As EM cleans ETTP, private companies are investing and developing the site. The goal is to transform the site into a privately-owned industrial park.
Oak Ridge’s EM and reindustrialization missions are closely connected. As cleanup advances, the Department of Energy is able to open more facilities and land for reuse and development. Together, these programs save taxpayer dollars and spur economic development in the region.
The two programs work closest at the East Tennessee Technology Park. As EM cleans the site, Oak Ridge’s Reindustrialization program works to transfer buildings and land to the private sector. The goal is to fully convert the site into a privately-owned industrial park once EM completes the cleanup. The programs work with the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee to identify reuse options at the site. To date, the partnership has saved more than $110 million and brought in dozens of businesses. The saved funds can be directed toward additional cleanup to finish projects sooner. In addition, EM saves $6 million annually since transitioning onsite fire and emergency services to the city.
When private businesses lease or purchase land or buildings, the Department avoids surveillance and maintenance costs, and in some cases, it avoids demolition costs. Additionally, as cleanup progresses, EM can transfer utility and infrastructure responsibilities and costs to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee or the city of Oak Ridge.
The Heritage Center is a reindustrialized area within the footprint of the original Manhattan Project-era site. Today, after years of cleanup, EM has removed numerous environmental hazards and millions of square feet of old facilities. With cleanup advancing, the Reindustrialization program has numerous companies operating onsite. Recently, focus has shifted toward sustainable energy projects. Currently, the site has two solar arrays, a biomass facility that provides material to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and switchgrass fields for alternative energy production.
Additionally, the area adjacent to the Heritage Center, known as the Horizon Center, is a 1,000 acre greenfield site with 440 acres of developable land. The city of Oak Ridge now owns and markets the remaining available parcels at Horizon Center, which is steadily growing. The latest addition is the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility. The facility is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory project that refines methods to dramatically reduce the cost of materials used in manufacturing carbon fiber.
Finally, the Department and EM repurposed 3,000 acres adjacent to the East Tennessee Technology Park for conservation and recreational use, including several greenways and trail systems. As partial compensation for natural resource damages, the Department of Energy and the State of Tennessee established a conservation easement for this area.
Without EM, risks would remain that bar new development and economic growth regionally. Our employees realize that their work and progress directly affects other local Department missions, the safety of local residents, and future sources of revenue.