OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – While cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) is coming to an end this year, the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) is continuing progress in another chapter of its mission at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12).
OREM recently received authority to conduct work inside five buildings at ORNL and Y-12, enabling trained, experienced crews from ETTP to transition to ORNL and Y-12 to begin characterization and deactivation projects to prepare those facilities for demolition.
Challenging tasks await OREM in the years ahead at ORNL and Y-12. Together, those sites have more than 200 excess, contaminated facilities that no longer serve national security or science missions. This inventory also includes the highest number of high-risk facilities in the DOE complex. Their removal will eliminate significant risks and open land for future DOE missions.
Two of the five buildings where OREM recently received authority to conduct cleanup work —Buildings 3034 and 3036 at ORNL — will join a number of facilities already undergoing deactivation by OREM and cleanup contractor UCOR.
Buildings 3034 and 3036 previously supported isotope research and production and are situated in ORNL’s central campus area. Both were constructed in the 1950s. Building 3034 housed the central electrical distribution station. Building 3036 was used as a decontamination facility for trucks and equipment, and served as a general storage site.
The remaining three buildings are Alpha-2, Beta-1, and Building 9401-1 at Y-12. Alpha-2 and Beta-1 are large, former Manhattan Project buildings that supported uranium enrichment efforts, using an electromagnetic separation process, for the first nuclear weapons created during the Manhattan Project.
The 325,000-square-foot Alpha-2 housed operations that ended in the 1950s. The more than 210,000-square-foot Beta-1 was decommissioned in 1947 and was later used to support ORNL missions. Research and development and operational activities ended there in 1995.
Building 9401-1, a former steam plant for the site, was built in 1943. It served Y-12 missions in the 1960s and 1970s, and ORNL later used the facility to test non-radiological fuels such as ethanol and car and jet fuels.