Office of Environmental Management

Demolitions Continue to Transform Landscape in Oak Ridge

September 24, 2019

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Oak Ridge crews spent several months completing deactivation work to prepare the K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility for demolition.
Oak Ridge crews spent several months completing deactivation work to prepare the K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility for demolition.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.Oak Ridge crews recently tore down another facility at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), bringing EM closer to completing cleanup at the site. Each ETTP demolition brings more change to the landscape, drawing sharp contrast to the government enrichment complex of decades past.

Workers have finished demolition and debris removal of the 30,817-square-foot K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility. The building was originally used to transfer liquefied uranium hexafluoride to cylinders for the plant’s uranium enrichment process. Watch the project update video on the K-1423 demolition at ETTP here.

EM cleanup contractor UCOR performed the demolition as part of efforts to complete major cleanup at ETTP by the end of next year.

UCOR project manager Mickey Tunstall described the transformation as significant.

“I’ve worked at the site for 19 years, back when all the buildings were standing, so it still felt like a full operating community at that time,” Tunstall said. “The change at the site, especially during the last five to 10 years, has been dramatic, as numerous buildings started being demolished and replaced with grassy fields.”

A view of the 30,817-square-foot K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility at Oak Ridge before demolition began in August.
A view of the 30,817-square-foot K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility at Oak Ridge before demolition began in August.
A post-demolition view of the K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility. The teardown moves EM and UCOR closer to Vision 2020, the goal to complete major cleanup at ETTP by the end of next year.
A post-demolition view of the K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility. The teardown moves EM and UCOR closer to Vision 2020, the goal to complete major cleanup at ETTP by the end of next year.

Crews have demolished five massive uranium enrichment facilities at the site, as well as hundreds of ancillary facilities spanning 12 million square feet. Next year, Oak Ridge will become the first in the world to complete major cleanup at a former uranium enrichment complex.

Enrichment operations ceased in 1987. EM and UCOR are working to transform the site into a thriving, multi-use industrial park. More than 1,200 acres have already been transferred to the community, and removal of this facility opens additional land for future industrial development. Its removal also enhances safety and reduces risks associated with these old, unneeded facilities.

The K-1423 Toll Enrichment Facility operated from 1969 to 1986. The building was later used for a variety of purposes, including addressing radiologically contaminated drums, washing chemically contaminated drums, and storing waste.

Tunstall once worked in the building, supporting cleanup efforts.

“Having worked there, it’s bittersweet to see it come down,” he said. “However, it’s a necessary step in achieving site transformation.”

Tunstall noted that crews spent several months performing deactivation work to prepare the building for demolition.

“These demolition projects are definitely a collaborative effort that requires a broad cross section of skills to safely and successful prepare the building, tear it down, and dispose of the demolition debris,” Tunstall said.

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