Oak Ridge, Tenn. – Oak Ridge's EM contractor URS | CH2M Oak Ridge, LLC (UCOR) has removed the highest risk components remaining in the East Tennessee Technology Park’s (ETTP) K-27 building, with the successful crane removal of six components known as NaF traps.
The K-27 building is sister to the mile-long K-25 gaseous diffusion process building, which is now nearly demolished. Both are Manhattan Project buildings constructed to produce materials for nuclear weapons. As work is completed at K-25, crews shift to K-27, where their experience and lessons learned are crucial.
When K-25 and K-27 were operational, the NaF traps were part of the final uranium removal process from the “purge cascade.” Sodium fluoride pellets were used to trap the uranium, and these particular traps still contain uranium materials from when the facility was shut down decades ago. The NaF traps are each about the size of a household hot water heater and range in weight from 1,500 pounds to 2,000 pounds each.
The two NaF traps deemed highest risk were removed first, over the weekend. According to Dell Simpson, Project Integration Manager for the K-27 project, these were high risk because of the amount of uranium still remaining in them. They are being stored in the K-25 area until the materials can be removed. The other four NaF traps were removed on Monday, Feb. 25. These can be disposed of as waste, Simpson said.
“It’s a big accomplishment to remove these vessels,” said Steve Dahlgren, UCOR D&D Manager. “They represented the highest risk remaining in the K-27 building. Safely removing them is a big step toward getting this project completed.”