Oak Ridge moves closer to clearing away Biology Complex

EM crews recently finished taking down Building 9210, one of the final remaining buildings located in the former Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

This project, which began last fall, removed a vacant, deteriorated 65,000-square-foot building that stood three stories tall. The Biology Complex is categorized as high risk due to its structural condition, and its removal will provide land for national security missions at the site.

With Building 9210 demolished, workers will shift to Building 9207, the last structure standing in the complex that once consisted of 11 buildings. Demolition will begin next month on the six-story, 255,000-square-foot facility — the largest of all structures in the complex.

Removing the buildings that made up the Biology Complex ushers in the next phase of cleanup for the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management and its cleanup contractor UCOR after completing all demolition at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) last year.

Workers will address hundreds of excess, contaminated, and deteriorating facilities throughout Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that present hazards and occupy land that can be used for future research and national security missions. Clearing away the Biology Complex represents the most significant skyline change at Oak Ridge since crews knocked down the facilities that comprised ETTP.

Taking down the Biology Complex buildings will be the first of many projects to clear away former Manhattan Project and Cold War buildings at Y-12 and ORNL.

Preparing the Biology Complex buildings for demolition was a major undertaking requiring workers in full protective suits to remove asbestos material used as insulation in pipes and wall panels.

Originally constructed for recovering uranium from process streams in the 1940s, the complex was later used for research that led to strides in understanding genetics and the effects of radiation. When operational, the facilities once housed more individuals with doctorates than anywhere in the world.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel

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Published February 19, 2021