The U.S. Department of Energy and cleanup contractor UCOR are preparing to demolish research reactor facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Crews are nearing the final stages of deactivation inside two former research reactor facilities: the Bulk Shielding Reactor, known as Building 3010, and the Low Intensity Test Reactor, known as Building 3005, according to a newsletter published by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management. They are also beginning efforts at the Oak Ridge Research Reactor, known as Building 3042.
The work is overseen by DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or OREM.
These structures are located in the heart of ORNL, and their demolition will eliminate risks, clear land for research missions, and enhance access to a component of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, the department said.
“We have been working toward the demolition plan of 3010 and 3005 since 2018,” said Kent Ridenour, UCOR’s ORNL reactors project manager. “To finally see the end in sight is impressive knowing the accomplishments and the challenges we faced over the last four years, but the craft crews and support groups worked together to make it possible.”
The Bulk Shielding Reactor was built in the 1950s for radiation shielding studies. Crews removed asbestos from the facility and recently filled the 27-foot-deep reactor pool with a concrete mixture to prepare the building for demolition this fall.
Next door, other teams are preparing the Low Intensity Test Reactor for its teardown. The facility started operations as a training reactor in 1951 and ended operations in 1968. Crews have completed characterization, and other pre-demolition activities are now under way to prepare it for demolition later this year.
“There has been a lot of work involved with getting these facilities ready for demolition,” said Nathan Felosi, OREM’s ORNL portfolio federal project director. “It’s rewarding to see how that work is paving the way for ORNL’s central campus area to look much differently by the end of this year.”
Projects have also started in the nearby Oak Ridge Research Reactor. Constructed in 1955, this isotope production and irradiation facility operated until 1987, and it was defueled in 1989. In recent years, OREM discovered a slow seep from the reactor pool. Workers drained the pool and removed the highly irradiated components.
Contributor to the DOE EM Update newsletter: Carol Hendrycks
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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