Oak Ridge former enrichment site ready for reuse

13 September 2021

A view of the former Centrifuge Complex area following demolition, slab removal, excavation, and backfilling Credit: DOE EM







The US Department of Energy’s Office (DOE’s) of Environmental Management (EM) has said that the for Oak Ridge centrifuge complex site is ready for reuse. 

EM Oak Ridge cleanup contractor UCOR used nearly 5,500 trucks to bring in approximately 65,000 cubic yards of backfill soil to complete the site restoration. 

The site that once housed one of the tallest, most visible buildings at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) is now cleared and ready for industrial development. The complex was one of the final collections of buildings to be demolished last year as workers completed the first-ever clean-up of a former uranium enrichment complex.

Left behind from the clean-up was a large concrete slab spanning more than 5 acres. UCOR recently finished removing the slab and backfilling the site. The facility’s footprint falls in the area of a proposed regional airport planned for ETTP. More than 30,000 cubic yards of the soil used in the backfill came from another area of ETTP saving $200,000. 

The site will remain a grassy field until it is redeveloped. “Removal of these structures was an important step forward in completing ETTP clean-up, and now removal of the slab and restoration of the site is another significant step in transformation of the site into a multi-use industrial park,” said James Daffron, Oak Ridge acting ETTP portfolio federal project director. The complex was built in stages to develop, test, and demonstrate the capability of centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment. The last of these facilities ceased operation in the mid-1980s. 

“With 26,000 cubic yards of reinforced concrete and asphalt removed, and 65,000 cubic yards of soil placed, UCOR is proud that it’s skilled workforce has been a key part of this successful project,” said Hoss Brown, UCOR Heritage Centre enterprise manager. “They are a valuable and irreplaceable part of the DOE mission to repurpose the ETTP site.” The project marks another step toward accomplishing EM’s cleanup responsibilities at ETTP and finishing the site’s transition to a multi-use industrial park. EM has transferred approximately 1,300 acres to the community for economic development, and that land houses 20 private businesses, with more announcing plans to locate there. More than 3,000 acres at the site are set aside for conservation, and ETTP also has a history centre and a component of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Photo: A view of the former Centrifuge Complex area following demolition (Credit: ETTP)

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