Superfund Site Profile

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Remediation Effectiveness Report provides an annual update on the status of Superfund cleanup activities at the ORR. Appendix E to the FFA includes the near term cleanup schedules and Appendix J includes the long term cleanup schedules. The focus of near term cleanup activities include the Zone 1 Area final cleanup activities and other efforts to complete cleanup of East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), evaluation of a potential new landfill to dispose of waste generated from Superfund cleanup actions, and a large scale water treatment plant at Y-12 National Nuclear Security Site (Y-12) to control the migration of mercury leaving the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) in East Fork Poplar Creek.

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The Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) site, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility, covers nearly 35,000 acres and is located within and adjacent to the corporate limits of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and approximately 20 miles west of Knoxville. The site contains hundreds of contaminated areas located primarily in three industrial areas. Surface water and sediment within and outside the ORR boundary, including parts of Poplar Creek, the Clinch River, and the lower Watts Bar Reservoir of the Tennessee River are also contaminated by activities conducted by DOE. EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989. A significant portion of the site is forested property that has not been impacted by releases of contamination.

ORR was established as part of the “Manhattan Project” to process natural material for use in nuclear weapons to build a nuclear bomb for the military during World War II. The ORR includes two active industrial areas with ongoing DOE missions and a third industrial area with no future DOE mission. The Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) is an active federal research facility that includes contaminated areas and structures used during the Manhattan Project.

The Y-12 National Nuclear Security Site (Y-12) is an active federal manufacturing and storage facility that is used to manufacture parts for nuclear weapons and stores the nation’s supply of enriched uranium. The former federal K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant, now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), is a closed uranium enrichment processing facility that is undergoing cleanup in support of a non-DOE, private industrial park. The site’s long-term cleanup activities, mainly remediation of contaminated groundwater, are scheduled to be completed in 2047. Scarboro, a low-income and minority community located within the Oak Ridge city limits is located near the Y-12 site. Superfund cleanup of the contamination at this NPL Site is being implemented under a Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) among the DOE ORR, the EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.


DOE Oak Ridge has various videos posted at its YouTube Channel at the following web address: