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Contact Dept. of Energy Oversight

John Owsley, Director
761 Emory Valley Road
Oak Ridge, TN 37830-7072
(865) 481-0995

E-mail your questions/comments to the Department of Energy Oversight Division

Tennessee Oversight Agreement

The Tennessee Oversight Agreement (TOA) is a voluntarily agreement entered into between the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Tennessee (State). This Agreement reflects an extension of the Agreement between the DOE and the State executed on May 13, 1991, and continues to reflect the obligations and agreements regarding DOE's technical and financial support.

The TOA is designed to assure the citizens of Tennessee that their health, safety and environment are being protected through existing programs and substantial new commitments by DOE. Through a program of independent monitoring and oversight, the State will advise and assist to assure that DOE's activities do not adversely impact the public health, safety and the environment. DOE and the State, in a spirit of partnership and cooperation, agree to find ways to achieve clean air, water and land in concert with sustainable economic growth.

The purpose of the Department of Energy (DOE) Oversight Division (the Division) is to ensure that the environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the Department of Energy Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) are thoroughly investigated and monitored. The primary objective of the Division is to assure the citizens of Tennessee that their health, safety, and environment are being protected during environmental restoration and ongoing activities at the ORR and to assist in cleanup decisions.

The Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) is located in Roane and Anderson counties in East Tennessee. It was established in the early 1940's as part of the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb. The site includes three facilities; Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Y-12 Plant, and East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).

  • ORNL - The laboratory’s original mission was to develop processes for separating plutonium from irradiated uranium fuel for use in the atomic bomb. ORNL still serves as a national lab with current emphasis on both applied energy technologies and basic science research.
  • Y-12 Plant - The plant’s original mission was to separate fissionable isotopes of uranium by the electromagnetic process. Until 1992, the plant served as a weapons component manufacturing facility. It now serves as part of DOE’s weapons dismantlement complex and is home to the Centers for Manufacturing Technology.
  • ETTP - This facility was formerly known as the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (or K-25) and served as a uranium enrichment facility. The site currently serves as the center of DOE’s environmental restoration and waste management activities. Portions of ETTP are being leased as an industrial park for private companies as part of a reindustrialization effort.

In 1989, the ORR was placed on the National Priority List (NPL) of Superfund sites and is the focus of one of the largest environmental cleanup efforts in history. The Manhattan project and the cold war left a legacy of hazardous, radioactive and mixed waste on the Oak Ridge Reservation.