The last wall of the last of the big five buildings once used to enrich uranium at the former K-25 site will be demolished Tuesday.
Demolition on the last building, the K-27 Building, started in February.
The other four buildings—K-25, K-29, K-31, and K-33—were demolished between 2006 and 2015. All five of the huge buildings once used a process called gaseous diffusion to produce highly enriched uranium for atomic weapons and commercial nuclear power plants, starting during World War II and continuing through the Cold War. The largest was K-25, a mile-long U-shaped building.
When K-27 demolition is complete, it will be the first time that all of a site’s uranium-enriching gaseous diffusion buildings will have been cleaned up anywhere in the world, officials said.
“Demolition eliminates environmental hazards and prepares the land for productive reuse through deindustrialization,” a media advisory said.
The former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge is now known as East Tennessee Technology Park, ETTP, or Heritage Center. It was built as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal project to build the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II, before Germany could.
K-25 operations ended in 1985, and the site was permanently shut down in 1987. Now, it is being slowly converted into a large industrial park.
The other federal sites built in Oak Ridge during World War II included Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was then known as X-10, and Y-12, which is now the Y-12 National Security Complex. There is also cleanup work under way at those sites, as well as new construction.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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