The K-25 History Center in west Oak Ridge will feature exhibits with more than 250 original artifacts and interactive galleries developed with help from almost 1,000 oral histories.
There will be a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the K-25 History Center at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, February 27.
“The K-25 History Center was created to honor the amazing stories of the men and women who helped construct and operate the uranium enrichment complex that altered the global landscape during the Manhattan Project and Cold War,” the U.S. Department of Energy said.
The History Center is housed in 7,500 square feet of space on the second floor of the city-owned fire station at the former K-25 site, now known as Heritage Center. It was developed as part of a 2012 agreement that allowed DOE to demolish the North Tower of the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building.
Besides the History Center, a Viewing Tower and Equipment Building are also planned at the south end of the former K-25 Building.
“Originally constructed in 1944, Building K-25 was the largest structure in the world with a 44-acre footprint, and (it) carried an equally immense and important mission to help end a global war by producing uranium for the world’s first nuclear weapon,” DOE said. “Yet despite its size and urgent work, the public would not learn of its existence in Oak Ridge until the end of World War II.”
Uranium enrichment operations at the K-25 site ceased in 1985, and the site was permanently shut down in 1987.
Afterward, DOE committed to and began an expensive, years-long environmental cleanup effort to transform the site into a multi-use private sector industrial park. That work is scheduled to be completed this year.
Representatives from several historical organizations will be present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 27, as well as former K-25 employees who worked at the site during the Cold War.
Those scheduled to attend include U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar, U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management Manager Jay Mullis, and UCOR President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Rueter.
The K-25 History Center is at 652 Enrichment Street in west Oak Ridge.