The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final report outlining several actions to improve worker safety and health as well as public and environmental protection at the department''s East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
The report is based on a six-month investigation of past and current practices at the former K-25 site that may have affected the environment and the safety and health of workers and the public.
"Our investigations of the environmental, safety and health practices at the former K-25 site during World War II and the Cold War have helped identify steps we can take to correct the wrongs of the past," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of energy for environment, safety and health. "While this report confirms that workers and the public are not at immediate risk, there are additional actions the department needs to take to further promote the safety and health of workers and the public at the ETTP."
The report concluded that there are no immediate risks to worker or public health, either on or off site, from current operations in DOE-controlled areas of the plant but found problems in several areas requiring attention.
The investigation indicated specific weaknesses in programs for monitoring the sources and extent of groundwater contamination, monitoring site airborne emissions, protecting workers from radiation hazards and from hazards of energized systems and ensuring that occupational safety and health practices are effective.
The report also found that significant improvements have been made over the last several years in decontaminating former manufacturing facilities and shipping legacy waste off-site for disposal. It also said the site is in compliance with EPA and state requirements.
The report is the third in a series of three investigations of the department''s three gaseous diffusion plants that began in August 1999 with a review of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
A similar report on the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant was completed last May.
Copies of the two-volume report are available at www.tis.eh.doe.gov/oversight/reviews/ettp/.
by Virginia Sutcliffe