Crews are nearly finished deactivating the second of three collections of old, mercury-contaminated equipment around the Alpha-4 facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a press release said.
The project addresses potential environmental risks and moves the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management a step closer to preparing one of Y-12’s largest high-risk contaminated facilities for demolition, the press release said.
The column exchange, or COLEX, structures are connected to the four-story 500,000-square-foot Alpha-4 building, which was used for uranium separation from 1944 to 1945. Workers finished installing the COLEX equipment in 1955 for lithium separation, a process that required large amounts of mercury. A significant amount of the mercury was lost into the equipment, buildings, and surrounding soils, and its cleanup is one of EM’s top priorities.[Read more…]