Oak Ridge project team honored with Achievement Award

January 13, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Oak Ridge before-and-after views: At left is the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant when it was closed in the late 1980s, and at right is a view of the site today, known as the East Tennessee Technology Park. (Photo: DOE)

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm honored a Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) team from Oak Ridge with the Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award during a virtual ceremony yesterday for successfully removing a former uranium enrichment complex. The project cleared 13 million square feet of deteriorated, contaminated structures from the site.

The project: The project resulted from Vision 2020, a decades-long effort to clean up and transform the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). The site originally produced enriched uranium for World War II weaponry and it went on to produce uranium for defense and commercial purposes. Those operations continued until the mid-1980s, and the site was shut down permanently in 1987.

The complex’s closure left behind hundreds of contaminated facilities that had to be remediated, demolished, and disposed. Among them were five massive gaseous diffusion enrichment buildings, including the mile-long K-25 Building.

EM and cleanup contractor UCOR completed the effort four years ahead of schedule and $80 million under budget.

Oak Ridge has transferred nearly 1,300 acres of land at ETTP to the community for economic development and recently signed an agreement with the state of Tennessee to transfer 3,500 acres for conservation and recreational reuse. In addition, EM and UCOR built and opened the K-25 History Center and set aside another 100 acres for historic preservation as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The award: The Achievement Award honors a group or team of DOE employees and contractors that accomplishes significant achievements on behalf of the Department, demonstrating cooperation and teamwork in attaining its goals. The award was given to the Oak Ridge Vision 2020 Project Team based on its achievements from 2020. Watch this video that provides an overview of the project.

The team: The Vision 2020 Project Team was selected for the award for what it accomplished in both scale and performance. Crews deactivated and demolished more than 500 deteriorated and contaminated structures—an area that could cover 225 football fields.

Members of the Vision 2020 Project Team include Brad Adams, Gary Chandler, Steve Clemons, Heather Cloar, Jim Daffron, Tracie Jackson, Dan Macias, Dawn Mills, Mike Mills, Mark Posey, Gary Riner, Ken Whittle, and Chad York.

Honoring the team: “We are very thankful and honored to have this outstanding team of DOE and UCOR members recognized by Secretary Granholm,” said Laura Wilkerson, Oak Ridge Office of EM acting manager. “The magnitude of what these men and women accomplished is truly impressive. Their efforts made history and will benefit the community for many years to come.”

EM senior advisor William “Ike” White added, "These awards are bestowed on a select group of individuals who have gone above and beyond and whose creativity, drive, and commitment have had significant and lasting impact. Their accomplishments clearly demonstrate EM’s vital mission and importance to the communities who host and support our sites.”

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