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Celebrating Vision 2020: First-of-Its-Kind Nuclear Cleanup Supported by Jacobs

Vision 2020 marks the successful cleanup and removal of the East Tennessee Technology Park, formerly the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

The 1940s brought us the Jeep; the United Nations; the first Ball point pens, computers and microwaves. The decade is also marked by the devastating conflict of the second World War.

Built in the 40s, under unprecedented secrecy as part of the Manhattan Project, the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, codenamed K-25, was created to produce enriched uranium for the world’s first atomic bomb. After the war, the site, now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) supported defense and energy missions for 40 years.

In 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiated a cleanup strategy, and in 2011, UCOR, an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs, assumed the cleanup and closure contract.

Following successful demolition of K-25 and K-31, the fall of the final wall of K-27 marked the achievement of DOE’s Vision 2016 – the first time anywhere in the world that all of a site’s uranium-enrichment gaseous diffusion buildings were cleaned and demolished.

Final wall on K-27 comes down
Final wall on K-27 comes down

The work was performed with outstanding safety: nearly seven million hours without a single lost time incident. The demolition and cleanup opened up more than 720 acres of land and 322,000-square-feet of space to be used for future development.

Following this success, DOE set Vision 2020 in place to fully transform the ETTP by completing major cleanup and converting the site into a privately-owned industrial park, enabling economic development for the community. Meeting Vision 2020 required the safe demolition and disposal of all ETTP’s unneeded facilities and addressing contaminated soil and groundwater.

The conclusion of site cleanup marks the first removal of a uranium enrichment complex anywhere in the world. Now, not only is the area safer, but hundreds of flat, useable acres of real estate will now be available for industrial development by the private sector, reinforcing the regional economy. 

“This week, we’re taking part in the Vision 2020 Celebration to recognize the safe and successful cleanup of the ETTP, which included more than 500 facilities, at the heart of which were the five historic uranium enrichment buildings,” says Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions SVP, North American Nuclear, Karen Wiemelt. “I am extremely proud of this team and all they have accomplished in partnership with OREM. I look forward to what we can continue accomplishing as a team moving forward.”

From next generation systems for a climate-resilient future to managing complex decommissioning, site closure, radioactive waste and remediation efforts, Jacobs is helping solve the world’s most complex nuclear challenges safely and effectively. Discover more on jacobs.com.

About UCOR

UCOR is an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs along with small business partner, RSI EnTech (RSI), the team is the lead environmental management contractor for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation. Formed in 2011, UCOR’s 1,800 employees specialize in the safe decommissioning and demolition of former nuclear facilities.

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