Every year the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management makes a list of priorities for the coming year. These priorities are essential to the ongoing cleanup of the country’s legacy nuclear weapon production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research, spanning the entire DOE complex.
United Cleanup Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR)—an Amentum partnership with Jacobs—is assisting DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environment Management in the completion of the Oak Ridge Reservation goals on DOE’s 2022 Priorities List. Their most recent achievement was the transfer of the former Biology Complex footprint at the Y-12 National Security Complex back to the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Dating back to the 1940s, the Biology Complex was constructed for the purpose of recovering uranium from process streams. Its mission later changed to research, leading to strides in the understanding of genetics and the effects of radiation. Ceasing operations in 2002, the Complex was later categorized as containing high-risk excess facilities due to deteriorated structural conditions.
Demolition on the remaining buildings began in 2020 and included Building 9207 and Building 9210 which was completed in 2021 by the predecessor OREM cleanup contractor—Amentum-led UCOR LLC. Continuing that work, UCOR worked throughout 2022, removing building slabs and backfilling the area, to finish the project. This land is the planned location for the Lithium Processing Facility which will support national security missions.
“We’re proud to again accomplish the important annual priorities set out for us,” said Laura Wilkerson, OREM acting manager. “It’s especially rewarding because reaching this particular objective also supports the important missions happening at Y-12.”
“Our team at UCOR continues to reduce major environmental risk at the Oak Ridge reservation,” said Jim Blankenhorn, Amentum’s Senior Vice President of Environment and Security. “This work accomplished for our DOE Environmental Management client is cleaning up the environment while enabling a major national security mission for the National Nuclear Security Administration.”
The Biology Complex site was the first of many transformations planned for Y-12. UCOR also completed the demolition of the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory, another high-risk excess contaminated facility, and are currently deactivating several former Manhattan Project-era uranium enrichment facilities, including Alpha-2, Alpha-4, and Beta-1, preparing them for demolition.