Cleanup on track at ex-nuclear site
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.