.

“This water treatment plant is a major step in addressing one of the biggest problems we have from the Cold War era—mercury once used to make nuclear weapons getting into our waterways,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican. He said mercury contamination can cause brain and nervous system damage in people who eat contaminated fish.

Alexander was at Y-12 on Friday along with other federal and state officials to help announce the new water treatment plant, which will be at the head of East Fork Poplar Creek on the south side of Y-12′s main production area. The plant would be connected to a Y-12 storm water system, and it could begin operating in 2019. It would be able to treat 1,500 gallons of mercury-contaminated water per minute. [Read more...]

DOE Environmental Management has public meeting to discuss cleanup funding, strategy

Mark Whitney

Mark Whitney

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or EM, is holding a public meeting to discuss the program’s fiscal year 2015 budget and cleanup priorities. The workshop, featuring Oak Ridge’s senior EM leadership, is scheduled from 4-6 p.m. April 23 at Pollard Auditorium.

“As taxpayer stewards, I think these public meetings are a responsible practice that increase transparency and explain our decision process,” said Mark Whitney, Oak Ridge’s Environmental Management manager. “These meetings also provide a forum for residents and stakeholders to voice their opinions, suggestions, and concerns about our vision.” [Read more...]

Demolition starts on K-25’s north end

K-25 North End Demolition

Demolition started Wednesday on the north end of the mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building in west Oak Ridge. (Photo submitted by UCOR)

Demolition work started Wednesday on the north end of the K-25 Building at the East Tennessee Technology Park in west Oak Ridge.

The building was constructed to enrich uranium during World War II as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, and it was once the world’s largest building under one roof.

Previous plans had called for the north end of the mile-long, U-shaped building to be preserved for historic purposes. But an agreement signed this summer by federal, state, and local historic preservation groups allowed for the entire building to be demolished, including the north end, while still recognizing the historic significance of the site.

Demolition of the building’s east and west wings is complete, except for a small section of the east wing that has technetium-99, or Tc-99, a slow-decaying radioactive metal, according to a Wednesday press release from UCOR, the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge. The north end forms the base of the “U” and is the smallest of the three sections.

“This is a tremendous day for employees,” said Leo Sain, UCOR president and project manager. “We have been working toward this since we arrived at ETTP, and it’s a testament to people here, at the Department of Energy, and at all the agencies who worked together to make this happen.”

DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or EM, expects the north end demolition to be complete in January. After that, workers will continue pre-demolition activities in the remaining Tc-99 area of K-25’s east wing, the release said.

“Completing demolition of the K-25 Building is our highest priority, and this is another significant step toward that goal,” said Mark Whitney, Oak Ridge’s EM manager.

The preservation agreement approved this summer calls for a replica equipment building and viewing tower, proposes a history center at a city-owned fire station at ETTP, and provides a $500,000 grant for the run-down Alexander Inn in central Oak Ridge.

During the decade-long discussion over preserving the north end, federal officials had expressed concerns about safety, the deteriorated condition of the building, and the cost of trying to keep that section.

McMillan named federal project director for ORNL cleanup

Bill McMillan

Bill McMillan

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management has named Bill McMillan as its new federal project director for cleanup at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

As federal project director, McMillan oversees cleanup, decontamination, decommissioning, waste storage, and disposal operations at the site, a press release said.

[Read more...]