Oak Ridge federal and contractor leadership show EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White how uranium-233 processing will occur in Oak Ridge’s newly upgraded Building 2026.

Oak Ridge federal and contractor leadership show EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White how uranium-233 processing will occur in Oak Ridge’s newly upgraded Building 2026. From left are Operations Manager Dale Caquelin, Oak Ridge Office of EM Acting Manager Laura Wilkerson, White and Isotek President Jim Bolon.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – EM Senior Advisor William "Ike” White traveled to Oak Ridge last week, where he had a full agenda speaking to government and industry leaders, observing cleanup progress and meeting with local officials and advisory board members.

His tour began at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where he saw deactivation and demolition projects in the central campus area, a focal point for many of EM’s near-term cleanup projects.

Local leadership with EM and Oak Ridge cleanup contractor UCOR took White to the Bulk Shielding Reactor. Demolition began on the building last month, marking the first teardown of a former reactor in the central campus area.

White also observed work happening at the adjacent Low Intensity Test Reactor and Oak Ridge Research Reactor. The test reactor is scheduled for demolition later this year, and deactivation is progressing at the research reactor. Removing those buildings eliminates risks, opens land for reuse and enhances accessibility to a central attraction of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park — the Graphite Reactor.

UCOR Cleanup Manager Dan Macias, left, and EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White discuss cleanup progress underway in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s central campus. The Low Intensity Test Reactor, pictured, is the next building slated for demolition in the central campus area.

UCOR Cleanup Manager Dan Macias, left, and EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White discuss cleanup progress underway in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s central campus. The Low Intensity Test Reactor, pictured, is the next building slated for demolition in the central campus area.

Next, the head of EM toured Building 2026, where employees just finished all facility upgrades, safety reviews and other steps needed to begin processing uranium-233 this week. EM’s highest priority at ORNL is processing uranium-233, which will eliminate an inventory of nuclear material stored in the world’s oldest operating nuclear facility.

White also traveled to the Y-12 National Security Complex, where he viewed two demolition projects recently completed. Demolition just wrapped up at the former Criticality Experiment Lab, and workers finished removing the slab of the former Biology Complex in past weeks, allowing that 18-acre site to be returned to the National Nuclear Security Administration in the coming month.

Local EM leaders and project managers also took White to the future site of the Environmental Management Disposal Facility (EMDF). That project crossed a major threshold at the end of September when officials from DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation signed a record of decision.

That document allows EM to move forward on a final design and begin site preparations for EMDF. The facility is needed to continue advancing cleanup at Y-12 and ORNL because Oak Ridge’s existing waste disposal facility has exceeded more than 80% of its capacity.

EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White met with Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) leadership during his visit to Oak Ridge

EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White met with Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) leadership during his visit to Oak Ridge. Pictured from left are Oak Ridge Office of EM Acting Manager Laura Wilkerson, ORSSAB Chair Leon Shields, White, and ORSSAB Vice Chair Amy Jones.

White served as the keynote speaker at this year’s Energy Technology and Environmental Business Association Business Opportunities Conference. He noted how EM’s level of progress would not be possible without the cleanup program’s industry partners, both large and small. The conference was held nearby in Knoxville, with participants from government agencies and numerous contractors of all sizes from across the region.

Before returning to Washington, D.C., White took time to meet with the chair and vice chair of the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board. He was able to hear their perspective and express his gratitude for their time and service with the board.