Office of Environmental Management

Energy Department Completes K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Building Demolition

December 19, 2013

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K-25 Demolition - Oak Ridge 2013

K-25 Demolition - Oak Ridge 2013

Oak Ridge, Tenn. – Today, the Department of Energy announced that its contractor URS|CH2M Oak Ridge, LLC, or UCOR, has completed demolition of the K-25 gaseous diffusion building, the largest facility in the DOE complex. UCOR took over the project in 2011 and has maintained a strong safety record while completing the demolition over one year ahead of its current schedule and approximately $300 million under the current budget. All debris removal is expected to be completed in spring 2014.

The K-25 building, located at the East Tennessee Technology Park formerly known as the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. At the time of the Manhattan Project, K-25 was the world’s largest building under one roof. Today the Department of Energy has successfully completed its largest-ever demolition project.

“Today marks a tremendous accomplishment for the American people – advancing our commitment to the safe and complete cleanup of former Manhattan Project sites.” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “While there is still important clean-up work to do, completing the demolition of the K-25 gaseous diffusion building and doing so ahead of schedule and under budget is a testament to the outstanding Oak Ridge workforce.”

The K-25 building operated until 1964, producing enriched uranium for defense and commercial purposes. During the past decades, as the facility deteriorated, its demolition was considered among the highest priorities for the environmental cleanup program in Oak Ridge. With the demolition of the K-25 building, only two of the five original gaseous diffusion buildings remain. The East Tennessee Technology Park will now be converted into a private sector industrial park.

The K-25 building demolition project began in December 2008, when Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC, completed demolition of the west wing. URS|CH2M Oak Ridge, LLC, or UCOR, took over the project in August 2011 and successfully completed demolition of the building’s east wing and north end.

“I’m proud to have been part of this historic achievement,” said Leo Sain, UCOR President and Project Manager. “This project was a massive undertaking involving many people. We are pleased that UCOR, working hand-in-hand with DOE, was able to safely complete the demolition and bring this project full circle.”

Although the K-25 building demolition is complete, the historical significance of the facility will live on. In 2012, the DOE, Tennessee State Historic Preservation, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, City of Oak Ridge, East Tennessee Preservation Alliance and other consulting parties finalized a plan that lays out a multi-year plan to commemorate the K-25 complex, which contained more than 500 facilities including the K-25 building.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Energy Department will construct a three-story equipment building that recreates a scale representation of the gaseous diffusion technology and contains authentic equipment used in the original facility. The Department’s Office of Environmental Management also agreed to display equipment, artifacts, oral histories, photographs and videos a K-25 History Center on site. Also, the Department provided a $500,000 grant to preserve the Alexander Inn, a historic structure in Oak Ridge where visiting scientists and dignitaries stayed during their visits to the area.

Editor's Note: This release was updated as of 5:30 PM on December 20, 2013.