OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - The lead environmental cleanup contractor for DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management recently celebrated a significant milestone, surpassing the $2 billion mark on its $2.9 billion cleanup contract.
URS | CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR) is primarily responsible for cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), former home of the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The EM contractor also performs cleanup projects at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and operates the onsite Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act disposal facility, known as the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility.
UCOR has been at work on the Oak Ridge Reservation since 2011, and its contract continues through 2020.
UCOR President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Rueter says much of this work was done ahead of schedule and under budget, representing a considerable cost savings to taxpayers. He credits the savings to the efforts of the company’s employees and close collaboration with EM and labor unions. UCOR performed about $1.07 worth of work for every $1 of funding, Rueter added.
Among the contractor’s biggest accomplishments to date is the successful completion of Vision 2016 — the first-ever demolition and cleanup of a complete gaseous diffusion complex. To reach this goal, crews finished tearing down the world’s former largest building and undertook the largest demolition project ever attempted in the DOE complex.
To achieve Vision 2016, UCOR helped tear down three of the five massive gaseous diffusion facilities — K-25, K-27, and K-31— that accounted for 2.7 million square feet.
UCOR crews have been instrumental in other demolition and remediation projects across Oak Ridge. They stabilized highly contaminated former reactor and isotope research facilities at ORNL and removed high-risk facilities at Y-12 while preventing thousands of pounds of mercury from entering the environment.
Now EM and UCOR are working together to achieve the next ambitious goal, Vision 2020. This endeavor will complete major cleanup at ETTP by the end of UCOR’s contract in order to finish converting the site into a private sector industrial park.
Still on the docket are dozens of facilities and continued soil remediation across the site. The major facilities remaining at ETTP include the Poplar Creek Facilities, Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator, K-1037, K-1200 Complex, and K-1600.
Return of the restored site to the community will attract new industries to the region, creating jobs and growing the economy.