Source: EM Update | Vol. 11, Issue 17 ; Contributor: Wayne McKinney| April 30, 2019


The Centrifuge Complex includes some of the largest and most recognizable structures remaining at the East Tennessee Technology Park, including a 180-foot-high facility, the site’s tallest structure.

Workers are preparing to tear down a complex that will help successfully complete the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s (OREM) Vision 2020, an ambitious goal to finish all demolitions at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) by the end of 2020.

The K-1200 Centrifuge Complex is comprised of several facilities constructed between 1975 and 1985 and spanning more than 235,000 square feet. The complex was built in stages to develop, test, and demonstrate the ability to enrich uranium using centrifuge technology. The last of these facilities ceased operations in the mid-1980s, and the site was closed in 1987.

The complex includes some of the largest and most recognizable structures remaining at ETTP, including the site’s tallest facility, at 180 feet.

To prepare for the teardown, crews are clearing away hazards, which involves removing several hundred centrifuges, utilities, asbestos, and waste. Piping and equipment are being vented, purged, drained, and inspected to prepare the equipment for disposal. Many pieces of equipment will be removed throughout the complex prior to demolition, which is scheduled to begin in 2020.

“Preparing such a complex facility for demolition takes precision and thoroughness to ensure that crews do not encounter any safety or environmental concerns when they begin taking it down,” said James Daffron, OREM’s acting ETTP portfolio federal project director. “Removing these structure will be one of the most visible landscape changes we’ve accomplished since we began cleanup at ETTP.”

OREM and cleanup contractor UCOR are demolishing unneeded facilities at ETTP and cleaning up the site, which is being converted into a private sector industrial park, national park, and conservation area. Since cleanup began, OREM has torn down more than 400 facilities, transferred nearly 1,300 acres for economic redevelopment, and created a 3,000-acre conservation area for public use.