WASHINGTON, Ark. (KNWA) – The decommissioned nuclear reactor located in Northwest Arkansas was removed on Tuesday.
Crews with Energy Solutions worked on removing it from the containment building at the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR) site near the Strickler community, according to Steve Voorhies, with the University of Arkansas.
It was built in the late 1960’s, tested in the early 1970’s and then decommissioned in 1974, according to Voorhies.
“The University of Arkansas took ownership in 1975 to use for research but closed it down by the mid-1980s,” Voorhies said.
In 2016, the university received federal funding to remove all radioactive material remaining on the location and restore it to “green field” condition, according to Voorhies.
The reactor weighs 84,000 pounds, and it was lifted with a large crane and placed into a carbon steel containment vessel.
It took 18 minutes to remove the reactor.
Dean Wheeler, project manager for Energy Solutions said the vessel will be filled with grout and welded shut before being shipped out of the state next month.
And the cleanup should be finished next spring.