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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Inactive Facilities

Building 3010 - Bulk Shielding Reactor

This facility was used to conduct shielding studies. The bulk shielding reactor has been inactive for several years and is awaiting funding for fuel removal and subsequent decontamination and decommissioning. The 2-megawatt Bulk Shielding Reactor was built in December 1950. It was a modification of the earlier Materials Testing Reactor mockup. The enriched uranium core was submerged in water. The facility contained spent fuel, and legacy contamination exists in some areas of the facility.

Building 3027 - Special Nuclear Materials Vault

Building 3027, the Special Nuclear Materials Vault, was built in 1980. It is used as a secure storage facility for packaged radioactive material, including Security Category III radioactive materials. The single story reinforced concrete building had eight rooms with eighteen-inch, concrete slab, reinforced walls. It included an entrance airlock, receiving room, five storage rooms, and one room with electrical and ventilation equipment. All special nuclear materials other than fuel elements are stored in Department of Transportation approved shipping containers or other approved containers. It was designated for deactivation during 2003.

Building 3038 - Isotope Development Laboratory

Now inactive, Building 3038 (formerly 902), also called the Isotope Research Materials Laboratory and Radioisotope Analytical and Packing Building, was used for temporary radioactive material storage. Plans are to remove all stored radioactive materials and place the facility into the D&D program. Building 3038 began operation in 1949. 3038-E was the Isotope Materials Laboratory 3038-E, while 3038-M was the Radioisotope Packaging and Shipping Facility

Building 3517 - Fission Product Development Laboratory

Building 3517, which housed the Fission Product Development Laboratory, was a two-story, concrete-block structure of about 14,400 square feet, originally built in 1958 to separate kilocurie amounts of fission products, including Cs-137 and Sr-90. In 1963 it was modified to also produce megacurie amount of Cs-137, Sr-90, and Ce-144. It later processed Ir-192. It had nine process cells, ten manipulator and service cells, four underground tank farm cells, a ventilation filter pit, filtration housings, and several service/pipe tunnels. Two cell ventilation facilities, Buildings 3547 and 3548, and a storage building, Building 3542, were part of the 3517 complex. The facility was shut down in 1989 but continued to store quantities of fission products and 500 grams of Cm-244. Plans called for the removal of radioactive isotopes by 1998 and deactivation by 1999.

Building 7700 - Tower Shielding Facility

Building 7700, the Tower Shielding Facility (TSF), was constructed in 1954 to support the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) Project. It was an operating reactor facility with four 315-foot towers capable of raising an operating reactor, to perform shielding studies. TSF had four different reactor designs. The Tower Shielding Reactor I (TSR-I), was a box-shaped, 500-kW MTR-type reactor. It was replaced in 1960 with a spherically symmetric reactor (TSR-II), which has been inside a ground-based concrete shield, Big Beam Shield, since 1975. In 1958, the Aircraft Shield Test Reactor was used for shielding research for an operating aircraft. The TSF-SNAP (Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power) reactor, the fourth and final, was removed from the site in 1973. The last nuclear operation at TSF was in 1992. The facility contained spent fuel, and legacy contamination exists in some areas of the facility. Federal contractors finished defueling the TSF reactor in 2003, but as of July 2008, final cleanup is on hold.

Building 7503 - Molten Salt Reactor Experiment

Building 7503, the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) facility, was a graphite-moderated, liquid-fueled 8-MW reactor built to investigate the practicality of the molten salt reactor concept. The MSRE operated as an experimental reactor from 1965 until December 1969. Located 1 km south of the ORNL main plant in Melton Valley, it was designed to test the possibility of using molten salt reactor technology for commercial power applications. It tested an alternative method of powering a nuclear reactor, pumping a mixture of radioactive molten salt through a series of pipes to generate heat.Upon final reactor shutdown and fuel draining in 1969, a leak developed in a freeze valve between one of the drain tanks and the reactor. An estimated 2 to 3 cubic inches of molten fuel salt leaked from the valve into the drain tank cell. There has been no other instance of fuel leakage. Continuous gamma radiation and ventilation stack monitors were in operation at the MSRE facility since its shutdown. Significant issues were discovered in 1994 associated with the migration of stored U-233 to other locations within the facility. Consequent risks included the potential for nuclear criticality, exothermic chemical reactions, and radionuclide and fluorine gas releases. Corrective actions have reduced the criticality and chemical reaction risks. Activities to remove the UF6 and F2 gas are under way. The potential release of UF6 gas continues to present a serious risk pending depressurization of the off-gas system. Removal of the molten fuel salt was addressed by a CERCLA document entitled Record of Decision for interim Action to Remove Fuel and Flush Salts from the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (DOE/OR/02-1671&D2), which was signed on July 7, 1998, by DOE, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Defueling was expected to be complete by 2003, but that date was pushed back to 2007.

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