Oak Ridge has three primary cleanup sites within the Oak Ridge Reservation—the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12), and East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). While all are cleanup areas, Oak Ridge is unique because each of the areas also has other ongoing missions and thousands of onsite staff.
Since 1989, when the Office of Environmental Management was formed, the Department of Energy has made great progress remediating contaminated soil and water and demolishing radioactively contaminated facilities. Our employees have contained or removed contaminated areas that posed potential threats to residents, and we have worked to disposition radioactive and hazardous wastes and portions of nuclear material inventories.
Our program addresses three primary risks throughout the 33,500-acre Oak Ridge Reservation. We balance these risks by considering all regulator, stakeholder, and mission priorities. First, we have “lifecycle cost risks.” This is often associated with our cleanup work at ETTP. It refers to the increasing demolition and maintenance costs as buildings deteriorate from extended schedules, due to limited funding. Secondly, we address and prioritize “environmental risks.” This is directly tied to our cleanup goals at Y-12, where there are high levels of mercury in the environment. Finally, we are working to address “nuclear/radiological risks.” These risks are found at ORNL from legacy waste and material containing significant levels of radionuclides, which we are working to disposition.
Learn more about the specific work and projects at each of our cleanup sites by selecting the navigation to the left of this text.