Oak Ridge Reservation Facilities

East Tennessee Technology Park


The East Tennessee Technology Park was originally ettp.jpgnamed “The Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant.” As part of the Manhattan Project, the Plant was designed to produce enriched uranium for use in atomic weapons operations during World War II.


After the war, this Plant was renamed the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and produced enriched uranium for the commercial nuclear power industry from 1945 to 1985. In 1987, DOE renamed the site the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) and began a major environmental cleanup project with the long-term goal of converting ETTP into a private industrial park called Heritage Center. Cleanup activities are being conducted by Bechtel Jacobs Company. As cleanup is completed, DOE transfers ownership of the uncontaminated buildings to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET), who in turn leases this property for immediate private industrial use.


Some of the key facilities include:


TSCA Incinerator


TSCAIncinerator.jpgETTP is home to the DOE Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Incinerator off Blair Road, the only U.S. facility permitted to burn certain radioactive and/or hazardous wastes.  The Incinerator treats both solid and liquid wastes originating from only DOE sites.


The Incinerator is located on the eastern edge of the site and has operated since 1991. The Incinerator operator develops and follows detailed procedures to ensure safety and compliance with rules and regulations issued by DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Tennessee. 


Periodic tests and evaluations are conducted to ensure performance meets requirements. A burn plan detailing what waste will be treated is available on the Web site



K-25/27 Demolition Project


The U-shaped K-25 Building is approximately one mile long and has 44 acres under one roof.  The building is near the center of ETTP and was built in 1943.  The K-27 Building is a rectangular building that is approximately 374,000 square feet.  It was built in 1945.  Except for the shape and size, the two buildings are very similar in construction and materials.


Both buildings contain radioactive contamination and hazardous materials in the building structures and plans are to demolish them. This work will be completed by 2009.


Main Plant


Most facilities at ETTP, except those designated for reuse, have been, or are scheduled to be, demolished as part of DOE’s Environmental Cleanup Program.


Approximately 500 above-ground facilities, including buildings, tanks, sheds, and other structures have been demolished.  Most have actual or potential elevated concentrations of radiological and/or other hazardous substances. Several large industrial buildings at the site will be demolished within the next two years.


More than 150 facilities, including the former administration building, cafeteria, and medical facility, have already been demolished. Other buildings, including K-1225,

K-1330, K-1007, K-1580, K-1036, and K-1400, have been transferred to CROET for reuse by private industry.   


Oak Ridge National Laboratory


The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is DOE's largest multipurpose science laboratory and is managed by UT-Battelle LLC. ORNL was established in 1943 as a part of the Manhattan Project and was formerly known as the X-10 site.


Today, ORNL is an international leader in a range of scientific areas that support DOE’s mission in the Office of Science. The Laboratory’s six major scientific competencies include neutron science, energy, high performance computing, complex biological systems, advanced materials, and national security.


Spallation Neutron Source


This one-of-a-kind facility was built on Chestnut Ridge by a partnership of six SNS.jpgDOE laboratories to provide the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research and industrial development. 


Neutron research at the Spallation Neutron Source helps researchers improve materials used in high-temperature superconductors, powerful lightweight magnets, aluminum bridge decks, and stronger, lighter plastic products. This research has already led to improved shatter-proof windshields, pocket calculators, adjustable seats, and more accurate satellite weather forecast information.


High Flux Isotope Reactor


The High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) began full-power operations in 1966 HFIR.jpgand is one of the world's most powerful research reactors.


One of the original primary purposes of the HFIR was the production of californium-252 and other transuranium isotopes for research, industrial, and medical applications. Today, the principal use of HFIR is for neutron physics research.


Radiochemical Engineering Development Center - Building 7920


Since the mid-1960s, the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC) has been the production, storage, and distribution center for the heavy-element research program of DOE. This includes work with transuranic elements, such as neptunium, americium, and californium. These elements are used in a number of applications, including medical research and industry.


The heart of the REDC is a battery of nine heavily shielded hot cells housed in a two-story building. Of the nine cells, four contain chemical processing equipment for dissolution, solvent extraction, ion exchange, and precipitation operations. Three contain equipment for the preparation and inspection of transuranic element targets, while one cell is used for analytical chemistry operations, and another is used for waste collection and sorting.


Transuranic (TRU) Waste Facility


The Transuranic Waste Processing Center is managed by EnergX TRU Waste.jpgon behalf of Foster Wheeler. The site is located on 5.2 acres of land off Highway 95.


The TWPC mission is to receive legacy TRU wastes and future wastes to be generated from decontamination and decommissioning, remediation, and ongoing mission operations at the ORNL complex. The facility processes, treats, repackages and ships the waste for final disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Nevada Test Site, or any other designated disposal facility. 


The site is the only facility of its type in the region specifically designed to accomplish this mission.  Low-level and low-level mixed wastes generated as a byproduct of TRU process operations are also processed for shipment to the Nevada Test Site or other appropriate disposal facility.


Molten Salt Reactor Experiment Facility


The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) operated at ORNL from 1965 to 1969. Its purpose was to test an alternative concept for powering a nuclear reactor. Rather than using fuel rods to contain the radioactive source, as do today's commercial power reactors, the MSRE pumped a mixture of radioactive molten salt through a series of pipes to generate heat and power the reactor.


When the reactor was shut down, the fuel salt was drained into two large metal tanks. A flush salt was then circulated through the tank and drained into a third storage tank. In late 1994, researchers detected that radioactive material had traveled from the storage tanks into pipes connected to the drain tanks. The material was removed from the pipes, and DOE is now planning the removal of fuel salts from the drain tanks.


An expected nine metric tons of material will be removed from the tanks and transported to a storage facility at ORNL, where it will await final disposal at an appropriate site.


Radiochemical Development Facility - Building 3019


Building 3019 is one of the nation's few repositories for uranium-233 (U-233) radnew3.jpgand other special nuclear materials, with a history dating back to the Manhattan Project. Located near the center of the ORNL campus, 3019 is where the majority of the nation's separated U-233 is stored. The special materials are stored in an array of secured shafts surrounded by poured concrete walls.


U-233 is an alpha-particle emitter, similar to the better-known isotope, U-235. Associated with the U-233 and regarded as a contaminant is U-232. This uranium isotope emits high-energy gamma radiation that requires extensive shielding to protect workers.


Y-12 National Security Complex


The focus of the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) is the production y-12.jpgand refurbishment of weapons components, storage of nuclear material and prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Y-12 is managed by BWXT Y-12, LLC, for the National Nuclear Security Administration.


Y-12 has five primary missions:


• Producing, refurbishing and dismantling nuclear weapons components;

• Safeguarding special nuclear materials;

• Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;

• Providing the U.S. Navy with safe, effective nuclear propulsion systems; and

• Providing support for other national security needs and customers, as required.


Built between two mountain ridges, the Y-12 (previously Y-12 Plant) mission was to process uranium for the first atomic bomb. Construction of Y-12 began in February 1943; enriched uranium production began in November 1943. Construction, however, was not finished until 1945.


After World War II, Y-12 evolved into a high-precision manufacturing, assembly and inspection facility while maintaining the nation's uranium and lithium technology base. Every weapon in the stockpile has some components manufactured at Y-12.


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