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Oak Ridge Cleanup Progressed But Some Milestones Slipping

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Workers are making good progress dismantling and cleaning up the U.S. Energy Dept.’s Oak Ridge former nuclear-weapon factory complex in Tennessee, says a report released last week by site contractor Bechtel Jacobs. But the contractor and DOE acknowledge that some work at its massive K-25 building are behind schedule. Bechtel Jacobs says it removed a bridge structure connecting two sections of the 1.6-million-sq-ft building, which houses uranium-enrichment equipment dating back to the Manhattan Project era and was the world’s largest structure when erected. Cleanup work at the adjacent Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex and other parts of the Oak Ridge site is budgeted at more than $500 million per year. In fiscal 2008, DOE was supposed to have finalized a plan to clean up contaminated groundwater at K-25, but missed the milestone due to budget shortfalls, says a DOE spokesman. He expects the agency to meet that milestone at Oak Ridge in 2009.

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