The U.S. Department of Energy plans to demolish the oldest operating nuclear facility in the world.
The cleanup and demolition of Building 3019 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory could start sometime around 2030.
But the work won’t start until more than 500 canisters of uranium-233 stored in the building have been processed and removed, possibly by 2025.
More than 70 years old, Building 3019 was built during World War II as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. That was a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs.
From 1943-1976, the building was used as a pilot plant to test radiochemical processes before they were used on a large scale at other nuclear facilities.
Now Building 3019 stores the nation’s inventory of uranium-233. Processing and removing that uranium is the top cleanup priority at ORNL because, among other things, storing the highly enriched fissile nuclear material increases security costs and creates nuclear safety issues. The cleanup work is being done by DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management and its contractor Isotek.[Read more…]