Nuclear Materials Development Facility


Building 4055 was constructed in 1967 specifically for development work involving plutonium, and incorporated all of the safety systems and safeguards required for such work. From 1968-69, NMDF was used to support the Fast Flux Test Facility through analytical chemistry and research for uranium-plutonium scrap pellet recycling programs. Fission research on microscopic dispersion of tungsten in uranium plutonium fuel was also conducted at that time. For seven months in 1970, the NMDF fabricated mixed uranium-plutonium oxide pellets for irradiation tests.

The NMDF was in standby from September 1970 until March 1974. NMDF was activated to participate in the Advanced Fuel Systems Program for liquid metal fast breeder reactors and to demonstrate reduced transuranic (TRU) solid waste with the use of a molten salt combustor. In 1975, the facility was upgraded to address new environmental, safeguard, licensing and radioactive materials facility operating standards.

Two notable achievements that were the result of operations at building 4055 were:

• Development of analysis technologies for uranium-plutonium oxide fuels

• Development of technologies to mix tungsten into uranium-plutonium carbide fuel

Building Cleanup

D&D efforts began in late 1979 beginning with the decontamination of equipment and treatment of the remaining uranium carbide on site. The entire building was stripped to the walls and decontaminated, equipment was disposed of as low-level waste, and the liquid waste and exhaust systems were removed.  The final D&D report was published in March, 1987.

Following Rocketdyne's final survey, the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), under contract to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), performed a verification survey in 1987.   Since both surveys confirmed that no residual contamination reamained, the facility was released for unrestricted use and removed from the Special Nuclear Material License on October 7, 1987.

In October 2001 the EPA performed a document review and validation survey of 4055, confirming the results of the prior surveys.

Historical Site Assessment - 4055

Last Updated 2010-10-13