What Was Once the World's Largest Building Has Now Been Completely Demolished
It took five years, but the Manhattan Project's K-25 site is no more.
A site built for the purposes of destruction has itself been destroyed.
In the mid-1940s, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, inside the walls of K-25, some 12,000 Manhattan Project workers separated uranium-235 from uranium-238 via a process of gaseous diffusion. On August 6, 1945, a bomb containing what they had made was dropped on a city in southern Japan—Hiroshima.
At about 44 acres of footprint, K-25 was once the largest building on Earth (by certain methods of measurement). Here, for scale, is how K-25 compares with Central Park.
Following World War II, K-25 remained in operation, enriching uranium for Cold War weapons and nuclear power plants. The gaseous diffusion operations were shut down in 1964; demolition began in 2008; last Thursday, it was completed. Clean-up is expected to wrap up in 2014.
The site is slated to become a "massive industrial park."