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URS | CH2M Oak Ridge, also known as UCOR, had a literal breakthrough this week when workers completed a cut through the east wing of the K-25 Building.
The cut segregated the north 16 sections of the structure from the six southernmost
sections, five of which are contaminated with Technetium-
The sections containing Tc-99, a slow-decaying radioactive metal, will require addition-
al preparation before demolition.
The cut removed two sections of the building adjacent to a buffer zone that had been established next to the five Tc-99 sections.
Crews will begin demolishing the remaining 16 sections while preparing the Tc-99 sections for demolition.
“This is an important milestone,” said Leo Sain, UCOR president and project manager. “It enables us to continue demolition simultaneously with the preparation work in the Tc-99 units.”
Prior to cutting the building into two parts, the preparation work could not be accomplished while demolition was taking place for safety reasons.
“Now that the sections are not connected, work can go on in both areas at the same time,” Sain said.
Once the nearly half-mile east wing is demolished, about three-fourths of the once massive K-25 Building will have been removed. The west wing was demolished previously.
The facility was built as part of the World War II Manhattan Project to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and subsequently nuclear power.
When it was built, it was the largest structure in the world under one roof, covering more than 40 acres.
The K-25 Building was shut down in the early 1960s while uranium enrichment continued at the site, now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park Heritage Center, until the mid-1980s.