OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and its contractor UCOR recently removed the Building K-29 slab, a significant step in the cleanup and transformation of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).
The 291,000-square-foot K-29 was one of five massive gaseous diffusion buildings located at ETTP — comparable in size to more than five football fields. These facilities were used to enrich uranium for defense and commercial purposes until the plant was shut down in the mid-1980s. K-29 was the first to be demolished, and the other four buildings have since come down in a historic, first-ever cleanup of a gaseous diffusion complex.
After K-29 was demolished in 2006, the slab was paved over with asphalt. Trailers were placed there to house the large number of cleanup personnel working at the site.
Completion of the slab removal project, which began in October 2018, included removing the trailers, asphalt, and slab to prepare the area for eventual economic development for the community.
When cleanup is completed in the adjacent Poplar Creek area, OREM will begin the regulatory approval process to prepare the 80-acre area for eventual transfer from government ownership to the community for private sector development.
“Our cleanup of the Poplar Creek and Building K-29 area is opening a large area of land that can provide new opportunities for future development,” said James Daffron, OREM’s acting ETTP portfolio federal project director. “Through our ongoing efforts and progress at ETTP, an area that was once filled with aging and deteriorating facilities has gone through a complete transformation.”
OREM and UCOR are working to complete all demolitions at ETTP in 2020 and to convert the site into a multi-use industrial park.
Since cleanup began there in 1998, OREM has torn down nearly 500 facilities, transferred nearly 1,300 acres for economic redevelopment, and created a 3,000-acre conservation area for public use.