K-31 pre-demolition work ahead of schedule


Workers remove the transite panels from the exterior of K-31 during this May 6, 2014 photograph by U.S. Department of Energy photographer Lynn Freeny.

URS-CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR), the government’s main cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, is moving ahead with pre-demolition work on the K-31 building — one of the last big targets for destruction at the site before work begins in earnest on the nearby K-27 uranium-enrichment facility.

Removal of the WWII and Cold War uranium-processing facilities — especially K-25, where demolition was completed earlier this year — has really opened up the landscape at the sprawling federal site and is making way for future development of the brownfield industrial park.

Some drivers awaiting work on the waste-transportation part of the project have been inquiring about the status of the project, suggesting that work must have gotten delayed. However, Allen Schubert, communications chief for UCOR, said the K-31 project is actually on schedule or maybe ahead of schedule at this point.

“We are in the midst of performing a number of pre-demolition activities such as transite-siding removal (we are about 1/3 complete), isolating power throughout the building, removing asbestos insulation from around piping in the building, and draining oil from cranes located inside the building among other activities,” Schubert said in an email response to questions. “We still project demolition will start in October.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.