Centrus Energy Corporation on Wednesday said it has successfully completed a $15 million project to decontaminate and decommission a building at the East Tennessee Technology Park that has been used to test and demonstrate centrifuges that could be used to enrich uranium.
The building is K-1600, which is in the middle of the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park in west Oak Ridge.
Centrus said it finished the work budget and on time, within a year. The work was to occur between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019.
“I’m pleased our team was able to deliver the results the department expected on a very short timetable,” said Centrus President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel B. Poneman.
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Centrus a $15 million work authorization on September 27, 2018, to prepare K-1600 for demolition.
The decontamination and decommissioning work included removing and disposing of all equipment and materials to ensure the building was not radiologically contaminated and to make sure it did not include classified materials. With the work complete, DOE will be able to turn over the facility to a contractor for demolition, the press release said.
Centrus had leased K-1600 from DOE since 2002 to test and demonstrate the world’s most advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges, while conducting centrifuge manufacturing, engineering, and design at its Technology and Manufacturing Center, or TMC, off Centrifuge Way near South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge. In 2018, however, Centrus obtained a license from the state of Tennessee to allow for future testing activities at TMC, a press release said.
“This obviates the need to continue using K-1600 and allows the company to consolidate future centrifuge development efforts into a single, Centrus-owned facility,” the press release said.
K-1600 is one of the last remaining legacy structures at ETTP, a 2,200-acre site built to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. The site enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and nuclear power reactors during the Cold War, and it was shut down in the mid-1980s.
“Decontaminating and decommissioning K-1600 is part of a larger effort by DOE to clean up the site so that it can be reused for commercial and industrial purposes by the local community,” the press release said.
Many other buildings have been demolished there, including the five large gaseous diffusion buildings once used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and commercial nuclear power plants. ETTP is now being converted into a large industrial park in west Oak Ridge.
K-1600 had several test stands, which are large steel structures that can accommodate American Centrifuge machines that are more than 40 feet tall. Last year, Centrus said it intended to re-install the K-1600 equipment at the Technology and Manufacturing Center.
The testing in Oak Ridge has involved improvements to the AC100, a U.S. gas centrifuge uranium enrichment technology that Centrus operated in a demonstration cascade in Piketon, Ohio.
Centrus supplies nuclear fuel and services to the nuclear power industry.
See previous story here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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