Cleanup on track at ex-nu­clear site

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - JAIME ADAME

STRICKLER — A few months of cleanup re­main at the South­west Ex­per­i­men­tal Fast Ox­ide Re­ac­tor site, said Mike John­son, as­so­ciate vice chan­cel­lor for fa­cil­i­ties with the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville, which owns the for­mer nu­clear site.

“I’m con­fi­dent that we’ll stay well within our con­tract com­ple­tion date of May,” John­son said Thurs­day at a com­mu­nity meet­ing.

A $10.5 mil­lion U.S. Depart­ment of En­ergy grant an­nounced in Oc­to­ber 2016 jump-started work at the site lo­cated about 20 miles south­west of Fayet­teville, with ad­di­tional fed­eral fund­ing pay­ing for a cleanup es­ti­mated by UA to cost about $26 mil­lion.

“We have our money in hand,” John­son said when asked about the on­go­ing fed­eral gov­ern­ment shut­down.

Dean Wheeler, project man­ager with Utah-based En­ergy So­lu­tions, said Dec. 19 was the of­fi­cial dis­posal date for the re­ac­tor ves­sel that left the site Nov. 29 on a spe­cial truck trans­port, with burial tak­ing place at a spe­cial­ized waste area in Ne­vada.

A ci­ta­tion re­sulted in a $295 fine for the truck driver haul­ing the ves­sel, Wheeler said. The driver was cited by State High­way Po­lice for not fol­low­ing the planned route. At a bridge at Green­land, south of Fayet­teville, the driver fol­lowed an es­cort ve­hi­cle when the plan was to exit off In­ter­state 49 to avoid the bridge, Wheeler said. Trans­port was han­dled by Barn­hart Crane & Rig­ging, ac­cord­ing to per­mit in­for­ma­tion.

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