UCOR has removed the highest-risk components remaining in the K-27 building at East Tennessee Technology Park, a press release said.
Six components known as NaF, or sodium fluoride, traps have been removed by crane, the press release said.
The K-27 building is a “sister” to the mile-long K-25 gaseous diffusion process building, which is now nearly demolished, the release said. Both are Manhattan Project buildings built to produce materials for nuclear weapons. As work is completed at K-25, crews are shifting to K-27.
The release said the NaF traps were part of the final uranium removal process in what was known as the “purge cascade” when K-25 and K-27 were operational. Sodium fluoride pellets were used to trap the uranium, and the removed traps still contain uranium materials from when the facility was shut down decades ago. The NaF traps are each about the size of a household water heater and range in weight from 1,500 pounds to 2,000 pounds each, the release said.
The two NaF traps deemed highest risk were removed first.
Dell Simpson, project integration manager for the K-27 project, said the traps were high risk because of the amount of uranium still remaining in them. They are being stored in the K-25 area until the materials can be removed. The other four NaF traps were removed on Monday, Feb. 25. These can be disposed of as waste, Simpson said.
“It’s a big accomplishment to remove these vessels,” said Steve Dahlgren, UCOR D&D Manager. “They represented the highest risk remaining in the K-27 building. Safely removing them is a big step toward getting this project completed.”