Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


The DOE's East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), originally the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. The ETTP site covers about 4,845 acres (7.6 square miles), or 14 percent of the Oak Ridge Reservation, approximately 13 miles from the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was designed to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons operations. Following World War II, the Plant was renamed the Oak Ridge K-25 Site. It continued to produce enriched uranium, but for commercial nuclear power, from 1945 to 1985. In 1987, DOE permanently shut down the plant. After the shutdown of diffusion operations, K-25 was declared a DOE Environmental Management (EM) site. In 1997, the site was renamed the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), after a project of environmental restoration, decontamination and decommissioning, and reindustrialization went into effect the year before.

The DOE's Oak Ridge Office (ORO), formerly the Oak Ridge Operations Office, is responsible for managing and overseeing operations at the Oak Ridge Reservation, which houses the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the ETTP, and the Y-12 Plant. Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC is the environmental management contractor for ORO. Cleanup at ETTP is slated for completion in 2008. ORO established a task team to plan and initiate implementation of Vision 2010. The objective was to have the site defederalized, making its physical and infrastructure assets available to commercial users. As the cleanup project progresses, ownership of the land and buildings is transferred to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET). That body then leases the property as part of its industrial park. Initially approximately 1,000 acres of Oak Ridge Reservation land were transferred and the K-25 Barge Facility was leased to CROET, along with part of Building K-1401, which was going to be used as a manufacturing site for light industry by the private sector. The final closure of the ETTP is to be accomplished by September 30, 2008, at a cost of $746M. At that time, all titles of buildings not demolished will have been transferred to CROET for use in the private industrial park. The ETTP industrial park is home to two business centers: the Heritage Center and Horizon Center. The Heritage Center, the former gaseous diffusion facility, includes 125 main buildings. K-31, K-1036, K-1400, and K-1007 were all available as of July 2008. Also, near the ETTP site is Horizon Center, which is a new 1,000-acre greenfield site. It includes seven major development sites.

The DOE's Environmental Cleanup Program calls for the demolition of most ETTP facilities, excluding those designated for reuse. About 725 acres, within a security fence, contain house 14.4 million square feet of buildings. Of this, almost 90 percent (12.5 million square feet) includes buildings that underwent or are undergoing decontamination and demolition. Among them are the shutdown gaseous diffusion production facilities and gas centrifuge enrichment and ancillary buildings. As of the late 1990s, only 3 percent (390,000 square feet) of the site's total building area was less than 20 years old. Most of the buildings are 30 or more years old. About 500 above-ground facilities, including the former administration building, cafeteria, and medical facility, tanks, sheds, and other structures have already been demolished. K-1225, K-1330, K-1007, K-1580, K-1036, and K-1400, were transferred to CROET. Cleanup of K-25, K-33, K-31, and K-29 former gaseous diffusion plant buildings was scheduled for completion in 2005. The K-25 Building, located at the center of ETTP, is a U-shaped building that is about one mile long. When it was built in 1943, it was the largest building in the world with over 1.6 million square feet. Demolition of K-25 and K-27 is scheduled to be completed in 2009. The K-27 Building, built in 1945, is a rectangular, 374,000 square foot facility. Demolition of K-25 is scheduled to begin in October 2008, which, along with the dismantlement of K-27, will cost an estimated $810 million. Over 4,000 truckloads (53,338 cubic yards) of radioactive and hazardous waste have been removed.

The ETTP also serves as the test site for centrifuges to be used in the U.S. Enrichment Corporation's American Centrifuge Program, construction of which began in May 2007.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list