Work to demolish the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory began in May when crews began removing ancillary structures around it (Photo submitted)

UCOR announces successful demolition of former Criticality Experiment Lab

Environmental Management (EM) crews in Oak Ridge have cleared another excess, contaminated facility, according to federal cleanup contractor UCOR opening land for reuse at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Work to demolish the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory began in May when crews began removing ancillary structures around it (Photo submitted)

They successfully completed the demolition of the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory after working this past summer to bring down the dilapidated 1940s-era facility, also known as Building 9213.

“Removal of this facility is another sign of our steady progress transforming DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation,” said Laura Wilkerson, acting manager for DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of EM in a UCOR announcement of the milestone.

More than 50 percent of the facilities throughout the National Nuclear Security Administration complex, which includes Y-12, are more than 40 years old, according to UCOR, and the Criticality Experiment Laboratory is one of them.

Built in 1949, the two-story, 24,000-square-foot laboratory was used to conduct experiments with fissile uranium isotopes for nuclear reactor designs. Employees performed more than 9,700 experiments there in its first decade, and the facility later supported the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor program. The building has been closed since 1992.

The successful takedown of the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory will create an estimated 525 truckloads of waste and debris. Waste shipments will finish in coming weeks. (Photo submitted)

With the building down, crews are working to remove waste and debris. They expect to move an estimated 525 truckloads of it in coming weeks.

Workers spent significant time deactivating the facility leading up to its teardown. They removed nearly 1,500 linear feet of asbestos-insulated piping, 300 linear feet of process piping and 8,500 square feet of other asbestos-containing material.

“Our team continues to complete this mission-critical work in the safest possible manner. In a recent survey, our workers shared that doing this work to clean up the environment for the future keeps them motivated,” said UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter. “They think it is important and rewarding, and so do I. We are proud of our part in advancing the science and national security missions performed here in Oak Ridge.”

EM crews are also preparing three large former uranium enrichment facilities for demolition at Y-12, including Alpha-2, Alpha-4 and Beta-1.

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