Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
September 11, 1998

Reactor decommissioning begins

by Skip Derra

A team of engineers from Duke Engineering & Services Inc., Charlotte, N.C., will be on campus Sept. 14 to begin the process of decommissioning Iowa State's 10-kW nuclear teaching reactor. The engineers will do a survey and take samples from the reactor, located in the Nuclear Engineering Lab, next to Sweeney Hall.

"This is one of the first steps in a long process to develop a decommissioning plan for the reactor," said Dan Bullen, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the nuclear engineering laboratory. "Safety is the key driver in this process, so the decommissioning team will come up with a plan that will be checked by Iowa State and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission all along the way."

Iowa State's teaching reactor was operable from November 1959 to May 1998. The final shipment of fuel from the reactor is scheduled for May 1999. Decommissioning of the reactor will include its physical removal from campus, Bullen said.

The team of Duke engineers will be on campus for two weeks. The information they obtain will be used to draw up a formal decommissioning plan. Bullen expects the plan development and approval process to last 12 months or more, after which the actual decommissioning process will begin.

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