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29-Nov-2018 - Starting this morning, massive reactor from the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor (SEFOR) near Fayetteville, Arkansas will be removed from the work site and transported across state highways and I-49.
Starting at 8:30 a.m., the big rig will haul a load weighing in over 400,000 pounds and nearly 160 feet long will travel on I-49 through Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville, taking up two lanes on the journey towards the Nevada National Security Site.
Washington County Sheriff's Office and Arkansas Highway Police will monitor the load to make sure the truck has room to pass where necessary.
We'll monitor the journey and post updates in below comments (thanks for heads up Jasmine!)
Background on SEFOR
The SEFOR site was given to the University of Arkansas to use for radiological instrument calibration and other research purposes, which ended in 1986. The university has since maintained the facility, while seeking federal funding to dismantle the facility.
According to World Nuclear News, SEFOR began operating in 1969 by a consortium of private energy companies, including General Electric, under contract to the US government. It was the only fast reactor to use a full core of plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, and was sodium-cooled. It completed its safety test programme in 1972, demonstrating the capability of the Doppler coefficient (related to core thermal expansion) in a MOX reactor to stabilise it and control accidents in oxide-fueled, sodium-cooled fast reactors.
The fuel and coolant were removed from SEFOR in 1974 and the facility was placed in SAFSTOR. This is one of three decommissioning strategies available to US nuclear power plant licensees. It is a deferred dismantling strategy under which a nuclear facility is maintained and monitored in a condition that allows the radioactivity to decay, usually for a period of 40-60 years, after which the plant is dismantled and the property decontaminated. Defuelling a shut-down nuclear reactor removes about 99% of its radioactivity.
In May 2018, EnergySolutions signed a USD9.45 million contract to complete the third and final phase of the decommissioning project. This involves the demolition of the reactor building and containment building.
Last month EnergySolutions lifted the 38-tonne reactor vessel from the reactor building and placed within a six-meter-tall, carbon steel transport/disposal container. The container was filled with grout and sealed in preparation for today's move.
The SEFOR decommissioning project is expected to be completed in May 2019, with the site being returned to greenfield status.