UCOR is deactivating high-risk Y-12 facilities. Those include massive facilities like the more than 500,000-square-foot Alpha-4 building as well as the the Alpha-2 and Beta-1 buildings, which housed four of the 11 calutron tracks used to separate uranium during the Manhattan Project. Under our previous contract, UCOR demolished the last two buildings in the Y-12 Biology Complex where 11 facilities once stood. After the building slabs were removed, the land was returned to Y-12 for a future lithium processing facility.
OVERVIEW OF CLEANUP PROGRESS
UCOR is decommissioning and demolishing (D&D) excess contaminated facilities on the Y-12 site. We are also decommissioning large, contaminated and deteriorating facilities like Alpha-2, Beta-1, and Alpha-4. These three together are over a million square feet.
Completed Manhattan Project-era Alpha-4 roof repairs
Completed site preparations for Mercury Treatment Facility
Completed removal of West COLEX process facilities
Completed demolition of historic Biology Complex
Completed demolition of Criticality Experiment Lab
In early 1943, the first of nine facilities that used calutrons in their electromagnet enrichment process became operational. The Alpha and Beta facilities supported the Manhattan Project. The site’s mission has changed over time. For the Cold War, Y-12 separated lithium-6, a process that used mercury as a solvent, much of which leached into the environment. No longer a production facility, today’s Y-12 works to ensure safe and effective U.S. nuclear weapons deterrent as part of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
To free up much needed real estate on the Y-12 site, more than 90 excess facilities need to be removed, with 25 of those considered high risk. Legacy materials and waste must be removed and disposed of, and contaminated soil and water must be remediated. As we free up land on the site, Y-12 will be able to modernize processes and operations for their national security mission.