I asked the Dept. of Energy this week for an update regarding preservation efforts at K-25, the World War II-era facility that’s being demolished (the west wing is already on the ground). Because of the deteriorated condition of the building and safety concerns, DOE has said it appears impossible to live up to its earlier commitment to save the North Tower (bottom of the “U” in the U-shaped uranium-enrichment facility). There have been alternatives proposed, including one that would create an interpretive center, etc., and cost about $18 milion. But there’s apparently no firm deal at this point.
DOE spokesman John Shewairy said the agency’s Oak Ridge office “continues to work closely with our partners, with the objective of developing a revised Memorandum of Agreement that satisfies the needs of all parties.”In an e-mail statement, Shewairy said: “We believe we are on track to develop an agreement that specifically addresses the North Tower of Building K-25, as well as a more encompassing look at historic preservation across the Oak Ridge reservation.”
In a follow-up by phone this morning, the DOE spokesman reiterated that a new agreement could address preservation at multiple sites on the federal reservation.
“We could very easily be looking at a reservation-wide, longer-term effort,” he said. “That’s a very good possibility.”
Shewairy said there had been a couple of “smaller meetings” among the parties so far. “We will have some documentation that will be disseminated among all parties,” he said, apparently referring to a draft MOA.
Depending on the outcome or responses, there will likely be a meeting scheduled, Shewairy said. He said he wasn’t aware of a deadline for getting it done, but added, “Certainly, it’s in the interests of everybody to get this resolved as soon as possible.”