Note: This story was updated at 12:45 p.m. April 21.
The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is recycling sensitive documents by disintegrating them and compressing them into paper briquettes, which are used to make a cellulose binder for construction products, such as asphalt sealants.
In Fiscal Year 2019, 270,000 pounds of paper briquettes were recycled, according to Consolidated Nuclear Security, which manages and operates Y-12 as well as the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.
Sensitive documents generally contain content that is deemed sensitive for business or classification reasons. Y-12 said all of the documents generated at its site, a nuclear weapons production plant, are processed through its Destruction and Recycle, or DAR, facility.
The paper is processed through a disintegrator before it is put into a briquettor. The disintegrated paper meets security specifications for size reduction, CNS said.
The briquettor pneumatically compresses the disintegrated paper into paper briquettes. The briquettor is specifically designed for disintegrated paper, CNS said. The briquettor is located in the DAR facility.
Each briquette contains about 50 sheets of paper.
The briquettes are not sold. In exchange for the briquettes, the vendor provides containers, a trailer, and transportation to the end user. The briquettes are currently reused by a commercial company to make a cellulose binder for construction products, such as asphalt sealants, CNS said.