Scott Wendt, Nuclear Engineering, (515) 294-0539
Dan Bullen, Nuclear Engineering, (515) 294-6000
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- A cask containing fuel from Iowa State University's 10-kilowatt teaching nuclear reactor was shipped on Jan. 7 to the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The material was received by the DOE representatives on Jan. 8.

"This shipment contained all of the fuel that was in the reactor, specifically 304 aluminum clad fuel plates," said Scott Wendt. "We refer to it as the 'core.'"

Wendt said there are three major phases to the decommissioning process -- site characterization, demolition and site release. The project currently is between the first and second phase. Duke Engineering & Services, Bolton, Mass., was awarded the contract for all three phases of work.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is in the process of reviewing the decommissioning plan. When it is approved, demolition will begin (likely this summer) and take about 6 to 8 weeks from start to finish, Wendt said.

"The fuel shipment was a pre-requisite for the decommissioning," Wendt explained. "With the fuel off-site, we can start demolition as soon as the NRC approves the decommissioning plan. We want to wait for summer to help minimize traffic around the Nuclear Engineering lab."

After decommissioning is completed, the NRC will review the work before releasing Iowa State from its license.

Iowa State’s 150-ton teaching reactor was operable from November 1959 to May 1998. It was one of the first teaching reactors to be operated by a university in the U.S.

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