An aerial photo of K-25's footprint after the project was completed.

Oak Ridge, Tenn. – Demolition of the K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park ended late last year, but that was not the end of the project. Many other tasks had to be accomplished before the project could be officially declared complete. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) cleanup contractor, URS | CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR), has now completed those tasks safely and ahead of schedule. 

The K-25 Building was built in the 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project and continued enriching uranium for defense and commercial purposes until shut down in 1964. Because it was contaminated with radioactive materials and was in a deteriorated state, its demolition was a high priority for DOE.

“The project doesn’t end when the final wall comes down,” said Sue Cange, acting manager for the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. “A lot of work had to take place before we could truly consider the project complete. For example, we had to remove and dispose of all demolition debris. That’s a crucial part of completing this project, but much more had to be done to ensure that the site was left stabilized and safe.”

Some of the other necessary tasks included terminating subterranean utilities, removing all ancillary support facilities, removing the remaining retaining walls, and dispositioning the inventory in the segmentation shop (where uranium deposits were mined from removed components to meet Department of Transportation shipping limits and waste repository acceptance criteria). In addition, DOE and UCOR had to address several difficult-to-dispose-of waste streams stored around the K-25 facility. UCOR began processing these wastes last fall and completed the work this month.

“Completing this project early and safely is truly a tremendous achievement,” said Steve Dahlgren, UCOR Deactivation and Demolition Area Project Manager. “We had a lot of challenges on this project, but we overcame them all thanks to the collective efforts of DOE, our project personnel, the labor unions, and our support staff.”

Per UCOR’s contract with DOE, the on-time project completion date was set as Jan. 5, 2015, with an early milestone date of July 1, 2014. UCOR completed the work $225 million under the federal baseline budget.

UCOR is a joint venture of URS Corporation and CH2M HILL and is responsible for cleaning up East Tennessee Technology Park and various other DOE Oak Ridge Reservation sites.