Category Archives: UCOR

Smith named North Wind communications chief

annesmithAnne Smith, who previously held public affairs roles with Safety and Ecology Corp., Perma-Fix Environmental and URS/CH2M Oak Ridge, has been named the communications chief at North Wind Group.

North Wind is a small business on the rise, recently taking over management of the Department of Energy’s Transuranic Waste Processing Center in Oak Ridge. The company is based in Idaho Falls. Smith will be located in the company’s Knoxville office. Continue reading

IG report raises flags on UCOR cost claims

An assessment by the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General raised questions about hundreds of thousands of dollars of costs incurred by DOE’s Oak Ridge cleanup contractor — URS/CH2M Oak Ridge — but UCOR said it resolved all of the issues before the report was made public this week.ucorpic

The IG regularly conducts reviews of DOE’s managing contractors to evaluate whether costs claimed under their federal contracts are allowable and properly accounted for during internal audit. The report released Wednesday looked at UCOR’s first three years on the job — Fiscal Years 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The report also said more than $250 million in subcontractor costs had not been audited for those first three years under UCOR’s leadership and those, too, are considered to be unresolved until the audits are completed. Continue reading

Rad levels down significantly at sewer plant

radsludgeLevels of radioactivity at a city of Oak Ridge sewage treatment plant have been reduced by 90 percent over the past two years, according to a Department of Energy contractor in charge of the cleanup.

Anne Smith, a spokeswoman for URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, said the contractor recently completed its 18th shipment of radioactive sludge — totaling 90,000 gallons — to a treatment facility in Washington state.

Sludge has been removed periodically from the Rarity Ridge Wastewater Treatment Plant to help reduce the levels of radioactive technetium-99, which infiltrated pipelines leading to the sewage plant during demolition activities at the former K-25 uranium-enrichment facility. Continue reading

K-27 demolition moves ahead furiously; preparations underway for other Cold War facilities

Poplar Creek MapAerial view with some of the Poplar Creek Facilities in the foreground. Below is recent photo of K-27 demolition. (DOE/Lynn Freeny)

The post-Cold War cleanup is proceeding at a furious pace at an Oak Ridge site once home to the nation’s largest uranium-enrichment complex.26504269220_6547c787a4_k

With K-27, the last of five gaseous diffusion plants, coming down quicker than expected and likely to be demolished before the year-end target date, the U.S. Department of Energy has started making preparations to tear down a bunch of other old buildings that once supported the nuclear program.

URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, DOE’s cleanup manager, has taken advantage of favorable weather conditions to accelerate the demolition of K-27, which ceased operations in 1964. The four-story, 383,000-square foot building is highly contaminated and equally deteriorated. Continue reading

UCOR announces mini-grant winners

Ken Rueter, president of UCOR.URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, the Department of Energy’s cleanup manager in Oak Ridge, announced 20 winners in the ongoing mini-grant program that supports educational initiatives in local schools.

UCOR President Ken Rueter called the education program a “difference maker” that helps teachers and students and the community.

Here are the winning projects selected for funding in 2016: Continue reading

Demolition moving rapidly at K-27 uranium site

k27patrickA safety officer overlooks the demolition activities taking place at the historic K-27 gaseous diffusion plant, the last of five uranium-enrichment facilities to be taken down at the Oak Ridge site. (KNS photos/Michael Patrick)

On a chilly morning in early February, workers maneuvered their heavy equipment to take a ceremonial “first bite” out of K-27 — a four-story, 383,000-square-foot industrial facility that once processed uranium for the nation’s Cold War nuclear arsenal and helped fuel early generations of power reactors.k27new

A small group of onlookers applauded the moment.

In the 10 weeks since then, the demolition project has progressed mightily, thanks to an experienced workforce and an unusual run of good weather in East Tennessee.

The project is already approaching the halfway point, and it looks like the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor — URS-CH2M Oak Ridge — will have no trouble meeting its year-end completion goal. Continue reading

Sharing resources within DOE: a good thing

ypictureAs noted in earlier post, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management is using a $28 million pool of money to stabilize old facilities at ORNL and Y-12 until such time that bigger money and resources are available to tear them down and complete the cleanup.

The National Nuclear Security Administration is doing some work on its own to keep bad situations from getting worse. And, in at least one case at Y-12, EM and NNSA — two organizations within DOE — are working together to reduce the risks. Continue reading

Big and slow

25583645381_5670c75b4e_kAs part of the demolition project at the K-732 switchyard at the East Tennessee Technology Park, workers on Thursday transported a 110-ton condenser to a landfill on the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge reservation. Because of the size and weight, a special trailer was required for the task. Two other condensers will be moved in the days ahead, which may slow traffic on sections of Highways 58 and 95. (DOE photo/Lynn Freeny)

DOE spending $28M to reduce risks at Y-12, ORNL

????????????????????????????????????The exterior of the Homogenous Reactor Experiment, a research reactor that was operated in the 1950s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A DOE project will attempt to stabilize conditions at the site to reduce risks until money is available to tear it down and complete the cleanup. Below are photos of the reactor facility’s interior. (Department of Energy photo)

7500 interior 2The U.S. Department of Energy is spending $28 million this year to reduce the risks at several old facilities at Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory until enough money is available to tear them down and complete the cleanup.

The special fund was part of a congressionally approved “plus-up” in funding for the cleanup effort in Fiscal Year 2016.7500 interior 3

DOE is attacking one of its biggest concerns in Oak Ridge: excess facilities that are rapidly deteriorating but not yet scheduled to demolition. In some instances, it could be decades before enough the federal agency has enough money to get rid of the crumbling and contaminated sites once and for all. Continue reading

Mercury treatment facility enters final design

mercurysignOne of most anticipated projects on the horizon is the new mercury treatment facility at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. The big project, with a price tag approaching $150 million, is extended to help reduce discharges of mercury into East Fork Poplar Creek.

URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, the Department of Energy’s chief cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, is working on the design.

Asked for an update on the design effort, UCOR spokeswoman Anne Smith provided this response via email: Continue reading