Source: EM Update | Vol. 11, Issue 23; Contributor: Wayne McKinney| June 18, 2019

Oak Ridge Site workers remove asbestos-containing panels from portions of the K-1037 Building while demolition and debris removal are underway on other sections.

Cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) gained headway with the completion of demolition of the K-1037 Building recently — the largest and one of the most challenging facilities still standing there. Watch a video of the demolition here.

Crews began tearing down the building in February and safely completed the project almost four months ahead of schedule.

Built in 1945, the structure grew through the years with additions that brought its square footage to approximately 380,000 square feet. As one of the earliest structures at the site, K-1037 was originally a warehouse, but it was later used to produce barrier material used in the gaseous diffusion process until 1982.

“A lot of work was necessary to prepare this massive facility for demolition,” said Jay Mullis, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM). “We are very pleased this project was completed safely and ahead of schedule. That allows our program to keep pushing toward successfully achieving the ambitious Vision 2020 goal.”

OREM cleanup contractor UCOR spent almost two years preparing the facility for safe demolition. K-1037 posed a unique challenge because it contained classified materials. Employees safely removed those materials, and the building was declassified before the teardown began.


A view of K-1037 Building site before demolition.

Workers cleared away equipment and waste, conducted asbestos abatement, and disconnected all utilities prior to demolition. They also got rid of the building’s asbestos-containing panels.

“The K-1037 project was a truly collaborative effort that involved security, deactivation and demolition, and transportation personnel working together seamlessly to safely and efficiently complete this project,” said Ken Rueter, UCOR president and CEO. “As with many of our cleanup projects, we were able to finish this work ahead of schedule thanks to our skilled, safety-focused workforce, our ability to efficiently remove and dispose of waste onsite, and our exceptional partnership with DOE.”

Workers will now begin removing the building’s slab. The site will eventually become a grassy field available for economic development.

Since major cleanup began at ETTP in the late 1990s, OREM has taken down 12 million square feet of buildings and transferred nearly 1,300 acres from government ownership in its goal to convert the site into a privately owned and operated multi-use industrial park.

OREM is working to complete all major building demolitions at ETTP by the end of next year as part of Vision 2020. The area also boasts a 3,000-acre conservation easement, and work is underway to open the K-25 History Center this fall. The center preserves and shares the site’s history during World War II’s Manhattan Project.