OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Last week, workers began pulling up the foundation slab of the former K-29 gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment building, opening a large area of land that the Oak Ridge Office of EM (OREM) is set to transfer to the community for industrial redevelopment.
After OREM completed the K-29 demolition in 2006, the slab was paved with asphalt, and trailers were placed there to house cleanup personnel and project teams.
As OREM and cleanup contractor UCOR near completion of cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), they are taking steps to transition the site to private ownership. That involves transitioning many employees originally stationed at ETTP to offices offsite, allowing UCOR to remove the trailers from the K-29 pad and pull up the slab.
Crews have already removed raised walkways, and now they are working to remove the retaining walls, asphalt, and concrete slab, which is expected to be complete in 2019.
“The former K-29 Building area was repurposed after the building was demolished, and now it is undergoing another transformation,” said Karen Deacon, acting ETTP portfolio federal project director. “The final product will be a grassy field available for future industrial use, which aligns with our ultimate vision for ETTP.”
The 291,000-square-foot K-29 Building was the first of the five massive gaseous diffusion buildings to be taken down at ETTP. These buildings were built in the 1940s and 1950s to enrich uranium for defense and commercial purposes until the plant shut down in the mid-1980s.
OREM continued demolition on these structures for the next decade, eliminating a 4.5-million-square-foot footprint. In 2016, the final wall of the fifth gaseous diffusion building fell — making Oak Ridge the first site in the world to remove all of its former uranium enrichment facilities.
OREM and UCOR are working to complete major cleanup at ETTP in 2020, and transfer the land back to the community for reuse as a private industrial park. That vision is already being realized, as EM has already demolished more than 400 buildings and transferred almost 1,300 acres from government ownership.