Office of Environmental Management

Demolition Begins on Oak Ridge’s Sprawling Centrifuge Complex

October 29, 2019

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Oak Ridge crews remove debris from the K-1004-J Lab demolition, which began earlier this month.
Oak Ridge crews remove debris from the K-1004-J Lab demolition, which began earlier this month.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The largest and most visible remaining structures at Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) are coming down. Demolition is now underway on the Centrifuge Complex as employees work to achieve EM’s goal to finish major cleanup at the site by the end of 2020.

The complex spans more than 235,000 square feet and sections of it reach heights of 180 feet. It was built in stages to develop and test centrifuge uranium enrichment technology. The last of these facilities ceased operation in the mid-1980s.

Workers are currently demolishing a portion of the complex that includes the K-1004-J Lab, a Manhattan Project facility built for research and development in 1944. The rest of the complex was constructed around this original site building in the 1970s.

The massive Centrifuge Complex's removal from the front of Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park will transform the look of the site and pave the way for its next chapter, outlined under Vision 2020.
The massive Centrifuge Complex's removal from the front of Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park will transform the look of the site and pave the way for its next chapter, outlined under Vision 2020.

While demolition has started in one section of the sprawling complex, teams are in other buildings conducting deactivation activities to prepare them for removal in the coming months.

In the deactivation phase, crews remove hazards and ensure safe and efficient demolition of structures. They disconnect all power and utilities, perform characterization and sampling, remove asbestos and other waste, and inspect, drain, and remove a significant amount of piping and equipment.

“The Centrifuge Complex project will mark one of the most significant landscape changes we’ve achieved at ETTP,” said Jay Mullis, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of EM (OREM). “It highlights our progress, and its removal will transform the appearance at the front of the site and pave the way for ETTP’s next chapter.”

Demolition is now underway on the Centrifuge Complex, which contains the largest and most visible remaining structures at Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park.
Demolition is now underway on the Centrifuge Complex, which contains the largest and most visible remaining structures at Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park.

Deactivation of the entire complex is scheduled to be complete early next year, and demolition and waste removal is slated for completion next summer.

OREM and cleanup contractor UCOR are cleaning ETTP while working to transfer cleaned areas and facilities to the private sector under the site's reindustrialization program. Together, they are working to convert the former government complex into a multi-use industrial park.

To date, Oak Ridge’s EM program has taken down facilities spanning 12 million square feet, transferred more than 1,200 acres of land for economic development, and placed more than 3,000 acres in a conservation easement for recreational use by the community.

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