nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

It was easy enough to build U.S army’s nuclear stations – but difficult to get rid of them

Kerr: Army planning to demolish Fort Belvoir’s nuclear plant Inside Nova, BY DAVID KERR 3 Mar 19″……

Fort Belvoir’s SM-1 nuclear power plant in 1957.  The plant was in operation for 16 years. It was shut down in 1973 and its nuclear core was removed.  …..

The Army built another working nuclear plant at Fort Greely in Alaska that at the time was serving as an interceptor missile launch site. They also built one on a Liberty Ship called the U.S.S. Sturgis.  That plant, built at Fort Belvoir, in Gunston Cove, was used as a floating power source for facilities in the Panama Canal Zone.

There was also one at the South Pole’s McMurdo Station.  It ran for almost 12 years. Alas, all of these sites ran up against two problems.  First, they turned out to be more expensive to operate than expected. Secondly, by the early 1970s anxiety was growing over nuclear power.  Was it such a good idea to have small nuclear plants? It didn’t sound safe.

The Army built another working nuclear plant at Fort Greely in Alaska that at the time was serving as an interceptor missile launch site. They also built one on a Liberty Ship called the U.S.S. Sturgis.  That plant, built at Fort Belvoir, in Gunston Cove, was used as a floating power source for facilities in the Panama Canal Zone.

There was also one at the South Pole’s McMurdo Station.  It ran for almost 12 years. Alas, all of these sites ran up against two problems.  First, they turned out to be more expensive to operate than expected. Secondly, by the early 1970s anxiety was growing over nuclear power.  Was it such a good idea to have small nuclear plants? It didn’t sound safe.

As for the South Pole nuclear facility, unlike its counterparts in the U.S., that was demolished almost immediately.  Roughly 12,000 pounds of radioactive material were shipped to a secure nuclear waste site in the United States.

Just how safe this procedure was, given the site’s remoteness and the absence of guidelines for handling radioactive debris at the time, remains an open question.

As for the SM-1, when the core was removed, Army engineers decontaminated the underground liquid radioactive waste tanks and filled them with concrete.  They then sealed the reactor dome, removed the underground piping, tore down some uncontaminated structures and began a decades-long effort to monitor and continually assess the site.

They did the same at Fort Greely.

Now, the facilities are getting old and since they’re still radioactive, the Army wants to go ahead and demolish these facilities. But this is not your average construction contract or your average hazardous waste management project. These are nuclear facilities; everything about them has special requirements.  …….

The SM-1 and its sister facilities were a part of our country’s early commitment to nuclear power and all that it might accomplish.  Our nuclear industry learned a lot from their operations. However, while they were relatively easy to build, it’s turned out to be a lot more difficult to get rid of them than anyone ever would have imagined in the 1950s.  https://www.insidenova.com/opinion/columnists/kerr-army-planning-to-demolish-fort-belvoir-s-nuclear-plant/article_f8b43228-3d4d-11e9-8098-eb75c50b06d9.html

Advertisements

March 4, 2019 - Posted by | decommission reactor, USA

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: