As noted earlier this week, demolition has already begun at K-27 — the last of the big gaseous diffusion plants that once supplied the nation’s nuclear needs for reactor fuel and help met the material needs for the nuclear arsenal.
URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, the government’s cleanup manager in Oak Ridge, is heading the demolition project, and UCOR President Ken Rueter said the demolition will generate about 10,000 truckloads of contaminated waste.
While much of the waste will go to the CERCLA landfill on DOE’s Oak Ridge reservation, the more hazardous wastes will be shipped to the Nevada National Security Site for disposal.
Much of K-27’s higher-risk equipment, containing deposits of enriched uranium or significant levels of radioactive technetium-99, has already been extracted from the four-story, 383,000-square-foot building and shipped to Nevada. K-25 ceased operations in 1964, but it once enriched uranium up to about 20 percent U-235.
According to UCOR, about 70 percent of the process gas equipment in K-27 will be shipped off-site because it doesn’t meet criteria for the Oak Ridge landfill, which is known as the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility.
So far, the DOE contractor has made 159 shipments of K-27 materials to the Nevada site and there’s more to come.
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