DOE disposing of uranium-233 waste stored at ORNL

ORNL CEUSP Waste Shipping

During training, workers removed a type of shipping cask that was expected to be used to transport 403 canisters of uranium-tainted waste from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Nevada National Security Site northwest of Las Vegas. (File photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy/Office of Environmental Management)

  This story was updated at 5 p.m. Aug. 30. They haven’t agreed on a final budget number, but the Trump administration and the U.S. House and Senate have proposed spending between about $33 million and $52 million in the next fiscal year to continue disposing of uranium-233 waste materials that are stored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in a building that is the oldest continuously operating nuclear facility in the U.S. Department of Energy complex. The uranium-233, or U-233, waste is now stored in secure vaults in Building 3019, which was built in the 1940s at ORNL. Removing the waste could allow ORNL to relax its overall security posture, which will reduce costs, eliminate nuclear safety issues, and make the campus more conducive to collaborative science, according to a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee report published in July. Some of the waste is from a 1960s research and development test in New York, and it is being shipped to the Nevada National Security Site, a former nuclear weapons proving ground about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. In interviews this summer, DOE officials in Oak Ridge declined to discuss the amount of that waste that has been shipped to Nevada or to say how long the shipments might continue. But they are making progress, said Jay Mullis, acting manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. Once all of those materials are shipped, the remaining U-233 at ORNL will be treated in “hot cell” facilities across the street from Building 3019, at Building 2026. The DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management owns both buildings. Mullis said there is other U-233 waste stored in Building 3019, including from glovebox research at ORNL, from reactor plates, and from conglomerate materials. [Read more…]

Responding to disturbance near DOE landfill, police allegedly find drugs, stolen gun in vehicle

Daniel Ray Price

Daniel Ray Price


Note This story was updated at 11:50 a.m. Nov. 1.

Oak Ridge police allegedly found marijuana, Xanax, drug paraphernalia, and a stolen pistol in a vehicle after responding to a report of a disturbance near the U.S. Department of Energy landfill on Bear Creek Road near the Y-12 National Security Complex on Sunday, May 14, court records said.

Oak Ridge Police Department K-9 Officer Christopher Wallace said a search of the vehicle with the help of a drug-detecting canine officer found 18.4 ounces of marijuana, along with 97 Xanax (alprazolam) tablets; drug paraphernalia that included rolling papers, a grinder, digital scales, glass marijuana pipe, glass meth/crack cocaine pipe, and a snort straw; an SCCY Industries 9mm CPX2 semi automatic pistol; and a North American Arms (N.A.A.) .22LR mini revolver pistol that the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office had reported as stolen.

Charged after the search was Daniel Ray Price, 35, of Coster Lane in Knoxville. Price said all the items belonged to him, Wallace said in affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge. [Read more…]

Preparing for demolition, DOE identifies contaminants at Y-12’s Biology Complex

Y-12 Biology Complex aerial

An aerial view of the Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Plans call for eventually demolishing the complex. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)


Biology Complex at Y-12 once housed more individuals with doctorates than anywhere else in the world

The U.S. Department of Energy and its cleanup contractor finished characterizing the Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex this month, identifying contaminants before demolishing and disposing of the buildings.

The characterization work was done by DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management and its contractor, URS | CH2M, or UCOR.

DOE said it was crucial to get crews into the complex before the working environment became too hazardous.

“Already, team members could not enter a building due to a failed roof,” the Department of Energy said in a story published online on Thursday. “Elsewhere, exterior tiles have fallen from the façade, and asbestos and other material present risks to workers due to roof leaks.”

Jay Mullis, acting manager for the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, said the completion of the characterization work sets up the cleanup program to demolish Y-12’s Biology Complex when funds become available. [Read more…]