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University of Arkansas-Fayetteville unable to afford clean-up of old nuclear reactor site

Funds sought for cleanup at UA nuclear reactor test site, The Commercial, Pine Bluff 26 Dec 17 FAYETTEVILLE — Cleanup at a nuclear reactor test site built in the late 1960s began this year after three decades of waiting. Thousands of pounds of low-level radioactive waste have since been trucked away from rural Washington County to specialized waste facilities outside the state.

Now the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, the site owner, faces the possibility of another delay as it awaits news of federal funding to finish the cleanup of the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor, often referred to as SEFOR.

“We need $10.1 million dollars in FY 18 appropriations,” said Mike Johnson, UA’s associate vice chancellor for facilities, referring to the federal fiscal year.

If the money comes through by mid-January, the final stage of remediation — removal of the reactor core, the radioactive heart of the site — will begin without interruption, he said. …….

Future work scheduled through March includes cutting away sections of a containment shield designed to prevent radiation from escaping into the atmosphere and also cutting down portions of a thick wall that shielded workers from radiation. The schedule calls for a temporary roof and weather shield to be affixed to what remains. The reactor, built with funding from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, according to UA, never was hooked up to turbine equipment so no electricity was produced, but it did work as planned.

The site ceased operations in the early 1970s, with UA taking ownership in 1975 to use it for research. By 1986 the site fell out of use…….


December 27, 2017 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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