The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) announced this week that crews recently completed the first-ever demolition of a reactor in the central campus area at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
OREM cleanup contractor UCOR safely took down the Bulk Shielding Reactor, also known as Building 3010.
The Bulk Shielding Reactor complex was built in the 1950s for radiation shielding studies as part of the federal Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program. It included a 27-foot-deep reactor pool filled with water to shield the radioactive components contained in the pool. Its mission changed to a general-purpose research reactor in 1963 and was shut down permanently in 1991.
According to the announcement, work continues at the reactor site to finish reducing the size of debris from the teardown and haul debris to a disposal facility. Workers will complete packaging and disposal of the 250 truckloads of waste and debris generated by this project by the end of November.
One of the most important pre-demolition activities, according to UCOR, involved removing and disposing irradiated components from the reactor pool. After those tasks, workers drained the 130,000 gallons of the water from the pool and sent it to an onsite treatment facility. Then the pool area was decontaminated and filled with a concrete mixture to close it.
In addition to stabilizing the reactor pool, UCOR workers removed asbestos and other waste from the facility.
The Bulk Shielding Reactor was one of more than a dozen research reactors constructed at ORNL over multiple decades and was one of 16 inactive research reactors and isotope facilities EM is addressing at ORNL. Crews are continuing deactivation and demolition preparations at the adjacent Low Intensity Test Reactor and Oak Ridge Research Reactor. Both are slated for near-term demolition, according to UCOR.