Former radioactive reactors in Oak Ridge prepped for demolition

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Crews are preparing former research reactor facilities for demolition announced Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management is working with its clean-up contractor, UCOR, to change the landscape and environmental impact of the laboratory in the upcoming months. The demolition focuses on eliminating risks, clearing land for research, and enhancing access to a component of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
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According to the UCOR media advisory, the crews are closing in on the final stages of deactivation inside two former research reactors, the Bulk Shielding Reactor (Building 3010) and the Low-Intensity Test Reactor (Building 3005). The Bulk Shielding Reactor was built in the 1950s to be used for studying radiation shielding and the Low-Intensity Test Reactor facility operated as a training facility from 1951-1968.
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“We have been working toward the demolition plan of 3010 and 3005 since 2018,” said Kent Ridenour, UCOR’s ORNL reactors project manager. “To finally see the end in sight is impressive knowing the accomplishments and the challenges we faced over the last four years, but the craft crews and support groups worked together to make it possible.”
The 27-foot-deep reactor pool inside Building 3010 was recently filled with a concrete mixture. (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

Before filling the pool at the Bulk Shielding Reactor with a concrete mixture, crews removed asbestos from the facility to prepare the area for demolition.
Crews conducting deactivation efforts inside Building 3005. (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

“There has been a lot of work involved with getting these facilities ready for demolition,” said Nathan Felosi, OREM’s ORNL portfolio federal project director. “It’s rewarding to see how that work is paving the way for ORNL’s central campus area to look much differently by the end of this year.”
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Similar projects have also begun in the Oak Ridge Research Reactor. It was built in 1955 and operated until 1987 as an isotope production and irradiation facility. It was defueled in 1989, but in recent years, the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management discovered a slow seep occurring in the reactor pool. The pool has been drained and crew have removed the highly irradiated components from the area.

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