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Oak Ridge EM Program Completes K-25 North End Demolition

January 23, 2013 - 12:00pm

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Employees with the K-25 demolition team gather for a photo following the completion of demolition of the north end of the K-25 Building today.

Employees with the K-25 demolition team gather for a photo following the completion of demolition of the north end of the K-25 Building today.

A view of the north end of the K-25 Building moments before it was demolished today.

A view of the north end of the K-25 Building moments before it was demolished today.

Workers tear down the remaining structure of the K-25 North End this morning.

Workers tear down the remaining structure of the K-25 North End this morning.

Workers completed the demolition of the north end of the K-25 Building today.

Workers completed the demolition of the north end of the K-25 Building today.

Today marked the completion of demolition of K-25's north end.

Today marked the completion of demolition of K-25's north end.

Employees with the K-25 demolition team gather for a photo following the completion of demolition of the north end of the K-25 Building today.
A view of the north end of the K-25 Building moments before it was demolished today.
Workers tear down the remaining structure of the K-25 North End this morning.
Workers completed the demolition of the north end of the K-25 Building today.
Today marked the completion of demolition of K-25's north end.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – News cameras today captured one of the final stages of DOE’s largest-ever demolition project.

In addition, employees from Oak Ridge’s Office of EM and its prime cleanup contractor, URS | CH2 Oak Ridge (UCOR), were on hand to witness the completion of demolition to the north end of the 44-acre Manhattan Project-era K-25 Building.

“Completing demolition of the K-25 building is our highest priority, and this is another significant step towards that goal,” said Mark Whitney, Oak Ridge’s EM manager.

K-25’s demolition began in 2008, and it is expected to be complete next year. Demolition of the north and west wings are complete, and what remains is a section of the east wing that requires further deactivation due to the presence of technetium-99 (Tc-99), a slow-decaying radioactive isotope. That section is small compared to the entire K-25 superstructure that existed before demolition began. In all, K-25 was comprised of 54 units: 27 on the west wing, three on the north end, and 24 on the east wing. With the completion of the north end, there are only six units remaining on the east end. Workers are continuing pre-demolition activities in the remaining portion of the east wing.

The K-25 building, located at the East Tennessee Technology Park, was composed of three major sections — the east and west wings and the north end — which were aligned in a “U” shape that was more than a mile in length. The north end forms the base of the “U” and is the smallest of the three sections.

Previous plans called for the north end to be preserved for historic purposes. But in July 2012, federal, state and local historic preservation groups signed an agreement establishing an alternative plan that allows the north end to be demolished, while still recognizing the historic significance of the site.

With the north end demolition complete, attention is now focused on debris disposal. Waste disposition work has kept pace with demolition work under the project’s “pack as you go” philosophy, meaning waste isn’t allowed to pile up in the wake of demolition. Rather, waste is shipped within weeks after demolition is complete. In all, workers have safely finished more than 15,000 waste shipments since the UCOR contract began.

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