Oak Ridge Completes Major Soil Remediation Project at K-25 Footprint

An aerial view of the massive K-25 footprint spanning 44 acres at Oak Ridge. Future plans call for transforming the footprint into a commemorative site as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. (Photo by DOE)

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Workers recently finished removing contaminated soil under a section of the former Building K-25 footprint in another major action to help EM reach its goal to complete cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) this year.

ETTP, the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, once contained five massive uranium enrichment buildings, which included Building K-25, along with hundreds of support facilities.

After conducting sampling and characterization, Oak Ridge’s cleanup contractor UCOR identified areas in a section of the 44-acre K-25 footprint where contaminated soil needed to be excavated and removed. Workers have now completed that excavation — which began in 2018 — removing more than 90,000 cubic yards of soil. The site has been backfilled and seeded.

“Completion of this project reduces risk at ETTP, while helping position us to achieve site cleanup this year,” said James Daffron, acting ETTP portfolio federal project director for Oak Ridge’s EM program.

Workers have completed an excavation of contaminated soil from the K-25 footprint, removing more than 90,000 cubic yards of soil. (Photo by DOE)
Crews finish backfilling and seeding a portion of the K-25 footprint. This is the last step of the project, and it gets the area ready for its future use to commemorate the site’s history.

The K-25 Building was built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. At that time, K-25 was the largest building in the world. It operated until 1964, producing enriched uranium for defense and commercial purposes.

The K-25 Building demolition project began in December 2008, and that work was completed on the mile-long, U-shaped structure in December 2013.

Tearing down the 1.6-million-square-foot facility was EM’s largest ever demolition project. Waste hauled from the site included 6,000 compressors, 3,000 converters, 187,000 cubic yards of steel, 3,800 miles of electrical conductors, and 1.2 million cubic feet of asbestos insulation. In total, more than 460,000 cubic yards of K-25 waste — which could fill more than 33,000 dump trucks — was shipped for disposal.

Completing this soil remediation project eliminates risks at the site, and it will also help facilitate future plans to transform the K-25 Building footprint into a commemorative site as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The K-25 History Center opened earlier this year adjacent to the footprint, and future plans include a viewing tower, equipment building, and wayside exhibits.

EM’s goal for this year is to complete ETTP cleanup, known as Vision 2020, as the site transitions to a multi-use industrial park, national park, and conservation center.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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