The largest and most visible buildings remaining at the East Tennessee Technology Park are being removed.
Demolition is under way on the Centrifuge Complex, according to the “EM Update” newsletter published last week by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management.
The demolition work is part of the project to finish cleanup at ETTP, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge, by the end of 2020. One of the three main sites in Oak Ridge, K-25 was built as part of the Manhattan Project, the top-secret federal program to build atomic weapons during World War II. The site continued to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and commercial nuclear power plants through the Cold War. Its operations ended in the mid-1980s, and the site is now being converted into a private industrial park.
The Centrifuge Complex has more than 235,000 square feet, and sections of it reach heights of 180 feet. It was built in stages to develop and test centrifuge uranium enrichment technology, the “EM Update” said. The last of these facilities ceased operation in the mid-1980s.
Workers are currently demolishing a part of the complex that includes the K-1004-J Lab, a Manhattan Project facility built for research and development in 1944. The rest of the complex was constructed around this original site building in the 1970s.
While demolition has started in one section of the sprawling complex, teams are in other buildings conducting deactivation activities to prepare them for removal in the coming months, the “EM Update” said.
“In the deactivation phase, crews remove hazards and ensure safe and efficient demolition of structures,” the newsletter said. “They disconnect all power and utilities, perform characterization and sampling, remove asbestos and other waste, and inspect, drain, and remove a significant amount of piping and equipment.”
“The Centrifuge Complex project will mark one of the most significant landscape changes we’ve achieved at ETTP,” said Jay Mullis, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or OREM. “It highlights our progress, and its removal will transform the appearance at the front of the site and pave the way for ETTP’s next chapter.”
Deactivation of the entire complex is scheduled to be complete early next year, and demolition and waste removal is slated for completion next summer, the “EM Update” said.
OREM and its cleanup contractor UCOR are cleaning ETTP while working to transfer cleaned areas and facilities to the private sector under the site’s reindustrialization program, the newsletter said. Together, they are working to convert the former government complex into a multi-use industrial park.
So far, Oak Ridge’s EM program has taken down facilities that had more than 12 million square feet, transferred more than 1,200 acres of land for economic development, and placed more than 3,000 acres in a conservation easement for recreational use by the community.
—“EM Update” contributor: Wayne McKinney
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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