Source: EM Update | Vol. 13, Issue 44; Contributor: Ben Williams | November 9, 2021
Each year, EM releases its priorities for the coming calendar year, a key marker to the cleanup program’s continuing success in addressing the legacy of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. The Calendar Year 2021 Mission and Priorities outlines specific planned accomplishments across the cleanup complex for the year.
“Through the work ethic and dedication of our federal and contractor workforce, Oak Ridge continues to reinforce its reputation as a site that completes its projects on time and on budget,” OREM Acting Manager Laura Wilkerson said.
OREM had three entries in EM’s 2021 priorities. They include completing demolition of the Biology Complex, transferring property at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) to the community, and awarding the Oak Ridge Reservation Cleanup Contract.
Demolishing the former Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex wrapped up in June and created the biggest skyline change at Oak Ridge this year. The project involved significant deactivation efforts and cleared away facilities that spanned 330,000 square feet and stood up to six stories tall. Crews removed 3.5 million pounds of asbestos and waste from the deteriorating 1940s-era facilities prior to their teardown.
That EM 2021 priority eliminated significant structural risks, and it opens an 18-acre area to support national security missions at the site. Workers are slated to finish removing the buildings’ foundations early next year, the final step before the land is available for reuse by the National Nuclear Security Administration.
At ETTP, OREM continues progress toward its ultimate vision of transforming the site into a multi-use industrial park. After nearly two decades, all demolition is complete and hundreds of acres of land are available for reuse to attract new businesses and economic development, create conservation areas, and preserve and share ETTP’s history.
OREM has transferred nearly 1,300 acres at ETTP to the community to date for industrial development. Two transfers completed this summer preserve areas with historic significance, including one of the site’s main entryways — known as Portal 4. It’s expected to be refurbished and repurposed for new office space.
Oak Ridge accomplished its third and final 2021 priority with the award of the Oak Ridge Reservation Cleanup Contract to United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR) in late October. The new contract will span 10 years and has an estimated value of up to $8.3 billion.
The contractor will be responsible for soil and groundwater remediation at ETTP; cleanup of excess contaminated facilities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12; and operational activities and surveillance and maintenance for numerous facilities across the Oak Ridge Reservation.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished this year, which extends beyond the three items listed. We also made progress in many other areas that positions our program for more successes and priority completions next year,” Wilkerson said.