The Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant began operations during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project, with the mission to produce uranium enriched for use in atomic weapons. The plant produced enriched uranium for the nuclear power industry from 1945 to 1985 and was permanently closed in 1987. With a long-term goal of converting the site into a private industrial park, the US Department of Energy began environmental cleanup—decontamination and decommissioning and management of the legacy wastes.
Reindustrialization of the site began in 1996, and the site was named East Tennessee Technology Park in 1997. Incremental occupancy was provided for buildings and brownfields as the facilities were cleaned and available for use or cleared to provide building sites. Located in the technology park is the Department of Energy’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Incinerator, the only US facility permitted to incinerate certain radioactive and hazardous wastes from the Oak Ridge Reservation and from out-of-state DOE facilities.